The following modules are available to incoming Study Abroad students interested in Dance.

Alternatively you may return to the complete list of Study Abroad Subject Areas.

LICA386: Contemporary Dance and the Visual Arts

  • Terms Taught: Michaelmas term only
  • US Credits: 4 US Semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS credits

Course Description

The module has two purposes.  Firstly, it explores cutting-edge as well as tried and tested methods of improvising or choreographing movement from the practice and study of drawing, and, reciprocally, approaches to drawing that emerge from the experience of movement and the analysis of motion.  This is assessed through either a staff-supervised, student-led group choreographic project with documentation or, alternatively, a portfolio of drawings presented at the end of the module.

Secondly, the module involves scrutiny of exemplary twentieth and twenty-first century works in which choreographers have collaborated with visual artists.  These include dance works that have been explicitly created from painting; visual art works that have been derived from the study of motion; and multimedia works, including gallery-based live art events and installations, which interlace live or digitized choreographic and visual material.  This part of the module is assessed through an essay that students complete over the Michaelmas (Christmas) vacation.

Each taught session consists of a lecture and seminar followed by practical compositional exercises in movement and drawing.  In between sessions, students complete set reading, viewing and unassessed practical tasks.  By the end of the module, students will have expanded their experience and understanding of the possibilities of movement and drawing; gained an understanding of new approaches to visual and dance composition; and developed methods, skills and techniques in making work that will enrich, if not directly affect, their final degree shows. 

Educational Aims

On successful completion of this module students will have:

  • an embodied understanding of cutting-edge as well as tried-and-tested methods of improvising or choreographing movement from the practice and study of drawing
  • an embodied understanding of cutting-edge as well as tried-and-tested approaches to drawing that emerge from the experience of movement and the analysis of motion.
  • gained an ability to analyse artistic works in which dance artists have collaborated with visual artists.
  • historical and theoretical perspectives of how choreography intersects with painting, sculpture and digital art.

Outline Syllabus

The module is in two parts.  In the first four weeks, students undertake practical training and compositional exercises in a number of practices and techniques that explore the reciprocity between moving and drawing.  This provides the basis for a creative project that runs in the second half of the module and leads to either a portfolio of drawings or a dance performance. 

Running in parallel with this creative project is a series of lectures on works for the stage, screen or gallery that either translate painting into dance, or else combine choreography with sculpture or digital art.  These lectures explore four themes: figuration, translation, juxtaposition, and illumination.

The following list of sessions and topics is indicative but may subsequently vary from year to year:


  • Week 1.  Authentic Movement: from dancing to drawing 1.  Seminar and workshop on the active imagination and how drawing is produced from dancing and structured discussion in the Dance Movement Therapy of Janet Adler.  Also discussion and practical exploration of how to draw with prosthetic devices and the body itself as exemplified by the practices of Rebecca Horn, Yves Klein, Katrina Brown and Rosanna Irvine.
  • Week 2.  Perceptual Frames: from dancing to drawing 2.  Seminar and workshop on creating movement scores through the spatial practices and architectural drawing and graphic writing techniques of Trisha Brown, Nancy Stark Smith, Rosemary Butcher, Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker, Ed Frith and Caroline Salem..
  • Week 3.  Choreutics: from drawing to dancing 1.  Seminar and workshop on how movement is analysed and designed through geometric drawing in the work of Rudolf Laban.
  • Week 4.  Improvisation Technologies: from drawing to dancing 2.  Seminar and workshop on how to improvise and choreograph from the multiple linear and curvilinear concepts of William Forsythe.


  • Week 5: Figuration.  Lecture on human figure and scenic form in Vsevolod Meyerhold's Tarelkin's Death, Oscar Schlemmer's Bauhaus dances, Alwin Nikolais Tensile Involvement.  Supervised work towards practical assessments.
  • Week 6: Translation.  Lecture on painting as score in Lea Andersons The Featherstonehaughs Draw on the Sketch Books of Egon Schiele and Herman Diephuis Daprs J C.  Supervised work towards practical assessments.
  • Week 7: Juxtaposition.  Lecture on bodies and ready-mades, chance and collage in Atsuko Tanakas Stage Clothes, Allan Kaprow's 18 Happenings in 6 Parts, Judson Dance Theatres improvisations, Jerome Bel's nom donné par l'auteur, and La Ribot's 13 Pieces distinguées.   Supervised work towards practical assessments.
  • Week 8: Illumination.  Dance, light and film in Loie Fullers Serpentine Dance; Edward Gordon Craigs Dido and Aeneas; Lucinda Childs, Sol LeWitt and Philip Glass DANCE; Wayne McGregor, Mark Wallinger and Mark-Anthony Turnage's UNDANCE; Russell Maliphant and Michael Hulls Afterlight, and Rosemary Butchers After Kaprow.  Supervised work towards practical assessments.
  • Week 9: Practical assessment.
  • Week 10: Module debrief and essay preparation.

Assessment Proportions

  • Essay:  50%
  • Practical:  50%