Dance

Program Offerings

Offering type
Minor

The Program in Dance (link is external), part of the Lewis Center for the Arts (link is external), welcomes all students to engage and experiment with dance. At the core of the program is the belief that dance fosters an integration of mind and body that allows for a greater connection to ourselves and our communities. To that end, the dance minor offers students deep exposure to and appreciation of dance through practice, performance and critical conversation.


The dance minor is open to students of all backgrounds and areas of training and seeks to provide a depth, diversity and flexibility of offerings to nurture beginners and challenge pre-professionals in their areas of interest. The curriculum emphasizes expansive, rigorous training and the creation of original works of choreography, performance and academic analysis. Students have the opportunity to undertake demanding courses with professional choreographers, dancers, interdisciplinary artists and scholars. The program supports multiple performance opportunities each year in the Roger S. Berlind Theatre and the Hearst Dance Theater, with choreography by faculty, guests and student independent work.

We focus on movement, the body, dance and choreography as primary sites for exploration and as ways of knowing and experiencing. Courses include: comparative approaches to training in modern and contemporary dance, hip-hop, ballet, diasporic African dance and improvisational forms; repertory workshops that expose students to significant works from the choreographic canon and emerging choreographers; interdisciplinary and collaborative courses centered on embodiment, pedagogy and choreographic research; and a range of seminars exploring diverse topics in dance studies. The Program in Dance provides additional co-curricular opportunities that include drop-in classes in hip-hop and ballet, and guest choreographer workshops in multiple genres that culminate in Princeton Dance Festival performances. The Caroline Hearst Choreographer-in-Residence program provides resources for professional choreographers to develop their work on campus and performance opportunities to expose students to diverse creative practices. Princeton Arts Fellows and visiting artists enhance program offerings through performances, choreographing original work, or teaching courses, workshops and seminars.

The Program in Dance encourages in-depth collaboration with its staff, including a music director and a stellar group of accompanists, who support and create with students. Most classes integrate live music, and student projects frequently feature original, live music, often coordinated with the music department. Students also benefit from engagement with professional costume and lighting designers and the support of staff in the areas of costume, scenery, lighting and stage management.

The dance minor offers students vast exposure to and appreciation of dance through practice, performance and critical conversation. Many DAN courses are cross-listed with other departments and programs, including: gender and sexuality, African American studies, anthropology, visual arts, theater, music, American studies and urban studies. These courses allow students to include research in dance into their junior and senior departmental work. For example, many African American studies, anthropology, comparative literature, studio art, and art and archeology majors have woven dance scholarship and choreographic research into the focus of their departmental thesis work.


Dance also provides access to students from diverse fields of study, as our courses fulfill several distribution requirements including: Literature and the Arts (LA), Epistemology and Cognition (EC), Ethical Thought and Moral Values (EM), Social Analysis (SA), Historical Analysis (HA) and Culture and Difference (CD). The field of dance interacts with a wide range of disciplines, and the dance minor supports all other fields of study by providing students with increased expertise in creative processes and production; strengthened capacities for reflection, taking risks and asking questions; improved artistry in analysis and research; as well as a greater understanding of methods of collaboration and community-building.

Goals for Student Learning

●  Through learning to sense, reflect and activate new ways of moving, students will increase self-awareness and develop a greater connection to themselves and to their communities.

● Through physical practice and theorizing, creative experimentation and improvisation, students will discover how new movement patterns engage new thought patterns and vice versa.

● Students will learn to see and analyze the choreography of people in motion for its meaning and content in dance, culture, society and daily life.

● Through the study of dance and movement, students will gain physical ways of knowing that enhance bodily cognition to act with greater commitment, expression and creativity.

● Students will gain knowledge of dance in its historical, cultural, social and political contexts to develop critical thinking, analytical skills and research practices.

● Through learning models of inclusive collaboration, students will integrate diverse perceptions and experiences to work toward common goals in performance and creative projects.

● Students will learn choreographic methodologies and tools to support risk-taking and problem-solving, to develop an artistic practice that gives form to their curiosity and synthesizes their experience.

● Through performance, students have the opportunity to hone their unique voices, share the culmination of knowledge gained, crystallize a sense of self and enhance self-confidence.

Prerequisites

There are pathways for all students regardless of previous exposure to and experience in dance. Students interested in pursuing a minor in dance should enroll in a minimum of two DAN courses in their first and second years.

Students taking their first dance class or expanding their experience in new directions are encouraged to participate in two 200-level courses, such as DAN 213 Introduction to Contemporary Dance; DAN 222 Introduction to Hip-Hop Dance; DAN 225 Introduction to Breaking: Deciphering Its Power; DAN 211 The American Experience and Dance Practices of the African Diaspora; DAN 221 Stillness; or DAN 208 Body and Language.

For those entering Princeton with previous dance experience performing and choreographing, we recommend  participation in 300- or 400-level courses, such as Dance Performance Workshop courses (319, 320 or 419) in the fall and a spring studio course, such as DAN 432 Ballet as an Evolving Form, DAN 408 Approaches to Contemporary Dance (or DAN 401, 402, 431), as these provide prospective minors with rigorous, in-depth study of specific forms and methods.

