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The Ruby is a catalyst for creativity and a home for making art at Duke.

Spring 2018 Courses in the Rubenstein Arts Center

Published By Katy Clune
Published on: November 1, 2017

Classes in Dance, Arts of the Moving Image, Theater, Music, African American Studies, and more are offered in the Ruby classrooms and studios.

Dancer in upstairs studio in the Rubenstein Arts Center.

30 courses in the Ruby in Spring 2018!

The Rubenstein Arts Center was designed with the arts in mind. This beautiful facility features an abundance of natural light, performance lighting systems in several studios, sound-proofing, dance-ready sprung floors, a student lounge—just to name a few of the tools in the Ruby that support the creative process.

Browse Spring 2018 Courses

African and African American Studies

Hip Hop Production
AAAS 325S.01
Patrick Douthit (9th Wonder)

Introduction to Hip-Hop Production examines the history, background, functionality, and techniques of hip-hop production. This class will examine the art of sampling, borrowing, context, and practices in hip-hop production, while studying the history of beat machines and digital audio workstations.

Art, Art History & Visual Studies

Create, Innovate, Act!
ARTSVIS 140/VMS 140/I&E 140
Pedro Lasch

Introductory course for undergraduates across university (1st, 2nd YR). Interdisciplinary work bridging sciences, arts, and humanities with focus on gaining experiential knowledge through project creation and engagement with everyday contexts. Brings together diverse community of students interested in combining research methods, skills, and talents from broad range of professional and academic areas, all characterized by creative inquiry, innovation, and/or social concerns. Students can focus on any particular area, or combination thereof, benefiting from a group environment where peers are producing, sharing, and discussing their own inventions, speculative research, artworks, sound compositions, performances, media productions, or activist interventions. With exception of guest speaker events, all lectures delivered as flipped-course materials to maximize project production time during class. Technological, artistic, and social practice based skill formation also provided through integration of campus-wide offerings in specialized facilities, maker spaces, labs, and art studios. Local and international guest speakers include artists, activists, innovators, entrepreneurs, curators, and scholars.

Filming Art
ARTSVIS 451S.01 / AMI 451S.01 / VMS 451S.01
Joshua Gibson

Practice-based production course examining the filmic realization and visualization of the artistic process. Screenings of bio-pics, documentaries and experimental films focusing on artists and various art forms compliment readings and hands on production exercises that will prepare students to undertake their own short video portrait of an artist or work of art.


  • Moving Image Practice (VMS 261S.02)
  • Cinematography (VMS 260S.01)

Arts of the Moving Image

Moving Image Practice
AMI 301S.02 / THEATRST 370S.02 / VMS 261S.02
James Haverkamp

Like any craft, making movies is something that takes time, study, and practice. During the semester, students will be assigned reading, take part in discussions, and study the fundamental elements of video production, but the opportunity to learn the most will be found in the several short exercises students complete. By the end of the course, students will have a solid understanding of the building blocks of different types of video production. They will use digital video cameras and audio equipment, learn basic video editing with Final Cut Pro X (or a software of their choice), and create original work.

Writing the Movie
AMI 306S.01
Gary Hawkins

Students explore the fundamentals of screenwriting through weekly writing exercises, screenings, and in-depth classroom readings and discussions. Topics include the understanding, personalizing and application of basic story constructs, traditional screenplay formatting, links to narrative traditions, genre placement, business realities and more.

AMI 355S.01 / VMS 260S.01
Stephen Milligan

This course introduces students to the art and practice of motion picture photography. Focus is on fundamental skills and technique, including lensing, camera operation, camera movement, and lighting, as well as the working relationships, constraints, responsibilities, approaches, strategies, motivations, and creative processes that inform cinematography. Elements of cinematic style, visual imagination, and storytelling are discussed, demonstrated, and executed through exercises. Practical considerations from the related and overlapping subjects of film producing and directing are treated as they relate to cinematography.

