Peggy Gould

Anita Stafford Chair in Service Learning

BFA, MFA, New York University, Tisch School of the Arts. Certified teacher of Alexander Technique; assistant to Irene Dowd; private movement education practice in New York City. Other teaching affiliations: Smith College, The Ailey School/Fordham University, Dance Ireland/IMDT, 92nd St. Y/Harkness Dance Center, SUNY Purchase (summer), Jacob’s Pillow. Performances in works by Patricia Hoffbauer and George Emilio Sanchez, Sara Rudner, Joyce S. Lim, David Gordon, Ann Carlson, Charles Moulton, Neo Labos, T.W.E.E.D., Tony Kushner, Paula Josa-Jones. Choreography presented by Dixon Place, The Field, PS 122, BACA Downtown (New York City); Big Range Dance Festival (Houston); Phantom Theater (Warren, Vermont); Proctor’s Theatre (Schenectady, 2008/09 Dangerous Music Commission). Grants: Meet the Composer, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Harkness Dance Center. SLC, 1999–

Undergraduate Courses 2020-2021

Dance

Intersections of Dance and Culture: Studying Assumptions, Framing Experiences

Open , Seminar—Year

This course may be counted as either humanities or social-science credit. This course may also be taken as a semester-long component within a Dance, Music, or Theatre Third. No prior experience in dance is necessary.

When we encounter dancing, what are we seeing, experiencing, and understanding? How do current representations of dance perpetuate and/or disrupt assumptions about personal and social realities? Embedded historical notions and enforcements based on race, economic class, gender, social/sexual orientation, nationality/regional affiliation, and more are threaded through our daily lives. Performing arts, both inside and outside of popular culture, often reinforce dominant cultural ideas. Can they also propose or inspire alternatives? In this class, we will view examples of dancing on film, digital/internet media, television programs and commercials, as well as live performance. These viewings—along with readings of selected texts from the fields of dance and performance, literary criticism, feminist theory, queer theory, and cultural studies—will form the basis of class discussions and exercises. Each student will develop an independent research project arising from one or more class activities.  Independent research will include reading, writing, and presentation. The central aim of this course is to cultivate generously informed conversation, using academic research and experiential knowledge to advance our appreciation of dance as an elemental art form.

Faculty

Movement Studio Practice

Component—Year

This course will be taught by various faculty, and there will be various levels of the course. Level 1 will be taught by Peggy Gould. Level 2 will be taught by Paul Singh and Jenn Nugent. Level 3 will be taught by Jodi Melnick and Paul Singh.

In these classes, emphasis will be on the steady development of movement skills, energy use, strength, and articulation relevant to the particular style of each teacher. At all levels, attention will be given to sharpening each student’s awareness of time and energy and to training rhythmically, precisely, and in accordance with sound anatomical principles. Degrees of complexity in movement patterns will vary within the leveled class structure. All students will investigate sensory experience and the various demands of performance.

Faculty

Creative Practices in Performance: Movement-Based Composition and Improvisation

Component—Fall

Improvisation and composition are innate resources that we are constantly employing—consciously or not! Every day, we respond improvisationally to countless unexpected momentary shifts in our internal and external environments and make (compose) arrangements to address needs and desires. Building on those abilities by using movement as a central focus, improvisation can yield rich materials for instant performance, as well as dynamic elements for composing in multiple performance media. Improvisation and composition each support the advancement of our technical skills as performers and provide opportunities for us to build reliable connections as members of a creative community. In this course, we will engage in a variety of approaches to generating and arranging movement, using activities that range from highly structured to virtually unstructured. The unique experiences and background of each participant will serve to inform explorations throughout the semester. Goals will include building capabilities for sustained exploration and development of ideas, honing perceptive and communicative skills to cultivate a durable terrain from which to work creatively. We will explore expressive potentials inherent in movement; learn to master kinetic vocabularies; and incorporate music, sound, gesture, text, and objects in pursuit of individual, collaborative, and collective visions. Students will create and perform a series of studies over the course of the semester, directing one another and sharing ideas and solutions in class discussions.

