Please note! Course description is confirmed for two academic years, which means that in general, e.g. Learning outcomes, assessment methods and key content stays unchanged. However, via course syllabus, it is possible to specify or change the course execution in each realization of the course, such as how the contact sessions are organized, assessment methods weighted or materials used.


Upon completion of the course, students are able to:
- Express a deeper understanding of the specificity of dance as a field for costume design.
- Identify current strategies in devising and designing dance productions in the 21st century Euro-American context.
- Analyse dance productions from the perspective of costume.

Credits: 3

Schedule: 20.09.2022 - 14.10.2022

Teacher in charge (valid for whole curriculum period):

Teacher in charge (applies in this implementation): Sofia Pantouvaki, Tua Helve

Contact information for the course (applies in this implementation):

Guest lecturer: Tua Helve, doctoral candidate, Aalto University.
Email: tua.helve[a]

CEFR level (valid for whole curriculum period):

Language of instruction and studies (applies in this implementation):

Teaching language: English. Languages of study attainment: English


  • valid for whole curriculum period:

    The course examines costume design in the 21st century Euro-American contemporary dance productions with a special focus on Finland. Within this frame, the course equips the students to understand dance as a specific context for design. It discusses influential designers, choreographers, and collaborations. Through various sources, it helps the students to analyse design choices, aesthetic approaches, and modes of making (both costume and dance). Furthermore, the course encourages the students to adopt a dynamic and communicative role in their future design projects within the field of dance.

  • applies in this implementation


    Choose one pre-assignment from the following options.

    Please inform your pre-assignment choice by email to the course tutor Tua Helve (email: by Wed 14 September. In this same email, briefly answer the question: “why did I choose this course?”

    Upon the choice of assignment, prepare your contribution for presenting in the first session (task 1 key points/mind map, task 2 collage with key words. If possible, prepare this for optimal sharing on the screen).

    1)     Select and read two of the texts by Uusitalo (2006), McLaine and McCabe (2013), Helve (2018) and Bugg (2020). Analyse and collect main points: Based on these materials, which aspects appear key to costume design within contemporary dance? Please note the role of each author (designer, theorist, etc) and their possible impact on the testimony.

    2)     Select and read two of the texts by Uusitalo (2006), Helve (2018) and Bugg (2020). Do background research/collect data: the texts mention people/groups/companies related to the 20th and 21st century dance, Finnish and international. Choose three of these people/groups/companies and find out who they are. With bullet points, describe their contribution and approach to costume and dance. Any personal reflections? Introduce in visual collages these three plus one additional name of your choice (four collages in total).

    Pre-assignment texts:

    ·        Uusitalo, Marja. 2006. “A dancer’s costume – visionary and concrete.” In Theatre People – People’s Theatre: Finnish Theatre and Dance 2006, edited by Kaisa Korhonen and Katri Tanskanen, 96–102. Helsinki: Like.

    ·        McLaine, Gretchen and McCabe, Janine. 2013. “Communication by Design: A Collaborative Project for Student Choreographers and Costume Designers.” Journal of Dance Education 13(4): 139–42.

    ·        Helve, Tua. 2018. “Political by Design: Costume Design Strategies within the Finnish Contemporary Dance Productions AmazinGRace, Noir? and The Earth Song.” Nordic Journal of Dance 9(1): 14–31.

    ·        Bugg, Jessica. 2020. “Dressing Dance – Dancing Dress: Lived Experience of Dress and its Agency in the Collaborative Process.” In The Routledge Companion to Dance Studies, edited by Helen Thomas and Stacey Prickett, 353–64. Abingdon: Routledge.


Assessment Methods and Criteria
  • valid for whole curriculum period:

    Assessment is based on attendance (min.80%), participation in discussions, group work and completion of assignments.

  • applies in this implementation

    Assessment Methods and Criteria

    Students’ work on this course will be evaluated with the following criteria:

    Attendance: minimum of 80% attendance is required on online and on-site teaching sessions. Students are expected to attend, participate actively in the group discussions, read/watch and reflect, and contribute to the small-group assignments.

  • valid for whole curriculum period:

    Lectures, joint discussions, work in small groups, and assignments. Contact teaching 32 hours, independent learning and/or group work 49 hours.

  • applies in this implementation

    Workload: 3 cr (81h study hours). Pre-assignment (15h); Contact sessions (32h study load, lectures and discussions); Independent work and small-group assignments (33h)

    15h pre-assignment

    29h contact sessions (online/on site)

    33h independent/group work

    4h performances


Study Material
  • applies in this implementation

    Other bibliography

    Additional bibliography (for further reading or to be shared during the course)

    ·        Colin, Noyale, and Stefanie Sachsenmaier. 2016. Collaboration in Performance Practice. Premises, Workings and Failures. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Select chapters.

    ·        Connolly, Mary Kate. 2017. “Hand in glove: Reflections on a performed costume exhibition and the stories behind the garments.” Studies in Costume & Performance, 2(1): 9–25.

