Program of Study

The Program in Dance 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, diversity, and flexibility nurture beginners and challenge pre-professionals. 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 and guests, 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 interdisciplinary and collaborative approaches to the study of dance. The program offers courses in modern, contemporary, hip-hop, ballet, and diasporic African dance practices, as well as repertory, choreography, dance studies, anatomy, pedagogy, improvisation, and experimental dance practices. 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, staging the work of seminal choreographers, or by teaching workshops, seminars, and master classes.

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


I might want to pursue a Dance certificate at the Lewis Center for the Arts. What should I do in my first four semesters?

  • Plan to take at least two dance courses.
  • Get involved in performing, designing, or collaborating with senior thesis projects and the Princeton Dance Festival
  • Take co-curricular classes, go to performances
  • DAN Certificate Requirements: 5 courses, plus co-curricular opportunities and technical hours. Students can focus on Choreography, Performance, Dance Studies, or Introduction to Dance.


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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.

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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 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 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

(6) 20 hours of technical work in assisting the dance program’s productions

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 choreographic thesis, students must complete the equivalent of two choreography courses and participation in Performance Lab. With permission of the student’s department of concentration, such a project may also satisfy one of the requirements for independent work, 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.