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DAN 31 — Social Dancing Through Time: From the Pavan to Disco

Quarter: Spring
Day(s): Thursdays
Course Format: Live Online (About Formats)
Duration: 5 weeks
Date(s): Apr 22—May 20
Time: 7:00—8:50 pm (PT)
Refund Deadline: Apr 24
Unit: 1
Tuition: $320
Instructor(s): Richard Powers
Status: Open
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Live Online(About Formats)
7:00—8:50 pm (PT)
Apr 22—May 20
5 weeks
Refund Date
Apr 24
1 Unit
Richard Powers
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
How did swing dancing come to be? Was the tango really born in the brothels? What was the wildest and craziest dance craze in history? The craziest dance craze was probably the original cancan, which was a social dance for couples long before the better-known stage cancan for chorines, and the full story is more entertaining than the short answer. This course will be a series of ten lectures (the instructor prefers to think of them as lively storytelling) in five class sessions, accompanied by thousands of illustrations—mostly from the instructor’s personal collection of original drawings, lithographs, and photos—plus videos. The topics will include Renaissance and baroque dance, Jane Austen’s Regency era, the great 19th-century polkamania, the Ragtime era and Roaring Twenties, the bizarre Bowery Waltz, the histories of tango and swing dance, 1950s teenage rock ‘n’ roll dancing, and the subcultures of the disco era. If you already dance, these stories will give you fresh insight as to where your favorite dances came from. If you don’t dance, the dance scenes that you see on stage and screen will take on new meaning for you. Each class session will include a ten-minute stand-up-and-dance break, for those who want to try out some of the footwork. The classes will also include Q&A sessions.

No partner or dance experience is required.

Richard Powers, Lecturer in Dance, Stanford

Richard Powers has been researching and teaching social dance for forty-five years. He has received the Lloyd W. Dinkelspiel Award for Distinctive Contributions to Undergraduate Education, and was selected by the centennial issue of Stanford magazine as one of Stanford’s most notable graduates of its first century.

Textbooks for this course:

There are no required textbooks; however, some fee-based online readings may be assigned.