Dance 1107 Class Explores Dance Around the World

 Natalie Berry

KENNESAW, Ga. (Sep 1, 2018) — If you are lucky enough to nab a spot in Natalie Berry’s Dance 1107 class, you may not have any idea that you will be taking a tour of dance around the world and making international connections at the same time.

The 1107 dance class at Kennesaw State examines the role of arts in society, and provides an in-depth study of selected dance events, resulting in heightened perceptual abilities through class experiences and field visits.

Berry explains, “In the first half of the course, we study cultures: we look at dance, examine what dance is, and then we look at different countries and their take on dance. For example, we look at Japan, Brazil, and America. We look at the African aesthetic, which is very large so we have to pare it down; we study an author who uses seven African aesthetics.”

After the world tour of dance, the students study concert dance in the second half of the course. “We compare those cultural dances that we have studied and how they have influenced concert dance and how concert dance has been changed by world events. So, for example, we are talking about romantic ballet which was the first half of the 1800’s. We look at things like the French Revolution, the American Revolution, the Haitian Revolution, and the Industrial Revolution. We look at how those global ideas really affected the development, both theatrically and technically, of the art form. I feel like it is a great way to learn about history without learning about history,” Berry explains.

class group photo

Berry’s students agree. A sophomore in engineering, student Thaide Huichapa says, “It is actually kind of interesting how different parts of the world have the same ideas, even across Africa, Brazil, and Japan. Japan was enclosed in their own country but they had the same ideas as other countries, without any contact. That was really cool.”

Lauren Jones, a freshman in exercise science with a minor in dance, says, “I’ve been able to look at dance in a different light, knowing the history behind certain movements, and the purpose behind the movements, from multiple parts of the world. Seeing that all come together into one is really cool; it becomes one art form, and that’s amazing.”

International student Mbali Mamba, a nursing major from South Africa, will never forget the Dance 1107 class. She said, “It’s like a big explosion of cultural knowledge. I have a completely different perspective of the world and society and how we connect. For me, personally, I didn’t realize that dance was so deep. It’s fascinating because we, as humans, are so connected, and we don’t even realize it. For example, some dance styles here in America are very similar to dances in South Africa. People who have never seen each other anywhere in the world are doing the exact same thing.”

Berry adds, “The class as a whole brought out this idea that cultures the world over are full of similarities. I thought that was a really great message. We don’t always have to be exactly the same. We don’t always have to agree, but we can find those connections. It makes you so much more willing to accept people.”