Program in Dance

Academic Unit

Program Information

The Program in Dance (link is external), part of the Lewis Center for the Arts (link is external), familiarizes students with creative, performative, and analytical approaches to dance through exposure to professional choreographers, dancers, scholars, and interdisciplinary artists. At the core of the Program in Dance is the belief that physical and intellectual engagement with dance fosters an integration of mind and body that allows for a greater connection to our own selves and, by extension, to our community. To that end, we aim to increase and expand the University’s exposure to and appreciation of dance through practice, performance, and critical academic discourse.

The program’s depth and flexibility allow for the nurturing and development of beginners as well as challenge dancers at the pre-professional level. While pursuing a liberal arts education, students have the opportunity to undertake demanding, studio-based courses with faculty and visiting artists. The creation of original work, both choreographic and written, is emphasized alongside expansive, rigorous training. The program supports multiple performance opportunities each year, ranging from full professional productions in the Berlind Theatre with choreography by faculty, guests, and students to site-specific interdisciplinary thesis projects and independent experimental work. Students with a special interest – possibly even a career interest – in dance can choose to earn a program certificate.

The curricular wing of the program offers courses in modern, contemporary, hip-hop, ballet and West African dance practices, as well as repertory, choreography, dance studies, anatomy, and criticism. In addition, co-curricular classes in a variety of techniques are offered on a daily basis. Yearly short - and long-term visiting artists enhance curricular offerings by choreographing original work and staging the work of seminal choreographers, or by offering special workshops, seminars, and master classes.

Launched in 2017, the Hearst Choreographer-in-Residence Program fosters connections with the dance field. It provides selected professional choreographers with resources and a rich environment to develop their work and offers opportunities for students, faculty and staff to engage with diverse creative practices.

Admission to the Program

Program courses are open to all undergraduates, and past experience in dance is not a requirement for admission to introductory courses. The program also offers advanced classes, as well as co-curricular opportunities, such that the serious student will, upon graduation, be prepared for advanced study in the field.

Program of Study

A certificate from the Program in Dance will be awarded to students who successfully complete a substantial amount of work in the practical and academic areas of the discipline. Students should enroll in the certificate program during the second term of the sophomore year, but no later than the start of the second term of the junior year. At least two of the required courses should be completed before enrollment in the certificate program.

To obtain a certificate in dance, students must complete: (1) four studio courses above the introductory level, two of which must be performance courses: DAN 319/320/419/420, and one must be a spring studio course: DAN 307, DAN 322, DAN 401, DAN 408, DAN 431 or DAN 432; (2) one seminar course in dance studies; (3) two additional performances during the junior and/or senior year with a guest choreographer, in a dance-based Atelier, or in a senior thesis production; (4) two semesters of twice-weekly co-curricular classes; (5) DAN 317 Junior Seminar for those intending to complete a Senior Choreographic Thesis; and (6) 20 hours of technical work in assisting the dance program's productions.

Students may choose to concentrate their studies on performance, choreography, dance scholarship, or an interdisciplinary focus. Substitution of requirements, if necessary, will be based on faculty recommendation and in consultation with the program director.

Advanced Creative Work. The program offers all students the opportunity to do advanced creative work under the supervision of its faculty. To qualify for a creative thesis, students must complete the equivalent of two choreography courses and participation in PLab. With permission of the student's department of concentration, such a project may also satisfy one of the requirements for independent work in the department, in which case it must consist of or be accompanied by written work, such as a scholarly or critical evaluation. Past independent projects have included performances in the Hearst Theatre, site-specific productions, and video installations. Often, senior certificate dancers choose dance to be the topic of their departmental theses. For example, an anthropology concentrator chose as her thesis subject Sri Lankan dance; a comparative literature thesis explored links between poetry and dance theories; and other certificate students have looked at dance from the viewpoints of computer science, activism, mathematics, neuroscience, and music.

Certificate of Proficiency

Students who fulfill the requirements of the program receive a certificate of proficiency in dance upon graduation.