Movement for the Stage

Course Number: TA 148
Transcript Title: Movement for the Stage
Created: September 1, 2012
Updated: August 5, 2015
Total Credits: 3
Lecture Hours: 30
Lecture / Lab Hours: 0
Lab Hours: 0
Satisfies Cultural Literacy requirement: No
Satisfies General Education requirement: No
Grading options: A-F (default), P-NP, audit
Repeats available for credit: 0

Course Description

Develops awareness and skills in movement as related to acting and communication. Focuses on body awareness, relaxation, energy, creating physical images and character, and communicating through body language. Explores expression through movement. Audit available.

Intended Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Integrate physical skills and awareness into future performance work.
  2. Use movement exercises to structure a theatre warm-up for self and a group.
  3. Develop artistic intuition and identity through disciplined work with original ideas.
  4. Audition with confidence for movement-oriented performances.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

Assessment shall include:

  1. Completion of weekly homework assignments which address specific movement-oriented tasks.
  2. In-class physical training to acceptable level of competence.
  3. In-class analysis of others' work, given certain criteria for consideration.
  4. A midterm portfolio examination.
  5. A final performance project.
  6. Frequent tests of ensemble skills through improvisation, exercises, and feedback sessions.

Course Activities and Design

Lecoq, Uemura, Commedia principles are taught through the following activities in the order presented.

  1. Mime
  2. Neutral Mask performances –solo and group work
  3. Open Scenes using animal affect and leading body parts
  4. Deconstruction of movement affect in character development
  5. Animal movement affect study and presentation
  6. Leading body part study and presentation
  7. Period style with and without costume
  8. Movement styles of theatre genres
  9. Movement styles of different eras
  10. Warm up and body focus exercises
  11. Emotion and physical affect
  12. Psychological gesture
  13. Scene work with movement as core to character development

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

Themes, Concepts, and Issues

  • Nonverbal communication as a primary human interaction.
  • Expansion of movement range as a stimulus for creative thinking.
  • Repetition and precision in choreography as a goad to artistic integrity.
  • Value of limiting the actor's instrument through mask and mime.
  • Ensemble work (awareness and sensitivity to others) as a foundation for theatrical presentation.
  • Development of original ideas as the basis for theatrical exchange.


  • Apply understanding of staging and choreography to original assignments.
  • Identify the use of successful staging and choreography in the work of others in the class, in film performances, and in live theatre performances through class discussion and through written work.
  • Perform specific movement theatre techniques - mask, mime.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of how to use music as a partner in scene work through choreography.
  • Create written "scores" of physical scene work.
  • Demonstrate results of ongoing outside-of-class rehearsal of original work.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of how to enlarge physical range through the practice of various techniques - falls, lifts, mime, upside-down, and partnered movement.
  • Articulate verbally and in written form analysis of plays from a movement theatre perspective.
  • Develop original ideas as the basis for theatrical exchange.

Department Notes

Attendance of a live theatre performance will be required. We will read scripts for analysis of a physical approach to scene work. We may also analyze film performances for use of physical transformation, choreography, and ensemble work. This class can be physically demanding.