Spring 2024 - CA 123 D100

Dance Training and Movement Systems II (5)

Class Number: 6331

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Jan 8 – Apr 12, 2024: Mon, Wed, Fri, 9:30–11:20 a.m.

    Jan 8 – Apr 12, 2024: Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30–2:20 p.m.

    Jan 8 – Apr 12, 2024: Tue, Thu, 9:30–11:20 a.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    CA (or FPA) 122. Corequisite: CA 123 and CA 124 must be taken concurrently.



Continues and expands on the work undertaken in CA (or FPA) 122. Emphasizes work in contemporary dance, ballet, and other movement techniques with attention to theoretical approaches to contemporary dance. Students with credit for FPA 123 may not take this course for further credit.


This course is a continuation of CA 122, further delving into the fundamentals of the Martha Graham technique, expanding on floor work, standing work and travelling exercises. The course will pay greater attention to detail, as well as introducing kneework, and both standing and travelling combinations. Emphasis will still be placed on musicality and performative aspects of Graham. Attention will continute to be given to the validity and importance of studying Graham, and how the skills learned can be applied not only to other techniques and methods of movement and other art forms, but philosophies of life as well. Written excerpts and online video material will be viewed and discussed regularly in class, as well as the potential for guests online and/or in person, and learning excerpts of Graham or Graham-based repertoire.
The course will focus heavily on the philosophies and teachings of Martha Graham, as well as Elizabeth Auclair, Patricia Beatty, David Earle and Kenny Pearl. Further emphasis will be placed on the progressive and revolutionary work of the repertoire and technique and Martha Graham’s company, both historically and politically. Discussions on how to implement the tools of the Graham technique into other dance and movement practices will also be included.


By the end of the term, students will have sound knowledge of the fundamentals of Graham and will be able to execute them with efficiency and authenticity, as well as being able to implement these fundamentals in both combinations and repertoire. Students will also have knowledge of the inner philosophies of Martha Graham and her technique, and how they have helped to shape contemporary dance throughout history and today. In addition, they will be able to argue the validity of teaching the technique both verbally and aurally.


  • Work Ethic 30%
  • Technical Ability 40%
  • Performance/Progress 30%


Work Ethic (30%):
Willingness to demonstrate self-discipline and self-motivation in growth and learning throughout the course, from instructors, peers, and from oneself. Respect of one’s own craft, and of the ritual practices of the class technique. Consistent demonstration of ability to apply corrections and notes and maintain this information for optimal improvement. Active and consistent participation in class discussions. Any and all written assignments to be presented to instructor in requested format and in a timely manner. Students will conduct themselves professionally and respectfully in class and within the greater Vancouver Dance Community, as ambassadors of the School of Contemporary Arts Dance Department.

Technical Ability (40%):
Ability to demonstrate knowledge of the Graham technique through physicality, awareness and unity of all parts of the body in movement, dynamic shifts in movement quality and musicality, poetic expression, artistry, and passion. Sound knowledge of physical limitations based on personal mobility/injury/physical and mental health, while still executing the technique to the best of their ability without risk. Self-governed and motivated to perform necessary conditioning, physio exercises, and treatment before or after class to prevent further or new injuries.

Performance/Progress (30%):
Knowledge of the fundamentals of Martha Graham’s technique and its impact on dance history. Ability to articulate these fundamentals physically and aurally with examples if requested. Ability to discuss philosophies of the Graham technique and connections to contemporary dance today, as well as contemporary life. Ability to pick up and demonstrate exercises and movement techniques in a timely manner, and to retain knowledge from previous classes, including notes and corrections given both personally and to the group. Being able to learn from the course director, guests, and fellow classmates. Clear improvement in coordination, mobility, and dynamic movement from beginning of course to the end of the term.

Important Note: The Martha Graham Technique is a formal dance technique. It requires great discipline, and great respect- for the artform, for one’s fellow artists, and most importantly, for oneself. It is through this formality, this discipline, this respect, that we find freedom of expression.



Materials and Supplies:

• Form-fitting dancewear/athletic wear: Leggings, tights, leotards, unitards. Shorts are not recommended due to risk of floor burn.
• Form-fitting long-sleeved shirt/zip-up, socks to keep warm.
• Notebook and pen/method for recording notes when necessary.
• Long hair secured neatly off face and neck.
• No jewellery that can catch or cause injury.
• Kneepads (if required for knee work)


• Blood Memory – Martha Graham
• Form Without Formula¬ – A Concise Guide to the Choreographic Process – Patricia Beatty
• The Dance Gods: A New York Memoir – Kenny Pearl


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating. Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the university community. Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the university. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the university. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html