Editing for Film & Video
AMI 357S.01
Shambhavi Kaul

In the simplest of terms a motion picture editor creates relationships between shots in a film. However, what is at stake each time a relationship between two shots is established? From Russian montage to DW Griffith to the Avant-Garde to Hollywood this relationship between two shots has been variously envisioned as a cut, a collision, an interval, as something invisible, as something visible and even as the blink of the eye. In focusing on these relationships between shots, we will envision the role of the editor as that of author, storyteller, and political and historical agent.

Practically all the assignments in this class will be “found footage” exercises. We will appropriate materials we find on DVDs, television or the Internet and, we will explore various archives, re-editing the materials we find to make new moving image works. We will explore the history of found footage filmmaking from Esther Shub to contemporary mash-ups. Expect to acquire skills in editing digitally using Adobe Premiere Pro.


  • Filming Art (AMI 451S.01)


Dance Composition
Andrea Woods Valdéz

The basic elements of movement (time, space, weight, flow) and their choreographic applications explored through structured improvisation, short movement studies, viewing of videotaped dances, and selected readings. Experimentation with devices for movement manipulation and choreographic forms through longer movement studies. Prerequisite: a beginning level dance technique course (modern, ballet, jazz, or African) or consent of instructor.

Kundalini Yoga
Kevel Khalsa

Practice course to experience the components of Kundalini Yoga – breath work (pranayam), movement, postures (asanas, mudras), focus techniques (meditation, drishti), use of sound current (mantra), and relaxation techniques. For a more intensive study of Kundalini Yoga that includes practice, lecture, writing and discussion, see full credit course Dance 357L.

Performance & Technology
Thomas DeFrantz

Workshop exploration of technologies embedded in performance: robots, media, computer interface. Students create performance projects and discuss theoretical and historical implications of technologies in performance. Open to dancers, actors, musicians, spoken word artists and all those interested in technology and the arts. No previous experience or programming skills required.

Postmodernism in Dance
Purnima Shah

An examination of American modern dance since the 1950s, which reinstructed what kinds of movements were considered “dance” and what kind of dance was considered art. Postmodern dance as iconoclastic and inclusive, embracing performance art and film, theater and hip hop, fostering the rebirth of modern dance in Europe between 1970-90, and now re-absorbing and recycling the new forms it helped to create. Videos of dancing, guests, workshops, performances.

Kundalini Yoga And Sikh Dharma
Kevel Khalsa

Introduction to Kundalini Yoga and meditation and yogic lifestyle as taught by Yogi Bhajan through practice, lecture, writing and discussion. Overview of the basic philosophy of Sikh Dharma and the development of Sikhism and Kundalini Yoga in the Western Hemisphere.

Music for Dancers
DANCE 375 / MUSIC 342
John Hanks

Exploration of the elements of music, music structures, and their relationship to movement and dance. Practical emphasis on rhythmic fundamentals, rhythm notation, musicality, mindful listening, and how they apply to choreography/composition and dance class. Daily movement, rhythm and/or choreographic exercises, both solo and in groups, along with written assignments. Useful for dance students interested in the dance/music connection.

Beyond Technique: Art of Performance
Barbara Dickenson and Tyler Walters

Examination of the complex artistic process of performance necessary to realize the choreographer’s intent; development of interpretive abilities beyond the mastery of technique and style; classic and contemporary approaches to embodying content. Readings in the literature of performance and imaging; written analysis of performance; vigorously coached rehearsal sessions. Prerequisite: intermediate/advanced level of modern, ballet, or African dance technique.

Dance Technique and Repertory

Elementary Modern Dance
Keval Khalsa

Technical and artistic training in the modern dance idiom through technique, improvisation and composition. First steps in developing skill, clarity and motivational intent as well as strength and flexibility. No previous dance experience necessary.

Advanced Beginning Ballet
Tyler Walters

Barre work concentrating on body alignment and correct placement within the ballet vocabulary followed by center adagio and allegro sequences.