A student could focus their minor on dance studies, in which case the prospective minor should take two seminars in dance or performance studies such as DAN 321 Moving Modernisms; DAN 215 Dance Across Cultures; DAN 203 Black Performance Theory; or DAN 354 Performance as Art.

First- and second-year students are also encouraged to get involved in performing through the Guest Choreographer Program for Princeton Dance Festival, dancing with senior independent choreographic projects, taking co-curricular classes and supporting productions in a nonperforming capacity.

Admission to the Program

Students should enroll in the minor program during the second term of sophomore year, but no later than the start of the first term of junior year. We recommend that students complete at least two of the required courses before enrollment in the minor program.

To enroll in the dance minor, students submit an online application that details the courses they have taken, the performances they have participated in, whether they have completed their student show support requirements, and a plan for when and how they will fulfill the remaining requirements. Students hoping to pursue independent work in performance or choreography must also apply separately in the spring of their junior year and meet the specific requirements for respective independent work.

Program of Study

A minor from the Program in Dance will be awarded to students who successfully complete a substantial amount of work in the artistic, creative and academic areas of the discipline:

1. Complete five DAN courses, including:

  •   at least one studio course
  •   at least one seminar course in dance studies, for example: DAN 215, 321 or another research-based scholarly course with approval of the director of dance.

The range of required courses allows for students to focus their studies on performance, choreography, dance scholarship, or to create an interdisciplinary focus. Independent work is not required to receive a minor in dance. Students interested in pursuing independent research in their senior year must meet specific course requirements, and the substitution of requirements, if necessary, will be made with the approval of the director of dance.

2. Support one dance program production in a nonperforming capacity
All students planning to earn the minor in dance must complete the show support requirement (formerly referred to as “tech hours”) by supporting one dance program show in a nonperforming capacity. Students who will propose an independent choreographic or performance project during their senior year must have completed the show support requirement by the end of their junior year. Through supporting dance program shows, students will get to know the dance program’s students and staff, our venues and our practices, and will be better prepared for independent projects.

3. Optional independent work in choreography or performance
The Program in Dance offers minors the opportunity to apply to conduct Independent Work in Performance or Choreography under the supervision of its faculty. Performance projects involve commissions from emerging choreographers, or the staging of existing repertory. With permission of the student’s major department, such projects may also be part of a student’s departmental thesis work. For example, an anthropology major chose as her thesis subject Sri Lankan dance; a comparative literature thesis explored links between poetry and dance theories; and other students have looked at dance from the viewpoints of computer science, activism, mathematics, neuroscience, and music.

Choreographic projects involve the creation of process-based dance works that encompass a broad definition of dance and choreography. All performances take place in the spring semester of senior year in the flexible environment of the Hearst Dance Theater.

To qualify for an independent choreographic or performance project, students must meet the following requirements:

  • Four of the student's five courses must be studio courses: two must be fall performance courses: DAN 319, 320, 419 or 420, and one must be a spring studio course, for example: DAN 401, 402, 408, 431 or 432 (the fifth course would then have to satisfy the above-listed seminar course).
  • Two additional performances with a guest choreographer, in a dance-based Atelier, or in a senior independent project.
  • Students must participate in 20 co-curricular classes over four years or an additional studio course, including introductory courses.
  • Students must take DAN 317 Choreography. To be eligible for DAN 317, students must have taken at least two choreography courses, such as DAN 319A, DAN 320A, DAN 419A, or other choreography courses with approval of the director.
  • Studio (which can count as one of the four required studio courses).

 

Faculty

  • Director

    • Susan S. Marshall
  • Associate Director

    • Rebecca J. Lazier
  • Executive Committee

    • Elena Araoz, Theater, LCA
    • Michael W. Cadden, Lewis Center for the Arts
    • Tina M. Campt, Art and Archaeology
    • Jane F. Cox, Lewis Center for the Arts
    • Tina Fehlandt, Dance, LCA
    • Martha Friedman, Lewis Center for the Arts
    • Aleksandar Hemon, Lewis Center for the Arts
    • Brian E. Herrera, Lewis Center for the Arts
    • A.M. Homes, Lewis Center for the Arts
    • Rebecca J. Lazier, Lewis Center for the Arts
    • Yiyun Li, Lewis Center for the Arts
    • Pamela E. Lins, Visual Arts, LCA
    • Susan S. Marshall, Lewis Center for the Arts
    • Moon Molson, Lewis Center for the Arts
    • Paul B. Muldoon, Lewis Center for the Arts
    • David W. Reinfurt, Lewis Center for the Arts
    • Joe Scanlan, Lewis Center for the Arts
    • Patricia Smith, Lewis Center for the Arts
    • Susan Wheeler, Lewis Center for the Arts
    • Jeffrey Whetstone, Lewis Center for the Arts
    • Rhaisa Williams, Lewis Center for the Arts
    • Stacy E. Wolf, Lewis Center for the Arts
  • Associated Faculty

    • Christopher Núñez, Lewis Center for the Arts
    • Olivier P. Tarpaga, Music
  • Sits with Committee

    • Aynsley L. Vandenbroucke
  • Professor

    • Judith Hamera
    • Susan S. Marshall
  • Professor of the Practice

    • Rebecca J. Lazier
  • Senior Lecturer

    • Tina Fehlandt
  • Lecturer

    • Dyane Harvey Salaam
    • Rebecca Stenn
    • Aynsley L. Vandenbroucke
    • Sasha Welsh
  • Visiting Professor

    • Donna Uchizono
  • Visiting Associate Professor

    • Catherine Cabeen
  • Visiting Lecturer

    • Brian Brooks
    • Davalois V. Fearon
    • Shamel Pitts

For a full list of faculty members and fellows please visit the department or program website.