Faculty

Dancing in Progress: Perspectives on Teaching and Learning

Component—Spring

Students in this course will develop skills to bring their artistry into a teaching setting, combining practical and theoretical studies. We will work systematically and imaginatively to develop teaching practices in dance and movement forms that move us most deeply, addressing individual and collective concerns throughout the process. We will explore strategies for teaching a variety of techniques, from codified dance forms to generative forms, including improvisation and composition. Over the course of the semester, with all members of the class serving as both teachers and students, each participant will develop a cohesive plan for teaching in professional settings.  Studio practices—including movement, observation, discussion, and class exercises—will support in-depth exploration of teaching and learning as intrinsically related aspects of education at its best. In addition to work in the studio, independent research will entail surveying literature in the field of dance education and training, as well as potential sources beyond the field, according to individual interests. Practical and theoretical research will form the basis of a final presentation (teaching one or more sections of the curricular plan) and a final written report with annotated bibliography, summarizing and documenting the development process, as well as providing a basis for future promotional material.

Faculty

Anatomy

Component—Year

Prior experience in dance and/or athletics is necessary. Students who wish to join this yearlong class in the second semester may do so with permission of the instructor.

How is it possible for us to move in the countless ways that we do? Learn to develop your X-ray vision of human beings in motion through functional anatomical study that combines movement practice, drawing, lecture, and problem-solving. In this course, movement is a powerful vehicle for experiencing, in detail, our profoundly adaptable musculoskeletal anatomy. We will learn Irene Dowd’s Spirals©—a comprehensive warm-up/cool-down for dancing that coordinates all joints and muscles through their fullest range of motion, facilitating study of the entire musculoskeletal system. In addition to movement practice, drawings are made as part of each week’s lecture (drawing materials provided), and three short assignments are submitted each semester. Insights and skills developed in this course can provide tremendous inspiration in the process of movement invention and composition.

Faculty

Anatomy Research Seminar

Component—Year

This is an opportunity for students who have completed a full year of anatomy study in the SLC dance program to pursue functional anatomy studies in greater depth. In open consultation with the instructor during class meetings, each student engages in independent research, developing one or more lines of inquiry that utilize functional anatomy perspectives and texts as an organizing framework. Research topics in recent years have included investigation of motor and experiential learning, development of a unique warm-up sequence to address specific individual technical issues, inquiry into kinetic experience and its linguistic expression, detailed study of knee-joint anatomy, and study of the kinematics and rehabilitation in knee injury. The class meets biweekly to discuss progress, questions, and methods for reporting, writing, and presenting research, alternating with weekly studio/practice sessions for individual and/or group research consultations.

Faculty

Graduate Seminar I: Independent Research in Dance

Component—Year

Qualified undergraduate students, including those who have completed courses in Dance History or First-Year Studies in Dance, may join this course with permission of the instructor.

This is a research tutorial course that provides an opportunity to explore foundational texts in dance and performance in the context of the Master of Fine Arts in Dance program. With our programmatic focus on performance and choreography, there are, nevertheless, important writings and discussions in our field that will be essential for students to engage as they prepare for careers in dance and performance. In concert with our reading and discussion, each student will undertake substantive independent research and writing. The emphasis is on developing a line or lines of inquiry, devising strategies with which to effectively and meaningfully follow learning pathways to produce well-crafted writing. This will entail identifying specific research topics, sources, and methods; engaging with those resources and practices; and reporting on the process in successive stages. Projects will evolve throughout the year, culminating in a final revision of writing and in-class presentation. Students will produce periodic reports and multiple drafts of writing during each semester and will serve as readers for colleagues, as well.

Faculty

Graduate Courses

MFA Dance 2020-2021

Graduate Seminar I: Independent Research in Dance

Graduate Seminar—Year

This is a research tutorial course that provides an opportunity to explore foundational texts in dance and performance in the context of the Master of Fine Arts in Dance program. With our programmatic focus on performance and choreography, there are, nevertheless, important writings and discussions in our field that will be essential for students to engage as they prepare for careers in dance and performance. In concert with our reading and discussion, each student will undertake substantive independent research and writing. The emphasis is on developing a line or lines of inquiry, devising strategies with which to effectively and meaningfully follow learning pathways to produce well-crafted writing. This will entail identifying specific research topics, sources, and methods; engaging with those resources and practices; and reporting on the process in successive stages. Projects will evolve throughout the year, culminating in a final revision of writing and in-class presentation. Students will produce periodic reports and multiple drafts of writing during each semester and will serve as readers for colleagues, as well.

