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Dance 260: Introduction to Dance: Dance Topics

Other Guides that May Help Your Research

What to write about?

You may be interested in discussing a particular form or genre of dance in your research paper. You can combine the discussion of a form or genre with a specific time, place or person.

Examples of forms and genres:

Sample research questions:What are the differences and similarities between disco style in the 1970s and disco revival in the 2000s? How was the career of Sammy Davis Jr. important to the evolution of tap dance style in America?

You may wish to develop your topic with a specific style in mind, such as ballroom or ballet, or specific techniques such as en pointe or gancho. You can combine the discussion of a style or technique with a specific time, place or person.

Examples of styles and techniques:

  • aplomb (ballet)
  • enpointe (ballet)
  • bourree (ballet)
  • Guapacha timing (ballroom)
  • Promenade position (ballroom)
  • Headspin (hip-hop)
  • The worm (hip-hop)
  • jazz piroutte (turn)
  • grand jete (leap)
  • Graham (Contemporary dance technique)
  • Click here to see a longer list

Sample research questions: What are differences and similarities in the swing dance styles on the east and west coasts? What are the differences and similarities of the release technique as taught by (person) and (person)?

If your interest is dance history, styles and periods are central concepts to consider. You may wish to use historical time periods such as Baroque, Medieval, and Renaissance as organizing concepts. Sometimes specific groups of dancers are associated with movements or genres within a specific time period.

Examples of periods and styles:

  • Medieval
  • Renaissance
  • Baroque
  • English Regency
  • Polka craze (mid 19th century)
  • Ragtime
  • Roaring twenties
  • Swing (30's and 40's)
  • Contemporary
  • Street

Sample research questions: Although they derive from quite different cultures, how are the dances of Japan and Afghanistan similar?  Explore the relationship between superstitions and fears and the dances of a particular culture.

Performing Arts Librarian

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Myrna Layton
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