Minor in Dance

Goals for Student Learning
Admission to the Dance Program
Apply for the Dance Minor
Program of Study
Info for Class of 2024


The Program in Dance 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 through student independent work.

We focus on movement, the body, dance, and choreography as primary sites for exploration and as ways of knowing and experiencing. Dance program 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 deep 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 departmental work for Junior and Senior work. For example, many African American Studies, Anthropology, Comparative Literature, Studio Art, and Art and Archaeology 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, crystalize a sense of self, and enhance self-confidence.


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 into 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 they participate 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 non-performing capacity.

Admission to the Program

Students should enroll in the minor program during the second term of the sophomore year, but no later than the start of the first term of the 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, if they have completed their student show support requirements, and a plan of 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.

Apply for the dance minor

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:

  • 5 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.
  • Support one dance program production in a non-performing 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 non-performing 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.
  • 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. 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.

Independent Choreographic or Performance Projects

To qualify for an Independent Choreographic or Performance Project, students must meet the following requirements:

  • 4 of your 5 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 5th 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 pursuing an Independent Performance Project must also participate in 20 co-curricular classes over four years or an additional studio course, including introductory courses.
  • Students pursuing an Independent Choreographic Project must also take DAN 317 Choreography Studio (which can count as one of the four required studio courses). To be eligible for DAN 317, students must have taken at least 2 choreography courses, such as DAN 319A, DAN 320A, DAN 419A, or other choreography courses with approval of the Director.

With permission of the student’s department of concentration, such projects may also be part of a student’s departmental major thesis work. 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 students have looked at dance from the viewpoints of computer science, activism, mathematics, neuroscience, and music.


Information for the Class of 2024

For those students in the Class of 2024 who are completing a certificate in dance, please refer to the information below.

Dance Certificate Requirements

The Certificate in Dance requires:

  • 5 courses
  • co-curricular opportunities
  • technical hours
  • Design your own path and choose a focus – Choreography, Performance, Dance Studies, Other

Performance and Choreography focus:

  • 4 studio courses: two must be fall performance courses: DAN 319/320/419/420, and one must be a spring studio course, for example: DAN 401, DAN 402, DAN 408, DAN 431 or DAN 432
  • 1 seminar course in dance studies, for example: DAN 321, DAN 215, or another course by approval of Director
  • Performance and choreographic concentrations require two additional performances with a guest choreographer, in a dance-based Atelier, or in a senior thesis production
  • 20 co-curricular classes over four years or an additional studio course, including introductory courses
  • DAN 317 Choreography Studio for those intending to complete a Senior Choreographic Thesis
  • DAN 420A Senior Piece for those intending to complete a Performance Thesis

Dance Studies focus:

  • 4 seminars in performance studies and dance studies
  • 1 studio course, for example: DAN 207, DAN 211, DAN 221

Independent focus:

  • 5 DAN courses selected in consultation with faculty. One must be a studio course, and one must be a seminar course in dance studies, for example: DAN 215, DAN 321, or another course by approval of Director

For all:

  • 20 hours of technical work assisting the dance program’s productions