Beyond Technique: The Art of Performance


  • Do you want to take a life changing course?
  • Enroll in Dance 378S. Beyond Technique: The Art of Performance
  • This is an intensive performance coaching course with most of the sessions in the studio. You will learn three solos by iconic choreographers and work those solos to answer the following questions.
  • What makes a powerful performer?
  • What does it mean to interpret a role?
  • What is needed beyond the mastery of technique and style to create a role, and/or to deliver the intent of the choreographer?

Here are quotes from past students who have taken this course:

Monica Hogan: This was one of the most life-changing courses I took at Duke. As an artist, you'll look back on your training/career and hopefully be able to identify one or two really key breakthrough, "light bulb" moments of growth. Beyond Technique was that for me. As both a dancer and a choreographer, I developed a whole new level of sensitivity and understanding of performance quality. I continually draw on the concepts I learned from this course in my professional career as a dancer/choreographer. It was truly one of the most transformative experiences of my dance studies."

Jayne Ratliff: This class was the most important dance class I took at Duke. Although having strong technique is important in the dance world, it will only get you so far. Choreographers want artists who can process and interpret their movement in an interesting way. This class will teach you how to do that. Do it! 

Audrey Fenske: The lessons I learned in Beyond Technique provided immeasurable value to my artistry as a dancer. Taking the course was the best decision I made during my time at Duke, and I still find myself nearly a decade later revisiting and reflecting on all that I learned through this course.

Alexis Stanley: Beyond technique was instrumental to my growth as a performer and scholar of performance theory and esthetics. The methods utilized in the course, which successfully bridged the (often wide) gap between critical thinking and the actualization of critical thought in performance practice, were unlike anything I had experienced in my other seminars at Duke. I strongly recommend this course to anyone interested in performance, performance theory, and experiential learning methods.

Anna Hevia: Out of all the dance classes I have taken throughout my life, Beyond Technique was without a doubt not just one of the most interesting and fun, but also one of the most rewarding. Like an in-depth variations class with an intense performance focus, Beyond Technique helped improve my dancing across the board, including the way I physically and mentally prepare for dancing in class and on stage.

Maurice Dowell: When I reflect back upon my course selection in navigating my Dance Minor, my memories of Beyond Technique are colored by frustration. Now with certainty, I realize the frustration I remember feeling... was growth. As a young, working dancer living in New York City, every audition, every casting is a new opportunity to be a different performer. Artistic directors, dramaturges, choreographers today are looking for a clean line and a pointed foot, yes - and it's great if you show up with that - but what I've learned most is that they are looking for a transcendence of steps - a connection to something more - some beyond technique. They expect to receive the thing back again with more information than what they gave to you. I began to find this with Tyler and Barbara as student enrolled in Beyond Technique and if you're an aspiring performer and have the chance to take a course as such, this experience is invaluable. I say this because the Dance Department can only fund so many repertories a semester. Because it isn't a conservatory program, I was felt a little behind my peers at big arts schools who were performing Pite and Ohad and Balanchine. With BT, I studied and performed variations from Green Table by Kurt Joos and Afternoon of a Faun by Nijinsky. I learned the Geronimo solo from José Limon's, Unsung from legend Clay Taliaferro himself. It may have very well been the most emotionally taxing course I would take in four years at Duke, but I believe today that it also very well may have been the most important.

Taught by: Barbara Dickinson

Room/Time: Rubenstein 201, MWF 01:25 PM-02:40 PM

Curriculum Codes
  • ALP
  • R