Performance in Process: Examining Performance as an Opportunity for Personal and Social Change

Spring 2015 quarter

Taught by


Minimum of one quarter of college-level work in a performance arts area required.

I believe that we learn by practice. Whether it means to learn to dance by practicing dancing or to learn to live by practicing living, the principles are the same. – 
Martha Graham

What role do performances play for the performer? For the audience?

This program is designed to provide students an opportunity to challenge the notion of performance being solely a public display of skill and knowledge. We will explore the role of performance as a learning process for personal growth as well as the possibilities for significant social impact that performance opportunities provide.

Performance types to be explored will include speeches, presentations and stage productions of all kinds but our main focus will be on music recitals and concerts. We will examine the process of performance, from its preparatory stages to its aftermath, and address the psychological and physiological components that are present. We will consider the paradoxical role of ego throughout the process, the importance of mastery of craft, the physical and mental stamina demands and the critical role of intentionality.

We will also examine performance as a powerful tool for social change, as well as personal growth. Students will consider and deconstruct the human tendencies to identify ourselves or our group as superior to others. We will contrast this perspective with an examination of powerful performances that emphasize connections across perceived boundaries. We will explore how these performances communicated ideas that significantly impacted the direction of social and political movements throughout the 20th and into the 21th century.

Our work throughout the quarter will include exploration of a variety of learning theories, skill building workshops, writing activities, physical and mental conditioning, ensemble coaching and performance workshops. Each performance throughout the program is an important step in the learning process rather than the endgame. Through each of the course activities as well as course readings, students will be offered the opportunity to further develop their awareness of the possibilities for personal growth through regular and thoughtful consideration of what connects us as humans.


Fields of Study

Preparatory for studies or careers in

dance, music, theater and public speaking

Location and Schedule

Campus location



Offered during: Day


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Online Learning

No Required Online Learning

More information about online learning.

Required Fees

$100 for entrance fees and field trips.

Registration Information

Credits: 16 (Spring)

Class standing: Freshmen–Senior; 25% of the seats are reserved for freshmen Freshmen–Senior

Maximum enrollment: 24


Signature Required

Interested students should email the faculty and outline how they have met the prerequisites. All qualified students will get a signature, which does not guarantee registration but will permit students to register if space is available at their registration time. Applications will be reviewed as submitted and qualified students will be accepted until the program fills. Decisions will be individually emailed to students.

Course Reference Number not yet available.

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