Faculty

Anatomy

Component—Year

How is it possible for us to move in the countless ways that we do? Learn to develop your X-ray vision of human beings in motion through functional anatomical study that combines movement practice, drawing, lecture, and problem-solving. In this course, movement is a powerful vehicle for experiencing, in detail, our profoundly adaptable musculoskeletal anatomy. We will learn Irene Dowd’s Spirals©—a comprehensive warm-up/cool-down for dancing that coordinates all joints and muscles through their fullest range of motion, facilitating study of the entire musculoskeletal system. In addition to movement practice, drawings are made as part of each week’s lecture (drawing materials provided), and three short assignments are submitted each semester. Insights and skills developed in this course can provide tremendous inspiration in the process of movement invention and composition.

Faculty

Anatomy Research Seminar

Component—Year

This is an opportunity for students who have completed a full year of anatomy study in the SLC dance program to pursue functional anatomy studies in greater depth. In open consultation with the instructor during class meetings, each student engages in independent research, developing one or more lines of inquiry that utilize functional anatomy perspectives and texts as an organizing framework. Research topics in recent years have included investigation of motor and experiential learning, development of a unique warm-up sequence to address specific individual technical issues, inquiry into kinetic experience and its linguistic expression, detailed study of knee-joint anatomy, and study of the kinematics and rehabilitation in knee injury. The class meets biweekly to discuss progress, questions, and methods for reporting, writing, and presenting research, alternating with weekly studio/practice sessions for individual and/or group research consultations.

Faculty

Creative Practices in Performance: Movement-Based Composition and Improvisation

Component—Fall

Improvisation and composition are innate resources that we are constantly employing—consciously or not! Every day, we respond improvisationally to countless unexpected momentary shifts in our internal and external environments and make (compose) arrangements to address needs and desires. Building on those abilities by using movement as a central focus, improvisation can yield rich materials for instant performance, as well as dynamic elements for composing in multiple performance media. Improvisation and composition each support the advancement of our technical skills as performers and provide opportunities for us to build reliable connections as members of a creative community. In this course, we will engage in a variety of approaches to generating and arranging movement, using activities that range from highly structured to virtually unstructured. The unique experiences and background of each participant will serve to inform explorations throughout the semester. Goals will include building capabilities for sustained exploration and development of ideas, honing perceptive and communicative skills to cultivate a durable terrain from which to work creatively. We will explore expressive potentials inherent in movement; learn to master kinetic vocabularies; and incorporate music, sound, gesture, text, and objects in pursuit of individual, collaborative, and collective visions. Students will create and perform a series of studies over the course of the semester, directing one another and sharing ideas and solutions in class discussions.

Faculty

Dancing in Progress: Perspectives on Teaching and Learning

Component—Spring

Students in this course will develop skills to bring their artistry into a teaching setting, combining practical and theoretical studies. We will work systematically and imaginatively to develop teaching practices in dance and movement forms that move us most deeply, addressing individual and collective concerns throughout the process. We will explore strategies for teaching a variety of techniques, from codified dance forms to generative forms, including improvisation and composition. Over the course of the semester, with all members of the class serving as both teachers and students, each participant will develop a cohesive plan for teaching in professional settings.  Studio practices—including movement, observation, discussion, and class exercises—will support in-depth exploration of teaching and learning as intrinsically related aspects of education at its best. In addition to work in the studio, independent research will entail surveying literature in the field of dance education and training, as well as potential sources beyond the field, according to individual interests. Practical and theoretical research will form the basis of a final presentation (teaching one or more sections of the curricular plan) and a final written report with annotated bibliography, summarizing and documenting the development process, as well as providing a basis for future promotional material.

Faculty

Intersections of Dance and Culture: Studying Assumptions, Framing Experiences

Graduate Seminar—Year

When we encounter dancing, what are we seeing, experiencing, and understanding? How do current representations of dance perpetuate and/or disrupt assumptions about personal and social realities? Embedded historical notions and enforcements based on race, economic class, gender, social/sexual orientation, nationality/regional affiliation, and more are threaded through our daily lives. Performing arts, both inside and outside of popular culture, often reinforce dominant cultural ideas. Can they also propose or inspire alternatives? In this class, we will view examples of dancing on film, digital/internet media, television programs and commercials, as well as live performance. These viewings—along with readings of selected texts from the fields of dance and performance, literary criticism, feminist theory, queer theory, and cultural studies—will form the basis of class discussions and exercises. Each student will develop an independent research project arising from one or more class activities.  Independent research will include reading, writing, and presentation. The central aim of this course is to cultivate generously informed conversation, using academic research and experiential knowledge to advance our appreciation of dance as an elemental art form.

