Fall 2013 - Undergraduate Course Descriptions

Riccio, Thomas
Discipline and Number
DRAM 1310 Section 002
TR Time 10:00 AM - 11:15 AM
Course Title
Ritual Performance

Description of Course:

This course will apply a variety of exercises and follow a methodology developed by the instructor for the creation of ritual performance expression. The course will proceed in three phases 1) Body, 2) Space, and 3) Place. Each phase will introduce a foundational element in the progression of developing and comprehending ritual performance. Each phase will explore through exercises, improvisations, and performance studies three themes: balance, circles, and rhythm.

At the core of this course’s methodology is the objective of locating and articulating a human body in relation to space. The objective of such articulated action is to situate the body relationally in a space and by so doing create a place—the systemization of layered spaces.

By creating a performance place (be it a circle, stage, film, or other communal gathering point) an assembly site is actualized. The performance place is both literal and metaphoric, serving to organize many formerly disparate spaces, objects, and actions into a meaning system. A performance place is the microcosmic ordering of the world, a site of agency, simultaneously catalyst, metaphor and mnemonic and ultimately a dynamic, microcosmic, and tactile diagram of how societies and cultures are expressed and formulated. It is, to a greater or lesser degree, a ritual. Humans create ritual(s) instinctually, for this is how the species enhances a body’s ability to maintain order, reflect, take stock, and survive.

Student Learning Objectives
1) To examine and convey fundamental awareness and understanding of ritual performance from a performer’s perspective, 2) develop a critical understanding and vocabulary of ritual performance and its function as a cultural expression, 3) develop performance skills enabling the understanding, appreciation, and enactment of ritual performance, 4) develop a self-awareness as one uses the body, voice, and emotions to communicate through performance, 5) use course readings to examine historical contexts and cultural and social functions of ritual performance.

contact Riccio for questions of further info: [email protected]
check out his websites:

Required Texts:

The Myth of the Eternal Return, by Mircea Eliade
The Spell of the Sensuous, by David Abram

Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:

• Completion of assignments prior to class
• Successful Completion of 5 Performance Exercises
• Development & maintenance of a Performance workbook
• Final Performance Presentation
• Class participation & attendance

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