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PHSE235 Contemporary Dance

Identification of key figures in the development of 20th-21st century contemporary choreographic practice. Theoretical, analytical and practical methodologies will be explored along with dance’s interdisciplinary connections.

In this paper students will undertake a comprehensive examination of the art form of contemporary dance both theoretically and practically. They will explore the ideas and choreographic processes of key figures throughout the development of contemporary dance; develop their own artistic expression and viewpoint; learn to critically analyse and evaluate a dance; and further connections between the arts, society and their own personal artistic and study interests.

Paper title Contemporary Dance
Paper code PHSE235
Subject Physical Education
EFTS 0.1400
Points 18 points
Teaching period First Semester
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $969.22
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $4,368.00

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PHSE 103 or PHSE 115 or PHSE 116
Students with equivalent approved experience may be admitted with approval from the Dean of the School of Physical Education, Sport and Exercise Sciences.
Teaching staff
Ali East
Invited dance artists
Paper Structure
  • Gain an understanding of the origins of dance and ritual
  • Gain an understanding of the various categories of art/dance history from Romanticism to modernism, post-modernism and more
  • Identify major figures throughout the development of contemporary dance, both locally and internationally, and explore threads of choreographic, historical and social connections
  • Gain experience in reflection and analysis and evaluation of choreography
  • Develop an appreciation of choreography as an art form and explore a variety of choreographic processes
  • Choreograph a solo and a site-specific dance, applying an understanding of choreographic principles and approaches
Teaching Arrangements
Two 2-hour sessions.
Articles, book references and videos as supplied.
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Global perspective, Interdisciplinary perspective, Scholarship, Self-motivation, Teamwork.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes
Having completed this paper students will have gained:
  • Knowledge of contemporary dance as an art form in the 20th century
  • An awareness of how contemporary dance evolved
  • An awareness of how contemporary dance in the 20th century shaped and/or reflected society's values and issues
  • An understanding of how different choreographers created their art
  • Experience in creating and presenting their own choreography
  • Experience in analysing and appreciating contemporary dance

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First Semester

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
P1 Friday 10:00-11:50 9-12, 15-22


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Wednesday 15:00-16:50 9-13, 15-16, 18-22