Faculty

Movement Studio Practice

Component—Year

In these classes, emphasis will be on the steady development of movement skills, energy use, strength, and articulation relevant to the particular style of each teacher. At all levels, attention will be given to sharpening each student’s awareness of time and energy and to training rhythmically, precisely, and in accordance with sound anatomical principles. Degrees of complexity in movement patterns will vary within the leveled class structure. All students will investigate sensory experience and the various demands of performance.

Faculty

Previous Courses

Dance Movement Fundamentals

Component—Year

This class is open to all interested participants, with no prior experience in dance required.

Movement and dancing are definitive signs of life! In every environment and at every level of existence, from single-cell organisms to entire populations, dancing is innate to living beings. The objective here is to awaken/reawaken students’ connection to movement as an elemental mode of human experience and learning. Students are introduced to some basic principles of dancing, as well as to strategies for preparing for dancing. Building fundamental skills for a wide range of movement studies, the focus is centered on learning movement and refining individual, partnered, and group performance in a variety of patterns and styles. Basic anatomical information is used to facilitate an understanding of dynamic alignment and movement potentials. Challenges in coordination, rhythm, range, and dynamic quality are systematically engaged, allowing students to gain strength, flexibility, endurance, balance, musicality, and awareness in the dance setting. While the primary emphasis is placed on learning structured material, improvisation and composition are incorporated to support students’ growing engagement with dance as an art form. Students who have successfully completed this course will be prepared to enter Contemporary Practice I and/or Ballet I.

Faculty

Dance Practice Conference

Component—Year

Students taking a Dance Third will meet with the instructor for this component course at least once per semester to address individual dance training issues and questions and to identify short- and long-term goals. Guided by discussion, we will develop practical strategies to address issues and questions in the context of achieving goals by means of specific supplemental exercises that address strength, flexibility, kinesthetic awareness, coordination, and effective approaches to learning. This course is designed to support and enhance students’ work in dance classes, rehearsals, and performances.

Faculty

Beginning Improvisation

Component—Year

Improvisation is a potentially limitless resource. Whether arising from movement itself or from conceptual/imaginative sources, improvisation can yield raw materials for making dances and other performance works. It can form the basis for community-building activities. It can also support the advancement of our technical skills in all dance forms, from conceptual and choreographic to performative, by giving us greater access to our personal connections to movement. In this course, we will engage in a variety of approaches to improvisation. We will investigate the properties of movement in the context of experience and performance, using activities that range from highly structured to virtually unstructured. The aim of our work is to delve deeply into the creative process in a variety of environmental settings, from the dance studio to outdoor sites around the campus. Throughout the year, goals will include building capabilities for sustained exploration of movement instincts and appetites, honing perceptive and communicative skills, and learning to use improvisation to advance movement technique. All of these goals will support the development of a durable foundation from which to work creatively.

Faculty

Anatomy in Action

Component—Year

Students who wish to join this yearlong class in the second semester may do so with permission of the instructor.

How is it possible for us to move in the countless ways that we do? Learn to develop your X-ray vision of human beings in motion through functional anatomical study that combines movement practice, drawing, lecture, and problem solving. In this course, movement is a powerful vehicle for experiencing in detail our profoundly adaptable musculoskeletal anatomy. We will learn Irene Dowd’s SpiralsTM, a comprehensive warm-up/cool-down for dancing that coordinates all joints and muscles through their fullest range of motion, facilitating study of the entire musculoskeletal system. In addition to movement practice, drawings are made as part of each week’s lecture (drawing materials provided), and three short assignments are submitted each semester. Insights and skills developed in this course can provide tremendous inspiration in the process of movement invention and composition.

Faculty

Anatomy Research Seminar

Component—Year

This is an opportunity for students who have completed a full year of anatomy study in the SLC dance program to pursue functional anatomy studies in greater depth. In open consultation with the instructor during class meetings, each student engages in independent research, developing one or more lines of inquiry that utilize functional anatomy perspectives and texts as an organizing framework. Research topics in recent years have included investigation of motor and experiential learning, inquiry into kinetic experience and its linguistic expression, detailed study of knee-joint anatomy, and study of the kinematics and rehabilitation in knee injury. The class meets biweekly to discuss progress, questions, and methods for reporting, writing, and presenting research.

Faculty

First-Year Studies: Cultivating Creativity in Dance, Gardening, and Food Justice: A First-Year Studies Community Partnership

Open , FYS—Year

First-Year Studies in Dance is primarily practice-based, with most of our work occurring in the studio. While there is some reading and writing required in analytic components, it is scaled in proportion to the demands of movement-centered pursuits.

