Program of Study

The Program in Dance familiarizes students with creative, performative, and analytical approaches to dance through exposure to professional choreographers, dancers, critics, and scholars. While pursuing a liberal arts education, students have the opportunity to undertake demanding, studio-based courses with dance professionals. The program provides advanced courses for the pre-professional dancer in addition to offering courses open to students who have never danced. The creation of original work, both choreographic and written, is emphasized alongside rigorous technical 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, perhaps even a career, interest in dance can choose to earn a program certificate.

The curricular wing of the program offers courses in modern, contemporary, ballet, experimental, African dance techniques, repertory, and choreography, as well as in dance history, analysis, anatomy, and criticism. The program also provides interdepartmental performance collaborations as well as yearly interdisciplinary opportunities with the Atelier program. In addition, co-curricular ballet, modern, and conditioning classes 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 for dance concerts, or by offering special workshops, seminars, and master classes.

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

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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: DAN307, DAN408, DAN431 or DAN432; (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) 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.

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

Advanced Creative Work

The program offers all students the opportunity to do advanced creative work under the supervision of its faculty. These projects may be pursued as extracurricular activities or as independent work related to their certificate completion. 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 Berlind Theatre, site-specific productions in the Chancellor Green rotunda, 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, mathematics, neuroscience, and music.