    ·        Dean, Sally E. 2016. “Where is the body in the costume design process?” Studies

    in Costume & Performance 1 (1): 97–111. doi: 10.1386/scp.1.1.97_1

    ·        Hammond, Abigail. 2019. “Evolving methodology: Designing costumes for Jasmin Vardimon’s immersive work Maze.” Studies in Costume & Performance 4(2): 243– 63.

    ·        Helve, Tua. 2021. “Time, being, discourse: Elements of professional friendship in the collaboration between a costume designer and a choreographer.” Choreographic Practices 12(1): 67–89. doi: 10.1386/chor_00029_1.

    ·        Helve, Tua. 2022. “The costume designer as co-author of contemporary dance performance: Erika Turunen’s signature style.” Studies in Costume & Performance 7(1): 27–53.

    ·        Helve, Tua, and Sofia Pantouvaki. 2016. “Sharing ’Untamed Ideas’: Process-based costume design in Finnish contemporary dance through the work of Marja Uusitalo.” Scene 4(2):149–172.

    ·        Leigh Foster, Susan. 2011. “Making and collaborating.” In Choreographing Empathy. Kinesthesia in Performance, 60–72. Abingdon: Routledge.

    ·        Lepecki, André (ed). 2014. Of the Presence of the Body. Essays on Dance and Performance Theory. Middletown: Wesleyan University Press. Select chapters.

    ·        Lepecki, André. 2016. “Moving as some thing (or, some things want to run).” Chapter I in Singularities. Dance in the Age of Performance, 26–54. Abingdon: Routledge.

    ·        Markstein, Helena Gee. 2016. “De-signing visual stimuli: A dance maker’s toolkit.” In Embodied Performance: Design, Process, and Narrative, edited by Sadia Zabour-Shaw, 143–76. Oxford: Inter-Disciplinary Press.

    ·        Monks, Aoife. 2015. ‘An interview with Lez Brotherston.’ In Costume. Readings in Theatre Practice, edited by Ali Maclaurin and Aoife Monks, 99–103. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

    ·        Shura Pollatsek, E. 2019. “Elevating the dance.” Theatre Design & Technology. Summer 2019, 55(3): 8–17.

    ·        Trimingham, Melissa 2017. “Agency and Empathy: Artists touch the Body.” Chapter 5 in Costume in Performance. Materiality, Culture and the Body, edited by Donatella Barbieri, 137–65. London: Bloomsbury.

Substitutes for Courses
SDG: Sustainable Development Goals

    4 Quality Education

    5 Gender Equality

    9 Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

    10 Reduced Inequality


Further Information
  • valid for whole curriculum period:

    Minimum number of participants 3. Maximum 12.

    Teaching Language : English

    Teaching Period : 2022-2023 Autumn I
    2023-2024 No teaching

    Enrollment :

    Registration for courses: Sisu. Priority order to courses is according to the order of priority decided by the Academic committee for School of Arts, Design and Architecture,

Details on the schedule
  • applies in this implementation

    Schedule (performance schedule to be confirmed)

    Week 38 (20.–23.9.2020) Tues-Fri 9:00-17:00 / online

                   Mon 19.9. 13.15–16 recommended: costume lecture by Karoliina Koiso-Kanttila (online)

    Weeks 40–41 (4.–13.10. 2022) Tues -Fri 13:00–17:00 / at the campus, Room tbc

    The course will take place online via Teams/Zoom during the week 38 and on campus during the weeks 40–41. It runs daily from Tues to Fri: contact sessions approx. 3 hours/day. Between the contact sessions, independent tasks. As the independent tasks are nearly half of the entire learning, please reserve full days for this course.

    • Monday 19.9. at 13–16 Costume Lecture, related to the topic of this course


    • Tue 20.9.             Contact sessions 3h        9.30–11 & 13–14.30      

    ·        Wed 21.9.           Contact sessions 3h        9.30–11 & 13–14.30                     

    ·        Thu 22.9.             Contact sessions 3h        9.30–11& 13–14.30       

    ·        Fri 23.9.               Contact sessions 3h        9.30–11& 13–14.30       


    Performance 1: 4 or 5 October (not booked yet)

    Triple Bill (Peck, Bo & Khan): ‘’World Wide Dance at Finnish National Ballet and Opera


    Performance 2: Tue 11 or Wed 12 October (not booked yet)

    Henriksson & Mustonen: Eros at Tanssin talo


    ·        Tue 4.10.             Contact sessions 3h        13.15–16.30 incl. one break

    Performance 1                  19.00

    ·        Wed 5.10.           Contact sessions 3h        13.15–16.30 incl. one break

    ·        Thu 6.10.             Contact sessions 3h        13.15–16.30 incl. one break

    ·        Fri 7.10                Contact sessions 3h        13.15–16.30 incl. one break        

    ·        Tue 11.10.           Contact sessions 3h        13.15–16.30 incl. one break

    Performance 2                  19.00

    ·        Wed 12.10.         Contact sessions 3h        13.15–16.30 incl. one break

    ·        Thu 13.10.          Contact sessions 3h        13.15–16.30 incl. one break

    ·        Fri 14.10.             Contact sessions 2h        13.30–15.30