Dance as Cultural Knowledge: World Dance Cultures is a FYS (First Year Seminar) course. It provides opportunities to work on descriptive, creative, and analytical writing about dance and cultures. This course explores why and how dance acts as a vital participant in cultural practices, history, politics, religions, and aesthetics around the world. Looking back through the perspective of present research, we will examine how dance is inherently a reflection of the culture it represents. A wide overview of dance and its myriad purposes will be covered, from dance a means of worship in India, Turkey, and Haiti; its inclusion in the rituals of Bali; noh and kabuki theatrical traditions of Japan; fertility and death ceremonies of the Wodaabe, Yoruba, and Dogon tribes of Africa; the healing zar dances of North Africa, and the rituals/activism of Native American tribes. The presentation of court dance as a symbol of power will be examined in Hawai'i, Java, and Cambodia, as well as in Catherine de Medici's Renaissance pageants and in the French Baroque spectacles of Louis XIV's Versailles and the Paris Opera. The inevitable impact of politics on dance will be examined in viewing the bloody genocide of Cambodia's Royal Dancers; the propagandist works of China's Cultural Revolution; the French Revolution's influence upon Romantic ballets such as La Sylphide and Giselle; and how the repression of a Gitano culture led to the emergence of flamenco in Spain. This course requires intellectual engagement (reading, writing, research, and class discussion), Throughout the semester, students will write short reflective responses on specific topics, and carry out research for a final paper at the end of the semester.