Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Semester 2

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture Lecture/Seminar 1 x 1 hour per week
Practical Workshops 1 x 2 hours per week


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Workshop development and progress  20%
Semester Assessment 1 x 3,000-word Reflective Journal  50%
Semester Assessment 1 x Group Improvisation and Reflection  15%
Semester Assessment 1 x Solo Improvisation and Reflection  15%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

1. Apply a knowledge and understanding of improvisation through participation in practical workshops.

2. Produce working notes that document workshop processes and procedures.

3. Critically reflect on the inter-relation of theory and practice through post-performance reflection and the creation of a reflective journal.

4. Demonstrate an understanding of key improvisation techniques through the creation of two short pieces (6-8min) of improvised performance.


This module will be taught through a series of 10 onehour lecture/seminars and 10 two-hour practical workshops led by departmental staff. The workshops and seminars will focus on the following:

.Definitions of improvisation
.Histories and contexts of improvisation
.Solo and group techniques
.Structuring and editing techniques
.Positive feedback as means of developing a practice
.Improvisation with voice and text
.Phenomenology and improvisation
.Embodiment and awareness
.Intentionality and 'implacement'
.Agency and freedom

Brief description

This module will explore the theory and practice of improvisation as a mode of performance. It will enable students to develop a practical understanding of solo and group improvisation methodologies and to place these in a historical and theoretical context. Students will be introduced to key theoretical issues of embodiment, intentionality, and agency and a strong emphasis will be placed on students' critical reflections on their own experience of workshop activities through the creation of a reflective journal. As an integral part of the assessment for this module students will also be given an opportunity to reflect on the efficacy of their improvised performances in response to questions by departmental examiners.


This module will provide students with a knowledge and understanding of the skills and techniques involved in improvisational performance. Improvisation is an established form of performance that has developed over the past forty years through the work of dancers, theatre makers, and arts therapists. The skills involved in improvised performance are not currently addressed in the department's portfolio of modules. Through combining practical workshops with theoretical readings and lecture/seminar discussion this module will also enhance students' ability to identify and analyse the complex interrelatedness of theory and practice.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Not developed in this module.
Communication Each student's ability to articulate and communicate their ideas is explicitly developed throughout this module. All forms of assessment include a consideration and evaluation of effective communication.
Improving own Learning and Performance Students will be required to critically reflect on their own creative development and achievement in both individual and group activities.
Information Technology Although not explicitly developed, students will be required to use IT resources in their own research and in the creation of a reflective journal.
Personal Development and Career planning Through participation in workshops and use of positive feedback methods individual students will develop an awareness of personal skills and aesthetic interests.
Problem solving The identification of problems, the development of creative approaches to solving problems, and the evaluation of potential solutions is an integral part of this module and will be assessed through individual student's reflections on solo and group improvisations.
Research skills The use of appropriate and effective research methods is implicity encouraged through this module and is assessed through the submission of appropriate written work.
Subject Specific Skills
Team work Workshops will involve group improvisation and collaboration. Each student will play an active part in group activities.

Reading List

Essential Reading
Module Reader A Module Reader with essential readings will be available for purchase from the Department Primo search
Recommended Text
(2005) Born in a Taxi and the Art of Movement Improvisation (videorecording) South Freemantle: Contemporary Arts Media Primo search Rosenberg, D. (1996) (videorecording) Speaking of Dance: Conversations with Contemporary Masters of Modern Dance: Steve Paxton ADF Video Primo search Albright, A.C. and D. Gere (eds) (2003) Taken by Surprise: A Dance Improvisation Reader Wesleyan University Press Primo search Banes, S. (1980) Terpsichore in Sneakers: Post-Modern Dance Houghton Mifflin Company Primo search Bogart, A. and T. Landau (1995) The Viewpoints Book: A Practical Guide to Viewpoints and Composition Theatre Communications Group Primo search Burt, R. (2006) Judson Dance Theater: Performative Traces Routledge Primo search Certeau, M. (1984) The Practice of Everyday Life, Stephen Rendall (trans) University of California Press Primo search Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1975) Beyond Boredom and Anxiety Jossey-Bass Publishers Primo search Fitzpatrick, T. (1995) The Relationship of Oral and Literate Performance Processes in the Comedia Dell'Arte: Beyond the Improvisation/Memorialisation Divide The Edwin Mellen Press Primo search Frost, A. and R. Yarrow (2007) Improvisation in Drama Palgrave Macmillan Primo search Hallam, E. and T. Ingold (eds) (2007) Creativity and Cultural Improvisation Berg Primo search Hay, Deborah (2000) My Body, The Buddhist Wesleyan University Press Primo search Johnstone, K. (1999) Impro for Storytellers Faber and Faber Primo search Johnstone, K. (1995) Impro: Improvisation and the Theatre Methuen Primo search Leder, D. (1990) The Absent Body University of Chicago Press Primo search Martin, J. (2004) The Intercultural Performance Handbook Routledge Primo search Moran, D. (2000) Introduction to Phenomenology Routledge Primo search Novack, C. (1990) Sharing the Dance: Contact Improvisation and American Culture University of Wisconsin Press Primo search Olsen, A. (1998) Body Stories: A Guide to Experimental Anatomy University Press of New England Primo search Pallant, C. (2006) Contact Improvisation: An Introduction to a Vitalizing Dance Form McFarland Primo search Schechner, R. (2002) Performance Studies: An Introduction Routledge Primo search Spolin, V. (1973) Improvisation for the Theatre: A Handbook of Teaching and Directing Techniques Pitman Primo search Tufnell, M. and C. Crickmay (2004) A Widening Field: JOurneys in Body and Imagination Alton: Dance Primo search Tufnell, M. and C. Crickmay (1993) Body, Space, Image: Notes Towards Improvisation and Performance Virago Primo search Wunder, A. (2006) The Wonder of Improvisation Wunder Publishers Primo search Zaporah, R. (1995) Action Theater: The Improvisation of Presence North Atlantic Books Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 5