“How is it possible to study music without understanding dance?”

This is the question I pose to every class I teach.

I hasten to add that I am not recommending in-class dance lessons, although there is some merit to that thought. Instead I am suggesting that music students need to be introduced to Choreology, the study of dance, and its associate discipline, Ethnochoreology.

The study of dance suffers deep and profound prejudices in the halls of acedeme and even grade-school education. For example, where are the books on dance found in a university library? Not in the Music Library (unless the first word in the title is “music”). One has to march over to the GV Section of a separate library where the literature on dance keeps company with leisure and recreation. Who teaches dance in the grade school system? The graduates of the School of Kinetics. In other words, the sports teachers. Why not the band and choral teachers, who have the tools to explain rhythm? The list of anacronisms goes on and on.

There are only a few campuses in Canada that provide a well-rounded education in music and dance, usually because they have dance departments. Even in the departments of primary and secondary music education, one is regularly introduced to the Kodaly and Orff Methods of Music Instruction while hardly ever being instructed in their dance equivalent, Dalcroze. If Dalcroze is mentioned, it is to a class of Physical Education instructors.

What would a course of instruction look like in a School of Music? Below you will find a syllabus that I created to answer this need.

Introduction to the Study of Dance


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