New, Revised, and Special Topics Courses (Fall 2024)

Note about overlapping courses

While some PMA instructors will allow students to enroll in classes that overlap, not all do. If your proposed Fall 2024 schedule includes overlaps, please consult with the faculty in question before enrolling so that you can adjust your enrollment plans if necessary.

PMA 2100 Introduction to Performing and Media Arts

Instructor: Nick Salvato

Class Schedule: MW 2:55 p.m. - 4:10 p.m. (3 credits)

This course is designed to offer students a broad, foundational introduction to the mission of the Department of Performing and Media Arts. With a focus both on making artistic work in mediated forms and in live performance and on the critical methods for studying such artwork, we explore a variety of topics and concepts, from composition and gesture to sound and movement—and beyond. Joined by visiting guest experts from all across the PMA faculty, the instructors usher students through a range of approaches to creative authorship, design, embodied performance, history, and theory. Organized around a series of keywords, including adaptation, representation, transformation, and world-building, the course also foregrounds ways of thinking about and with categories of identity and social relations, such as ability, age, class, ethnicity, gender, race, and sexuality.

PMA 3226 Global Dance and Decolonizing Movement

Instructor: Danielle Russo

Class Schedule: Tuesdays & Thursdays, 10:10 a.m. - 12:05 p.m. (4 credits)

How does the social production of dance reflect its historical context? Is dance inherently political? What is the meaning of the "beautiful" in dance? Beginning with 16th century court dances, we will explore how aesthetics have been aligned both with and against politics in various periods, across borders, and genres of the performing body, looking at dance as insider's diplomacy and outsider's rebellion. Is modern dance a democratization of the art form? Is postmodern dance a discourse of traditions? This course is designed to promote a critical appreciation of dance, its values and its ambitions, by developing a historical and cultural understanding.

PMA 3241 Site-Specific to Immersive Dance Theatre: Choreography for Unconventional Formats and Spaces

Instructor: Danielle Russo

Class schedule: Tuesdays & Thursdays, 2:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. (3 credits)

What is the practice, purpose, and potential of performance beyond the traditional proscenium stage? How does the meaning of choreography and direction operate and expand as its format alters and transforms? How does the performer exercise and prepare themselves to activate and to communicate their work in new and different surroundings? Audiences? Technologies? "Rules" of engagement?

This is a research-to-practice design studio reconsidering the function, philosophy, and reality of an evolving stage. We create to confront the psychological, political, historical, and communal orientation, power, and promise of dance in non-traditional spaces. We distinguish between site-sympathetic, site-specific, site-adaptable, environmental, installational, interactive, interventional, and immersive modes of dance performance, production, and world-making. We apply exercises ranging from memory recall to sensory stimulation, object play, vantage point, architecture and engineering principles and sensibilities, Contact Improvisation and constructed partnering, locational co-presence and socially-engaged placemaking, natural habitats and Eco-Dance, narrative adaptation and abstraction, sound and light mapping, consensual participation, gaming and journeying, and illusion through mixed realities and experiential technologies, such as mobile apps, VR and AR. Curricular studies include but are not limited to Marina Abramović, Trisha Brown, Janet Cardiff, Nick Cave, Eiko & Koma, William Forsythe, Gerard & Kelly, Emily Johnson, Meredith Monk, Optical Animal, Pope.L, Yvonne Rainer, Tino Sehgal, and Yara Travieso, as well as DV8, Frantic Assembly, Punchdrunk (Sleep No More, etc.), and Third Rail Projects (Then She Fell). No previous dance experience is required.

PMA 3535 TV Writing: Hour Long

Instructor: Juanie Fowlkes

Class Schedule: Wednesdays 11:15 a.m. - 1:45 p.m. (3 credits)

This is a one-semester workshop focusing on the foundational basics of writing for television, with an emphasis on the structure and process of creating a hour long script. Students will individually pitch and break an original episode, and develop an outline, first draft script and rewrite for an existing and currently running hour long television series. Additionally, all participants will work as a "writers' room" to give feedback and pitches on other students' projects. Students will have their work-in-progress read, analyzed, and discussed by all participants.

PMA 3550 Global Cinema and Media

Instructor: Sabine Haenni

Class Schedule: Tuesdays & Thursdays, 2:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. (4 credits) 

Global Cinema I and II together offer an overview of international film history from the late nineteenth century to today. Through a focus on key films and significant epochs, the course traces the evolution of form, style and genre, the medium's changing technologies and business models, as well as film's relation to broader cultural, social and political contexts. Screenings of narrative, documentary and experimental films will be accompanied by readings in film theory and history.

PMA 3750 Global Theatre and Performance

Instructor: J. Ellen Gainor

Class Schedule: Tuesdays & Thursdays, 12:20 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. (4 credits) 

This course is designed to introduce students to a range of historical, cross-cultural, and transnational performance texts, theories, and practices; to motivate students to examine the broad social, political, cultural, and economic contexts in which performances take place; and to familiarize students with major methodologies and paradigms for the creation, spectatorship, and interpretation of performances.

PMA 3841 Immersive Engagement: Investigating the Experiential

Instructor: Beth Frances Milles

Class schedule: Tuesdays & Thursdays, 2:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. (3 credits)

The course traces the history and innovation of the Immersive Theatre Movement. These 21st century projects eliminate "the stage" as the primary location for performance to prioritize more experiential interactive audience engagements - with live-ness and active participation as fundamental goals. Working as collaborative think tank, students will engage, explore and specify examples set by artists such as Kara Walker, RA Walden, Coco Fusco and Marina Abramovics and Tania El Khoury evoking and expanding the definitions of experiential. They will examine the work of companies such as PIEHOLE, PUNCHDRUNK (SLEEP NO MORE), THIRD RAIL PROJECTS (THEN SHE FELL) and EN GARDE ARTS, SPEAKEASY DOLLHOUSE companies seeking to re-create the relationship between performer and spectator focusing on sensory engagement, visceral engagement and accessible spectacle a variety of approach to stimulate and reawaken performativity - expanding theatre towards multimedia applications, AR/VR and also solo interactive and site specific processes intended to surprise startle and instigate.

PMA 4695/6695 Queer Archives and Archiving Queerness (SHUM 4695/6695, AMST 4695/6695)

Instructor: Sara Warner

Class schedule: Thursdays, 2:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. (3 credits)

Location: A. D. White House

This course contemplates challenges associated with researching and representing LGBTQ+ pasts. We approach this topic from several angles: 1) by asking what constitutes "queer" and "trans" in different historical contexts and different geographical locations, when sexuality and gender are by their nature fluid; 2) by training in LGBTQ+ archival methods; and 3) by engagement with queer and trans artivists who make archives central to their praxis. We will visit Cornell's Human Sexuality collection, explore online repositories and academic databases (e.g., ONE and Cengage), and consider archive-based artistic projects (e.g., Killjoy's Castle and MOTHA).