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

Spring 2017 quarter

Taught by


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

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? Can our experiences on stage impact ways we experience the world when we are off the stage?

In this program we will explore the role of performance as a learning process. We will consider opportunities for personal growth as well as 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 with a strong focus on music. We will examine the process of performance from its preparatory stages to its aftermath, and address the psychological and physiological components 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 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 21st 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.

Program Details

Fields of Study

dance music theater

Preparatory For

dance, music, theater, and public speaking.



Spring Open

Location and Schedule

Campus Location


Time Offered


Online Learning

No Required Online Learning


$30 for entrance fees.


2016-04-22Fees reduced (from $100 to $60).