Professor Aloff is not an English professor, and her seminar class proves that. She's a dance critic, and I'm sure she's great in the dance department, but she should not be teaching this class. I chose the class because it seemed very interesting, and, in fact, the readings were terrific and the writing assignments were (mostly) great ideas. But Professor Aloff does not know how to write, give feedback on writing, or anything of the sort. Her grading is ridiculous (i.e., if you don't use the exact word or phrasing she wants you to use in one paragraph out of five pages, she'll give you a B- and then rewrite it for you, you'll hand in the new draft (which she wrote) and get an A+). The discussions in class are a waste of time and I don't think I learned anything at all from her class. Don't take it unless they find a new professor to teach.
Take this class! It is an easy A+ and you actually learn a lot about writing! It does require time because you have to actually leave Morningside Heights three times in the semester to see dance performances and write review "essays". She grades slightly harshly on the first one, but if you follow her comments in your revision, she will change your grade to at least an A, if not an A+. There is also a presentation on two dance films which can be prepared the night before. If you have all of the information about the film on hand to spit out, and make a few insightful comparisons, you will do very well. The final essay instilled panic in the hearts of all students, because it involed reviewing two books, What is Dance? (560 pages) and Reading Dance (1100 pages). However, you do not have to remotely read all of them. Pick a few essays from each to compare. Write well and pretend to really care about what these books offer and you will do well. Again, she gives you comments on the first draft, and if you take them, you will get an A+. Overall, this was a relaxing, yet useful course. Although she seems slightly out of it, Mindy is extremely helpful with writing and extremely knowledgable about dance. I believe that my writing improved a lot through this course, so even if you aren't interested in dance, you should take it if you have time!
Mindy Aloff is very different, and unconventional, but she is one of the nicest professors I have had so far. She understands that we have other classes apart from hers, and therefore she does understand if you need an extension on a paper. There is a lot of reading, but most of it is very personable and interesting. When she facilitates class discussions, the classes are very interesting. However, she sometimes spends the whole class talking about seemingly pointless things. She does teach you how to write in a personal way that is different from most writing you will do in college. It's a great break from the rigorous environments of other classes.
Mindy is a wonderful teacher who really cares about her students. Her deep and abiding love of literature and dance is contagious. Take a class with her if you get the opportunityâ€”you will not regret it. The other (negative) reviews of Mindyâ€™s class on this website are incomprehensible to me and unnecessarily bitchy. Donâ€™t pay them heed.
Mindy is a marvelous person. Aside from being as sweet as honey, she is brilliant woman. Yes, she is a dance critic, and yes, she references it frequently. However, most students have regarded it as her passion and appreciate her different angle of perspective. Most of the readings are interesting, but even with the more dry pieces, such as the works of Disraeli, conversations in class were engaging. The assignments are relevant and helpful. There is a lot of room for creativity and self-expression in her class. I thoroughly enjoyed it and recommend it to others.
Prof Aloff, or rather Mindy as she doesn't mind being called, was sadly not a really great seminar teacher. Many times, our classes were quite uneventful as certain students would hijack the debates and perhaps try to impose their viewpoints on us while Mindy would merely nod and let the inane arguements go on. That was rather frustrating, but surprisingly, the last few lessons we had with her were quite wonderful. She was engaged with the discussions and gave a lot of insight into the texts we were reading. Therefore, if you do have her, do try to cut her some slack and don't be too surprised when she says something really though-provoking, forcing you to suddenly pay attention. Yes, she does make many valid points. It's just such a pity that our class was unable to overlook her focus on dance and the rather unorganized class format to see that. It was even more of a pity that she did not begin the course the way she handled our last few lessons. Hopefully the next time she teaches a seminar class, she would be better. Gradingwise, there were mixed opinions(inclining towards the easy side) though she does pay a great deal of attention on the intracasies in grammar and such so be sure to proofread. Overall, Mindy is a really sweet lady so if you're willing to take the effort to really listen to what she has to say, then this class could go quite well for you.
As the other reviews said, Professor Aloff is a little out there. But she's really dedicated to the work that she's teaching. She wants you to know all about it and really understand what the literature trying to teach you (even if you don't go over it in class that much!) Not a great teacher, but a really sweet lady.
Professor Aloff's class has been one of the biggest wastes of time in my educational career. Admittedly, English is not her department (she's from Dance), though the fact that she is teaching an English course would imply that she knows something about literature. Professor Aloff is flakey and spacey, ignoring the class's initial syllabus in favor of day-to-day assignments, most of which never get discussed. As a course based around writing, we were offhandedly assigned only two essays and a final paper. This class has assisted in the degeneration of my writing ability, not to mention the millions of brain cells I must have lost by sitting through her classes.
Mindy tends to be spacey. She assigns massive blocks of reading and discusses one or two pages from them. Some of her lectures seem disjointed, and she brings in guest lecturers because she can, rather than because they are useful to the class (ie. ice skating). However, Mindy is very good at helping with writing. The one thing she really tries to help students with is getting them to write in a way that is accessible to an audience - sometimes difficult for dancers writing about dance. She also never debates the ideas you're writing about, she lets the students criticize however they want, as long as the criticism is written in a valid and effective way.
Prof Aloff is very spacey but also very knowledgeable. She is very forgiving and understanding but sometimes lets it show that she is surprised people don't know as much as she does about dance. She is very willing to discuss any issue about dance at depth and never tries to force her opinions on anyone.