University of South Florida

School of Theatre & Dance

College of the Arts

Course Components, Paris Semester Program

All Paris Semester students must register for at least 13 credits in Dance and 4 credits in French language. Students choose which courses / number of credits from the course offered below that best fits the student needs to transfer to their home institution.

*Even though there are many listed courses in the curriculum, all students are required to take all the course offerings/classes/workshops. This kind of “layered, integrated” approach to learning means that the Paris Semester is effectively one course where the experience is synthesized throughout the semester through lectures, shared discussions, and practice. Students end up with far more contact hours with the faculty than is quantifiable in the required minimum registration of 13 Dance credits, which means students will end up with more studio/creative/academic time than is reflected in 13 credits.  Students have 12 - 15 writing assignments as well as quizzes / exams spread throughout the various courses during the semester, and these factor into the grading of all courses offered. Syllabi for all courses will be provided upon registration, or earlier if there are questions by the home institution's Registrar or Dance faculty.  


French Language and Culture (4 credits, 60 contact hours)
The Étoile School is where students are enrolled in an immersive French language course at the beginning of the semester, but then move to a less intensive French learning process after the first three weeks. Students will be tested at weekly intervals in January, and evaluations are written by the teachers regarding students’ progress at the end of the grading process. The professor of French will also conduct “useful French” language classes for students at the Paris Opera, in dance technique classes and the supermarket. At the end of the course of study, students receive a record of their progress. All students will be tested on their French language capacity before the semester starts to gauge their language level. Students with considerable language skills will be leveled appropriately, though it is expected that most students will have little experience in French language beyond a year or two, at best. Although the sit-down French classes will end by the last week of January, the French language, and the instruction of it, will be integrated throughout the semester. Several of the technique classes and choreographic workshops will be taught in a mixture of French and English, and a few in French-only.

Dance History (3 credits, 70 contact hours overlapping with World Dance and Culture)
This is a lecture/seminar course in major trends in dance history tracing the development of dance as an art form from its Western roots in the French court to the turn of the 20th century female emancipation during the Belle Époque to the most contemporary avant-garde choreographers on the Continent. The course will look at specific dances from the Western theatre dance canon, as well as non-Western dance forms that have crisscrossed and influenced contemporary dance culture, while examining trends and unifying themes of selected major choreographers and styles of the last several centuries. The course will investigate the political, social, cultural and reactionary elements that have come to define and redefine Dance. Accompanying selected readings, students will also see over 25 live dance performances and visit major sites (le Château de Versailles, l’Opéra de Paris, le Musée d’Orsay, etc.) that relate directly to the study of historical trends in dance. This course will be taught by Madison Mainwaring, although the course dovetails with the World Dance and Culture course in many respects.

World Dance and Culture (2-3 credits, 70 contact hours overlapping with Dance History)
This course has been designed to explore the origins and evolutions of dances created in (but not limited to) French/Arabic-speaking Africa, the Caribbean, Southeast Asia and the Middle East. Students will attend workshops and performances that delve deeper into the dances across the French/Arabic-speaking diaspora, as well as engaging in direct discourse about politics, gender and democracy, which will accompany selected readings. This course will be led by Wanjiru Kamuyu, although the course dovetails with the Dance History course in many respects. Students will also have up to 10 master classes with choreographers whose work relates to the study of world dance trends. These master classes are 2-hour embodied/physical workshops with the artists, plus a 1-hour discussion with the artists related to the study of cultural trends in dance.

Modern Dance (1-3 credits, 60 contact hours)
This is an advanced level modern dance technique course focusing on the ability to process physical material efficiently while placing emphasis on the acquisition of technical skills, as well as enhancing one’s individual artistic sensibilities and exploring self-identification. The course meets three times a week for the entire semester, and classes are taught by esteemed European dance professionals including Julien Desplantez, Wanjiru Kamuyu and Vladimir Rodríguez.

Ballet (1-3 credits, 60 contact hours)
This course in Ballet is designed for serious, upper-level intermediate/advanced dancers. During this course, students will add to the material already gleaned from their ballet classes in their respective programs. The course meets three times a week for the entire semester, and classes are taught by European dance professionals including former Paris Opera Ballet dancer, Sébastien Thill, internationally-known dancer, Anna Chirescu, and Paris Conservatory-trained dancer/teacher, Aurélia Lefaucheux.

Choreography (2 credits, 45-60 contact hours)
The emphasis of the Choreography class is the investigation of three different choreographic processes under three distinct choreographers over the course of the semester. Students will be developing a different choreographic skill set with each choreographer. These choreographic workshops are offered over three separate long weekends so students can focus on the choreographic processes independently of technique classes. Two of these choreographic workshops are “destination intensives” meaning that the students travel outside of Paris to study with these important European-based dance-makers:

- Paris, France: Nathalie Pubellier (Artistic Director, Compagnie L’Estampe)
- Berlin, Germany: Heidi Weiss (Co-Artistic Director, Weiss/Mann Productions)
- Amsterdam, The Netherlands: Maurice Causey (Former dancer with Ballet Frankfurt/Forsythe)

Yoga (1-2 credits, 30 contact hours)
This course is designed to expose students to the basic principles and philosophy of yoga. Through the analysis and explorations of breath, postures (asanas) and meditation, students will incorporate elements of the yogic philosophy toward the construction and development of their own personal yoga practice. This course meets over 11 Wednesdays (one class in yoga philosophy and one flow class per day) during the semester. Classes are taught by, Michelle Jacobi, one of Paris’s most well-known yoga teachers and yoga therapists.

Improvisation (1-2 credits, 30 contact hours overlapping with Choreography and Modern Dance Technique)
The study and cultivation of improvisation as both a technical skill set, and a choreographic devise will be integrated into several of the technique classes, workshops, and choreography classes throughout the semester. Specific emphasis will be placed on bringing a dancer’s creative confidence to the surface through concepts, exercises and structures to help dancers develop skills for using improvisation as a tool for cultivating useful movement and thematic material for their own creative work.

Independent Project/Study course (variable credit and contact hours)
Students needing to design a specific course tailored to their needs to fulfill course material at their home institution can propose coursework inside an “independent project” course, which can also be completed in Paris.

Students will also have a 20-class card at one of Paris’s premier dance studios, which features a wide range of professional-level technique classes from ballet to modern to hip-hop to jazz to theater-dance. Classes are taught by some of the leading dance professionals in the world including Wayne Byars, Corinne Lanselle, Natsuko Amano, Michaël Cassans and Yanis Marshall, among dozens of others. Attendance in these classes is a mandatory part of the coursework during the Paris Program and counts toward the final grade in the technique classes.