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Unit information: Choreography for Theatre in 2015/16

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Choreography for Theatre
Unit code DRAM20051
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Kate Elswit
Open unit status Not open

None. Students with all levels of movement experience are welcome.



School/department Department of Theatre
Faculty Faculty of Arts


This unit introduces students to choreographic strategies for working with movement for performance: from sourcing everyday movement material to arranging these building blocks in more complex ways, for instance involving theme and variation, and refining that arrangement. It will explore movement that supports theatrical productions (as in physical theatre), as well as more dance-theatre styles in which the movement is primary. Although student practice is at the core of this unit, the student will also become familiarized with a range of contemporary practitioners and the strategies they use in staging bodies. No prior experience with choreography or dance is necessary.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit students will have:

(1) developed knowledge and critical understanding of contemporary European choreographic strategies and practices at the intersections of theatre and dance;

(2) understanding of the theoretical and theatrical concerns that guide the development and direction of movement for theatre;

(3) demonstrated the ability to analyse and evaluate the use and effect of various choreographic strategies in theatrical contexts;

(4) conceptual and practical understanding of the forms and functions of movement on stage;

(5) demonstrated the ability to source and develop choreography for a set purpose through a process of feedback and revision.

Teaching details

One 6-hour workshop/seminar per week; screenings; field trips to shows.

Assessment Details

  • Performance in small groups of no more than 20 minutes, for a group mark (50%); ILO 1, 4, 5
  • Individual workfile, documenting and reflecting on performance activities over the course of the unit (50%); ILO 1 – 5.

The duration of the group performance will depend upon the nature and complexity of the choreography. See handbook for detailed criteria for performances and workfiles.

Reading and References

Jonathan Burrows (2010), A Choreographer’s Handbook

Valerie Preston Dunlop (1998), Looking at Dances: A Choreological Perspective on Choreography

LizLerman (2003), Liz Lerman's Critical Response Process

Andre Lepecki, ed (2012), Dance

Meg Stuart and Jeroen Peeters (2011), Are We Here Yet?

Anna Sanchez Colberg (1996), Altered States and Subliminal Places: Charting a Road Towards a Physical Theatre