Andrea Olsen

Professor of Dance

 
 Spring Term 2016- Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey

Andrea Olsen has been a Professor of Dance at Middlebury College in Vermont over the past three decades and is author of a triad of books on the body: BodystoriesBody and Earth, and The Place of Dance. She currently teaches on the Monterey, CA campus bringing mindfulness practices into graduate courses on global communication.  Current projects include hosting a Whole Body Intelligence series of films and lectures with colleague Nukhet Kardam in Monterey and continuing the Body and Earth: Seven Web-Based Somatic Excursions film project with Scotty Hardwig at Middlebury.

http://andrea-olsen.com and http://body-earth.org.

Degrees, Specializations & Interests:
MFA University of Utah, Dance Choreography

Photo Credit - Alan Kimara Dixon

Media:

 

 

 

Courses

Course List: 

Courses offered in the past four years.
indicates offered in the current term
indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]

DANC 0277 / ENVS 0277 - Body & Earth      

Body and Earth
This course has been designed for students with an interest in the dialogue between the science of body and the science of place. Its goals are to enhance movement efficiency through experiential anatomy and to heighten participants' sensitivity to natural processes and forms in the Vermont bioregion. Weekly movement sessions, essays by nature writers, and writing assignments about place encourage synthesis of personal experience with factual information. Beyond the exams and formal writing assignments, members of the class will present a final research project and maintain an exploratory journal. 3 hrs. lect. 1 hr. lab. AMR ART CW NOR PE

Spring 2014, Fall 2015

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DANC 0376 / ENVS 0277 - Anatomy and Kinesiology      

Anatomy and Kinesiology
This course offers an in-depth experiential study of skeletal structure, and includes aspects of the muscular, organ, endocrine, nervous, and fluid systems of the human body. The goal is to enhance efficiency of movement and alignment through laboratory sessions, supported by assigned readings, exams, and written projects. (Not open to first-year students) 3 hrs. lect. ART PE

Spring 2014, Fall 2015

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DANC 0500 - Independent Project      

Independent Project
(Approval Required)

Winter 2014, Spring 2014, Fall 2015

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DANC 0700 - Independent Project      

Independent Project
(Approval Required)

Winter 2014, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Fall 2015

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ENVS 0500 - Independent Study      

Independent Study
In this course, students (non-seniors) carry out an independent research or creative project on a topic pertinent to the relationship between humans and the environment. The project, carried out under the supervision of a faculty member with related expertise who is appointed in or affiliated with the Environmental Studies Program, must involve a significant amount of independent research and analysis. The expectations and any associated final products will be defined in consultation with the faculty advisor. Students may enroll in ENVS 0500 no more than twice for a given project. (Approval only)

Winter 2014, Spring 2014, Winter 2015, Winter 2016, Winter 2017, Winter 2018

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ENVS 0700 - Senior Independent Study      

Senior Independent Study
In this course, seniors complete an independent research or creative project on a topic pertinent to the relationship between humans and the environment. During the term prior to enrolling in ENVS 0700, a student must discuss and agree upon a project topic with a faculty advisor who is appointed in or affiliated with the Environmental Studies Program and submit a brief project proposal to the Director of Environmental Studies for Approval. The expectations and any associated final products will be defined in consultation with the faculty advisor. Students may enroll in ENVS 0700 as a one-term independent study OR up to twice as part of a multi-term project, including as a lead-up to ENVS 0701 (ES Senior Thesis). (Senior standing; Approval only)

Winter 2014, Spring 2014, Winter 2015, Winter 2016, Winter 2017, Winter 2018

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DPPG 8542 / ICCO 9542 - SPR:Communicating Change World      

Communication skills are of particular relevance to Development Practice and Policy (DPP) students who intend to work in diverse intercultural settings to promote social change for social justice. We believe that communication is the center point of what constitutes development (defined as furthering social justice). The communications field has traditionally been understood as public relations and marketing but in this course, we focus on identity, perceptions, listening and advocacy dimensions and how our internal landscape affects how we act, speak and listen in intercultural contexts. Many projects have failed because development has simply been understood as imitation of more developed countries and transfer of information and knowledge leading to desired changes in behavior. In this sense, communication becomes purely instrumental. It has become clear that we must pay attention to the process and intent of the communication between the varied stakeholders: the donors, recipients, government representatives, community leaders, and people who live in those communities. Thus, we would like to define communication for development as the use of communication processes, techniques and media to help people toward a full awareness of their situation and their options for change, to resolve conflicts, to work towards consensus, to help people plan actions for change and sustainable development.