Courses

DAN 209 - Introduction to Movement and Dance (also MTD 209/THR 209) LA

Movement permeates every aspect of life, whether within our bodies, minds, or the world around us. In this studio course open to everyone, we use tools from Laban Movement Analysis to develop ways to dance, improvise, make performance, and fully inhabit our lives. We dive into the roles of dancer, choreographer, audience member, and critic in relation to aesthetic questions, politics, identity, religion, and complex views of the human body. Students can apply our work together to dance in any style as well as to daily experiences like moving into an interview confidently and finding embodied practices for transforming stress. A. Vandenbroucke

DAN 211 - The American Experience and Dance Practices of the African Diaspora (also AAS 211) Fall/Spring LA

A studio course introducing students to African dance practices and aesthetics, with a focus on how its evolution has influenced American and African American culture, choreographers and dancers. An ongoing study of movement practices from traditional African dances and those of the African Diaspora, touching on American jazz dance, modern dance, and American ballet. Studio work will be complemented by readings, video viewings, guest speakers, and dance studies D. Harvey Salaam

DAN 304 - Special Topics in Contemporary Practice (also MUS 301/THR 321/VIS 320) LA

Offers students the opportunity to gain a working knowledge of the ways in which dance, dance/theater, and body-based art are created and performed today. Primarily a studio course that stresses learning through doing. Students will have the opportunity to work with leading experimental creators. Topics, prerequisites, and formats will vary from year to year. Staff

DAN 319A - Choreography Workshop I Fall LA

Choreography Workshop I exposes students to diverse methods of dance-making by tracing the evolution of choreographic thought. Varying approaches to improvisation will be taught to warm-up, discover movement material, and challenge movement habits. Classes will workshop compositional tasks that set limitations to spark creativity. Students will present their choreography weekly and learn to discuss, critique, and evaluate work shown in class. Selected readings and performances (both on video and live) will expose students to varying choreographic philosophies, processes, and aesthetics. D. Fearon

DAN 320A - Choreography Workshop II Fall LA

Dance choreography, with a focus on contemporary practices and performance. Classes will workshop compositional tasks that set limitations to spark creativity. Students will work in movement-based laboratories to develop their fluency with a wide range of contemporary choreographic approaches. Students will present their choreography weekly and learn to discuss, critique and evaluate work shown in class, Readings and viewings contextualize the work culturally and historically S. Marshall

DAN 321 - Special Topics in Dance History, Criticism, and Aesthetics (also AMS 328) Not offered this year LA

This course focuses on the history, criticism, and aesthetics of dance as a theatrical art form and/or a social practice. Topics might include an examination of dance through personal, aesthetic, religious, social, and/or political lenses. Classes will be augmented by film, videos, music, guest speakers, occasional demonstrations, and studio work. One three-hour seminar. Staff

DAN 322 - Special Topics In Urban Dance Not offered this year LA

This advanced studio/seminar topics course explores the artistic, social, and cultural implications of hip-hop dance through an intensive focus on the concept of style. Using master classes, academic study, and embodied practice in the studio to develop a physical understanding and detailed social analysis of four specific hip-hop dance genres, we will explore the distinctive cultural influences that shaped each of these diverse forms, as well the deeper movement principles that they share. These principles will then be placed in the larger historical, political and performative context of the Afro-Diasporic experience in the Americas. Staff

DAN 324 - Princeton Dance Festival Expanded (also THR 327) Not offered this year LA

This course will be a unique venture into dance culminating in a performance for the Princeton Dance Festival. This studio course explores dance-theatre practice to address the desires, needs, and realities of the body and its greater community, centering the politics of self and group care. We will improvise in movement, somatics, vocal sound, song, spoken and written words, creating for and with each other, with the outcome being a greatly expanded skill set for the performing artist. Studio movement practice, creation and discussion will be supplemented by selected readings and out-of-studio creation as a practice of joy and resilience. Staff

DAN 419A - Choreography Workshop III Fall LA

Choreography Workshop III extends students' approaches to choreographic research by asking them to create complete works on dancers other than themselves. Students will consider how to transfer their vision to an ensemble and learn to give directives to groups that further their process. By focusing on developing an initial idea into a complete work, students will question their understanding of development and challenge themselves in new directions. Readings and viewings inform studio practice and invite students to wrestle with issues debated by today's dance artists. R. Stenn