Where can dancing and dance-making flourish? How can we cultivate deep and enduring practices as dance artists, scholars, and active community members? What can we learn about dance in the process of gardening, which has been described by landscape architects as the slowest of the performing arts? In this interdisciplinary FYS course, we will begin to make connections between the fundamental aspects of the Sarah Lawrence College dance program and the practical experience of related disciplines that foster similar values. The discipline of dance cultivates and stimulates the acquisition of technique, creativity, and theoretical inquiry and thrives with consistent practice. The multiple phases of growing and harvesting in the garden, from conceptual to practical, provide a unique mirror to dance as an art form, while emphasizing attentive care of our planet and care for ourselves through the cultivation of food- and community-based work. We will have two weekly First-Year Studies in Dance class sessions (one in the dance studio and one in the garden, see below), along with component classes in improvisation, dance history, and movement practices that include African Diasporic Dance, Contemporary Practice, Ballet, Hip Hop, Contact Improvisation, and Bharatanatyam. Students of all experience levels, from beginning to advanced, are welcome! During registration, each student will be guided in arranging an individualized schedule of component classes tailored to his/her level and designed to support the ongoing development of skills in various aspects of dance as an art form. Students should expect to be dancing on a daily basis. All students in the dance program may elect to perform in our departmental productions. These include Open Performance each semester, where any SLC student may present his/her own choreography, and Winter Performance, MFA Thesis Performance, and Spring Performance, with works choreographed by graduate and upperclass undergraduate students in the Dance Making class. Our weekly FYS class session in the studio will be devoted to creating a collective performance piece informed and inspired by our experiences over the course of the year, as well as to discussing class readings, presenting individual research and writing, and reflecting on experiences in the garden with community partners. Class readings will draw on texts from several fields of study, including dance and performance, gardening and farming, cultural studies, and service learning. Weekly donning conferences support all phases of students’ academic endeavors. Weekly FYS garden sessions, in partnership with Douglass DeCandia, Food Growing Project Coordinator for the Food Bank for Westchester, will provide opportunities to engage in service learning and social justice practice literally from the ground up. In these sessions, we will work alongside local community members (site staff, residents, and volunteers), building connections through planting, harvesting, and processing produce for distribution to local hunger relief programs.

Faculty
Related Disciplines

Teaching Conference

Component—Year

Students may enter this yearlong course in the second semester only with permission of the instructor. The course will be taught by Ms. Gould in the fall and Ms. Nugent in the spring.

In this practice-based course, students develop skills to bring their artistry into a teaching setting. Readings, discussion, and short written pieces will support an exploration of perspectives on teaching and development of individual areas of interest. Following current practices in the field for bringing together arts and education, we will study methods for artists to partner with educators and implement those methods in a weekly class for children enrolled in Sarah Lawrence College’s acclaimed Early Childhood Center (ECC). In addition to our work with ECC, there are several options for students interested in an expanded practical curriculum. The College’s Campbell Sports Center offers opportunities for students to initiate and lead physical education classes; and the College’s Office of Community Partnerships can assist students in pursuing teaching initiatives in surrounding communities, including Yonkers, Greater Westchester, and other New York City Metropolitan areas.

Faculty

Conditioning for Dancers

Component—Year

Open to all students taking a Dance Third.

This course provides students with a weekly opportunity to explore and practice supplemental training strategies to support development of specialized skills required in dancing. Building on work done once or twice per semester in the Dance Practice Conferences, training issues such as strength, endurance, flexibility, kinesthetic awareness, and coordination will be addressed from a neuromuscular training approach based on the teachings and selected choreographies of Irene Dowd. In addition, students will be introduced to the Alexander Technique, which aims to refine and optimize function by eliminating excessive tension. This is accomplished through specific exercises and practices designed to increase awareness, implement conscious direction, and achieve gentle re-patterning of postural and movement habits.

Faculty

Anatomy Seminar

Component—Fall

This is an opportunity for advanced students who have completed Anatomy I to pursue their studies in greater depth. In open consultation with the instructor during class meetings, each student engages in independent research, developing one or more lines of inquiry that utilize functional anatomy perspectives and texts as an organizing framework. Research topics in recent years have included breathing, anatomy study in dance education, spine function, scoliosis, the use of verbal language in dance training, and anatomy of human reproductive and digestive systems. The class meets biweekly to discuss progress and questions, with additional meetings on alternate weeks as an option for individuals or the group.

Faculty