International aid agencies are now calling more and more for the kinds of ‘soft skills’ that help aid workers enter new communities, to come across as human beings who are self-aware and present, who listen before talking or telling, who are also aware that communication is much more than just ‘verbal’. A central premise of this course is that communication is a whole-body experience and that it involves a dynamic and fluid interchange between a person’s internal and external environments. A second premise is that when we naturally connect with ourselves, we connect better with others and truly share practical wisdom and insights. Drawing from the Intercultural Communication literature and from the literature on ‘Whole Body Intelligence, as well as case studies drawn from both development agencies’ experiences and alumni working in the field, we will investigate how we ‘arrive’ in a new community, how we use our voice, how we listen, and how we use space. We will examine how understanding our nervous system helps us deal with conflict. We will explore our own perceptions and biases as development workers, how projections may lead to ‘othering’ and to conflict. We will investigate how the languages we employ shape the way we communicate. We will focus on our own identities, as well as how others perceive us and how identity interplays with power. We will study different modes of communication: verbal and nonverbal, as well as virtual. Art and food traditions will also be explored as significant avenues of communication, enhancing intercultural values and dialogue.

Spring 2017 - MIIS, Spring 2018 - MIIS

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DPPG 8637 - SPR:SEM:Soc Sector Needs Assmt      

This 2-credit, 2-weekend course introduces participants to a variety of tools and methodologies for participatory needs assessment in the context of poverty. The goal of this course is to develop and apply the fundamental needs and assets assessment skills necessary for a career in international development. International aid agencies are now calling more and more for the kinds of ‘soft skills’ that help aid workers enter new communities, to come across as human beings who are self-aware and present, flexible and creative, who listen before talking or telling, and who understand that communication is much more than just ‘verbal’.

The following topics will be covered:

1) An overview of Poverty, Social Change, Participation, and Asset-Based Development (including the importance of an Asset-Based approach in sustainable development; types of assets, including social capital);

2) An overview of participatory methods, tools, techniques and strategies applied in Asset Based Development activities. We will focus on how external facilitators interact with local participants and other stakeholder groups employing appropriate soft skills, which include the more traditional needs assessment tools, such as priority ranking, mapping, seasonal calendar, as well as somatic tools for effective communication in intercultural contexts.

Spring 2017 - MIIS

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DPPG 8659 - SEMInterculturlArts&SocialChng      

SEM: Intercultural Arts & Social Change



The arts play a central role in cultural identity and integrity. They also can have significant impact on the visibility and impact of development projects, including environmental and educational initiatives. In this DPP seminar, we address ways of making professional projects more effective through incorporating local culture experienced through the arts. This includes: 1) Hosting six international and U.S. artists and their collaborative projects focused on African nations, African-American fusion, Japan, and Mexico, and connecting these experiences to social justice goals within DPP frameworks. 2) Discerning attitudes about culture and identity while developing creative approaches and artistic skills applicable to intercultural communication in professional contexts. Group and individual projects lead to presentations open to the MIIS community. The course is offered in conjunction with 10X10: Intercultural Arts and Leadership, a Fund for Innovation project, hosted by Tangut Degfay and collaborators.

Spring 2018 - MIIS

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Publications:

Bodystories: A Guide to Experiential Anatomy, with Caryn McHose www.upne.com

Bodystories book

Body and Earth: An Experiential Guide www.upne.com

body and earth book

Andrea's writing resonates a deep engagement with the earth and our potential for connection. Wondrously matter of fact, she negotiates an awareness built on sensing, movement and clear information. She gives us the tools to note those small epiphanies of science and existence, of the land and the heart, with detail, spirit and a humbling sense of place. Body and Earth is a practice, a reminder of the enormously simple act of conscious living. This is a book that will be rained on, danced with, left behind and found again, borrowed and used for life.

-Bebe Miller, Choreographer and Artistic Director of Bebe Miller Company, and Professor of Dance at The Ohio State University


The Place of Dance: A Somatic Guide to Dancing and Dance Making, with Caryn McHose www.wesleyan.edu/wespress/

<p>Andrea Olsen Place of Dance</p>
 
The Place of Dance is a gift to the world of dance and to the world at large. Anyone who has seen or been involved in a dance of any kind must read this book. It opens doors to the lovely visceral mystery of the art form. It will likely become a teacher’s guide as well. Andrea Olsen has created a literate reflective surface from which to envision the body in motion.

—David Dorfman, dance department chair, Connecticut College, and artistic director, David Dorfman Dance

 
Click to read article
Click to Read Article

 See more lectures and workshops at www.andrea-olsen.com

Program in Environmental Studies

Franklin Environmental Center at Hillcrest
531 College Street
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753