African Dance Tech I
Ava Vinesett

Introduction to African dance styles and related rhythmic structures from selected countries such as Guinea, Senegal, Nigeria and Cote d’Ivoire. Taught in the context of their social, occupational, and religious functions.

Jazz Dance I
Nina Wheeler

Hip Hop II
Natalie Marrone

Hip-Hop, an inner-city culture that has created its own art, language, fashion, music and dance styles. This is the second level of Hip Hop dance and requires previous dance experience with the form. Using dance as a time-line the course explores the history, development and core elements of hip-hop dance culture.

Intermediate Modern
Andrea Woods Valdéz

Increased complexity of movement sequences and greater emphasis on clarity of expression and quality of performance.

Adv. Intermediate ballet
Julie Walters

Greater complexity of barre and center sequences with increased emphasis on correctness of style and quality of performance.

Jazz II
Nina Wheeler

Adv. Modern
Andrea Woods Valdéz

Technical and artistic training in the modern dance idiom at an advanced level. Increased complexity of movement sequences and emphasis on clarity of expression, musicality, and quality of performance.

Adv. Ballet
Tyler Walters

Progression of Dance 220 with increased emphasis on line, style, and performance-level quality and technique. Diverse batterie, pirouettes, and tours included in allegro combinations.

Intensive Modern
Andrea Woods Valdéz

Intensive modern dance training at the Intermediate and advanced levels.

Modern Repertory
Barbara Dickenson

The study of choreography and performance through participation in the mounting of a dance work from inception through rehearsal to performance. Consent of instructor required.

Intensive Ballet
Julie Walters

Continuation of Dance 320. Daily training for the performing student at the advanced/professional level.

Ballet Repertory
Julie Walters

The study of choreography and performance through participation in the mounting of a dance work from inception through rehearsal to performance. Separate enrollment in dance technique is required. Consent of instructor required.


  • Introduction to Performing Arts Management and Entrepreneurship (DANCE 290.01)

Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Introduction to Performing Arts Management and Entrepreneurship
I&E 290.02 / MUSIC 290.01 / DANCE 290.01 / THEATRST 290S-4.02
Eric Oberstein

This course, tailored for students who are considering careers in the arts, seeks to teach the foundations of performing arts management and equip students with knowledge of the business and entrepreneurial aspects of the arts and creative industries. It will engage a broad variety of guest speakers, including visiting artists brought to campus by Duke Performances, Duke alumni working in the performing arts, and members of the region’s burgeoning performing arts scene. Readings will be pulled from arts criticism, arts management case studies, memoirs and books on the performing arts, and journalism about the business of performing arts, including timely articles that will be added throughout the semester. Students will be required to attend a number of live performances. The course will include a final project, where student teams conduct assessments of local arts organizations and creative ventures.

Course topics include: Business Models in the Arts: For-Profit, Non-Profit, and Beyond; Programming and Curation; Marketing, Branding, and Building an Audience; Leadership in the Arts; Arts Budgeting and Finance; Fundraising and Income Streams; Arts Law, Contracts, and Intellectual Property; Careers in the Arts; and more. Permission of the instructor is required—see the full course description for details.


  • Create, Innovate, Act! (I&E 140)

MFA in Experimental and Documentary Arts

Experiments in the Moving Image
Alex Cunningham and Jason Sudak

Poetic and experimental image-making, utilizing techniques that trace a historical trajectory from celluloid to digital. Exploration of cinematographic principles and cameraless experiments. Readings and screenings focusing on avant-garde film and digital traditions supplement student productions.



  • Introduction to Performing Arts Management and Entrepreneurship (MUSIC 290.01)
  • Music for Dancers (MUSIC 342)

Theater Studies


  • Introduction to Performing Arts Management and Entrepreneurship (THEATRST 290S-4.02)
  • Performance & Technology (THEATRST 364)
  • Moving Image Practice (THEATRST 370S.02)

Tune into events & opportunities!

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