Dance History II

Sep 2005

It doesn't need to be stated again, since it's been said in almost every review so far, but hey, just for the heck of it: Lynn Garafola knows a ton about dance. There are few people who match her level of dance scholarship. This trait alone guarantees that you will learn alot, because she can throw so much information at you that you can't help but absorb some of it. Granted, she assigns more reading than it is actually feasable to do, but it's all worthwhile and she doesn't really check to see if you've done it. She is great at communicating ideas that she wants you to learn, but her teacher-to-student relationship is less than great for most people (though I found her to be very good). In class, she can sometimes be a little rough. It's true, she doesn't pad anyone's ego--but what that really means is she doesn't let you say things that are stupid and get away with it. If the comment is simply not very good, she doesn't pretend it is. She could work and not making people feel stupid just because they make a stupid comment, but on the other hand, if more people took the stuff seriously, they wouldn't make stupid comments so often. And if you honestly make the attempt to talk to her outside of class, go to her office hours, she will try and help you understand what you need to do to do better in the class. But no matter what you do, she will always grade hard. It is honest grading, you can't argue that what she says is bad is not bad, but she is definitely on the tougher side. A lot of people who take the class, Dance History, think that because it's a dance course, it will be easy, when in fact it's as challenging as any other history course. So don't think of this as an easy-GPA-booster-relaxation class. If you keep that in mind, you should do fine. Overall, the course was great, and the instructor is very good (though clearly has her down points).

Aug 2005

Let's start with the obvious. Lynn Garafola knows a plethora of factual information i.e. dates, terminology, timelines, etc. She is very well read and passionate about the subject matter. With credit given where its rightly due, I must move on to the important details that can make or break a professor's overall effectiveness. I believe that Lynn is a positively awful professor for the following reasons: 1. She allows you to speak openly in class, but if your opinion is not perfectly in sync with her own, she makes you feel inferior. How is telling the professor what she wants to hear going to benefit the class from an intellectual standpoint? 2. She is always quick to criticize your faults, but slow to recognize your potential. At the collegiate level we do not require babying, but human beings require at least some positive reinforcement to move forward in their work. 3. She does not grade objectively. It doesn't matter how well you support your argument; if she doesn't like your central idea or your writing style, she'll penalize you. Severely. 4. She creates an imaginary line between herself and the students. This line cannot be crossed or even approached. Her teaching style is elitist, pedantic, and purposely intimidating. Other students are entitled to their opinions, however, I stand behind these observations 100%. And just for the record, I am a dancer.

Oct 2004

I, too, am not a dancer. I took this class simply to satisfy a requirement, hoping that it would be an interesting survey course, like Art History. It is true that Professor Garafola is very well-versed and highly knowledgable about her field. She certainly seems nice enough in class, but she takes herself way too seriously, as if she is the end-all and be-all and if you really don't think that Dance History is the MOST important thing in the world, boy do you have your priorities screwed up! During her office hours, she was also highly unprofessional by taking out her own issues on a student. She suddenly went off on a total tangent about the legitimacy of her profession and dance history in general. She is a ridiculously hard grader, nit-picking at EVERYTHING as if to really try to convince you that yes, it really is THAT important. She assigns a lot of reading, accompanied by mandatory viewings of specific performances which you can get in the media center. If you are a commuter, this is the absolute worst, since you can't take any of the performances home with you or find them anywhere else besides for Barnard media center. Hence, you are stuck on campus for hours watching these performances. As for talking to her about it, she is not sympathetic at all: she doesn't care. Same goes for group projects. If you're a dancer and happen to be one of her favorites, you'll probably love this class. Otherwise, it's sooo not worth it.

Sep 2003

I learned a ton in this course. Lynn has an impressive command of the material. She does tend to read her notes as she lectures, which is a major drawback, but all in all the material was interesting and well presented. I do not think any dance major should graduate without knowing this material. I also became a better writer in this class. My papers were covered in comments (mostly negative), but not stylistic discrepencies. She is an editor and she knows her stuff. Also, lectures are supplemented nicely with videos.

Aug 2003

I thought she was a very organized and extremely knowledgeable, and can answer any question you can think of. She is very approachable. She expects a lot, but is willing to work with you if you are having problems. Overall, I think she's one of the best professors I've had here.