UChicago News article
Below is an excerpt of the article by Devon Wenzel
In the University of Chicago Dance Program, learning happens through movement. In courses now expanded to provide multi-disciplinary learning opportunities, students investigate the cultural history of different movement-based art forms while embodying the practice themselves. More than ever, students are turning to dance as an interdisciplinary partner to their studies and as a way to connect with the College community.
In recent years, Julia Rhoads, Committee on Theater and Performance Studies (TAPS) lecturer and long-time instructor of the course Dance Composition, recognized an increasing demand for dance within the UChicago community. In 2018, Rhoads became the director of dance within the TAPS program, launching an array of dance courses and co-curricular technique classes to enrich the academic study of dance and support performing groups on campus.
Rhoads brings with her years of formal experience as a dancer, instructor and Artistic Director of the MacArthur Award-winning dance company, Lucky Plush Productions. She began her career as a classically-trained dancer in the San Francisco Ballet, and then went on to pursue more contemporary forms of dance, theater and performance while at Northwestern University and the School of the Art Institute Chicago.
Contemporary Dance Techniques looks at a variety of current dance practices that span modern dance, hip-hop, contact improvisation, social dance forms and more. (Photos Courtesy of Eliana Melmed)
That’s why Rhoads was excited to introduce a new course called Contemporary Dance Techniques last year. The class looks at a variety of current dance practices that span modern dance, hip-hop, contact improvisation, social dance forms and more. In each class, students participate in a guided discussion, then get on their feet to practice different movements. Videos and readings emphasize the historical and cultural contexts of various forms of dance. On occasion, professional guest artists are invited to demonstrate their individual styles of dance to the class.
These courses are designed to appeal to lifelong dancers and newbies alike.