Dr. Robert Bingham, Temple University, Dance

Dancing the City

What makes a city a city? Population, commerce, educational and financial institutions are all part of the equation for the makeup of a city but culture is a significant qualifier as to the dynamics, vibrancy and diversity of a city. All cities move and are mobile in many ways. In this course we explore how the city ‘dances’ and what that looks like in different communities and neighborhoods. Integrating theoretical and fieldwork modes of research, students will study sites of dance/movement practice (rehearsal studio, site-specific dance, dance school, theater, street performance, protest event, fitness center, farmers market). How do these practices relate to their urban context and what do they reveal about the meaning of dancing in the city? Students will think critically about the concepts of "space" and "the city," as it relates to dance, and incorporate their perspectives on them in their final research projects.

CHANGES MADE FOLLOWING V&R

  • While at V&R, I conceived of an assignment for this course called Sensory Mapping, which I then incorporated into the class. Sensory Mapping entails selecting and repeatedly visiting two sites in the city (block, building, train station, park, river, etc.) and creating a representation of each based on multi-sensory observation.
  • I incorporated readings and videos pertaining to site-specific dance and visual art projects that took place on rivers, including the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia.