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: Bodystories, Body 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.
Degrees, Specializations & Interests:
MFA University of Utah, Dance Choreography
Courses offered in the past four years.
▲ indicates offered in the current term
▹ indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]
DANC0160 - Introduction to Dance
Introduction to Dance
This entry-level dance course introduces movement techniques, improvisation/composition, performance, experiential anatomy, and history of 20th century American modern dance. Students develop flexibility, strength, coordination, rhythm, and vocabulary in the modern idiom. Concepts of time, space, energy, and choreographic form are presented through improvisation and become the basis for a final choreographic project. Readings, research, and reflective and critical writing about dance performance round out the experience. 2 hrs. lect./3 hrs. lab ART PE
DANC0277 / ENVS0277 - 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
Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2015
DANC0376 / ENVS0277 - 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
DANC0500 - Independent Project
Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Winter 2014, Spring 2014, Fall 2015
DANC0700 - Independent Project
Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Winter 2014, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Fall 2015
ENVS0500 - 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)
Spring 2013, Winter 2014, Spring 2014, Winter 2015, Winter 2016, Winter 2017
ENVS0700 - 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)
Spring 2013, Winter 2014, Spring 2014, Winter 2015, Winter 2016, Winter 2017
DPPG8542 / ICCO9542 - 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 2016 - MIIS, Spring 2017 - MIIS
DPPG8637 - Social Sector Needs Assessment
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
Bodystories: A Guide to Experiential Anatomy, with Caryn McHose www.upne.com
Body and Earth: An Experiential Guide www.upne.com
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/
—David Dorfman, dance department chair, Connecticut College, and artistic director, David Dorfman Dance
See more lectures and workshops at www.andrea-olsen.com