Teaching and Learning Institute

All Offices & Services

Dance professor creates new course in Interdisciplinary Arts Collaboration

Jeanine McCain, Assistant Professor of Dance, offered a new course for students of all majors in the spring semester of 2014. The course, Interdisciplinary Collaboration Seminar, received support from the TLI and created a forum for students from across disciplines to collaborate and create performance work together. 

McCain’s seminar examined the theory and practice of various collaboration techniques used in the art of contemporary performance making. Theoretical coursework covered collaborative examples inspired from historical movements including Dadaism, Surrealism and Postmodernism. Students incorporated many mediums, including dance, music, theatre, creative writing, photography, visual art, spoken word, poetry, and video and sound technology, to create original performance pieces. They pondered themes and concepts based in broader fields including mathematics, social sciences, politics, and psychology and applied them as inspiration for their collaborations.   

McCain asserts that bringing together various interests, skills, and passions helps students to reach their full potential for learning and creating. She remarked, “One of the greatest things about the course was seeing students take steps into territory they had never dreamed of. Each one of them, supported by the structure of the collaborative techniques and the class community, made the effort to try something they had never done before. The confidence that arose from that helped them to create some very inspiring and thought-provoking work.”

For their final projects, McCain asked students to ponder the three CIE questions.  “What does it mean to be human,” “How should we live our lives,” and “What is the universe and how do we fit into it” became the starting point for them to consider their process and performances. These final projects were presented as part of the student-produced campus performance event, Ricochet, which is part of the CIE Common Event series and a project for which McCain also serves as advisor. “I loved having the opportunity to see students, from first-years to seniors, contemplate the CIE questions together in the act of creative process for their final projects. It was reaffirming to see that the questions remain relevant and always worthy of further investigation in their lives,” said McCain. 

The course is set to be offered again in the Spring of 2016.