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, we work to increase and expand the University’s exposure to and appreciation of dance through practice, performance, and critical conversation.
The program provides a depth, diversity, and flexibility of offerings that nurture beginners and challenge pre-professionals. While pursuing a liberal arts education, students have the opportunity to undertake demanding courses with professional choreographers, dancers, interdisciplinary artists, and scholars. The curriculum emphasizes expansive, rigorous training and the creation of original works of choreography, performance, and academic analysis. We support multiple performance opportunities each year, ranging from productions in the Roger S. Berlind Theatre and the Hearst Dance Theater, with choreography by faculty and guests, to site-specific interdisciplinary thesis projects and independent experimental work. Students with a special interest or career aspirations in dance can choose to earn a program certificate.
The curriculum is open to students of all backgrounds and areas of training. We focus on movement, the body, dance, and choreography as primary sites for exploration and as ways of knowing and experiencing. Our 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 in diverse topics in dance studies. Many courses are cross-listed with units including Gender and Sexuality, African American Studies, Anthropology, Visual Arts, Theater, Music, American Studies, Urban Studies, among other departments.
Dance courses fulfill several distribution requirements. Most dance courses fulfill the Literature and the Arts (LA) requirement, and several courses may also fulfill the requirements of Epistemology and Cognition (EC), Ethical Thought and Moral Values (EM), Social Analysis (SA), Historical Analysis (HA), and Culture and Difference (CD).
With at least 30 dance courses offered per year, the curricular program serves more than 400 students annually, and a committed group of 10-20 students earn a Certificate in Dance each year. The Program in Dance resides in the Wallace Dance Building within the Lewis Arts complex, in close proximity to the Programs in Theater, Music Theater, and Visual Arts. Students have access to three spacious studios designed for dance and the Hearst Dance Theater, a 100-seat convertible studio/theater.
Additional co-curricular opportunities include drop-in classes offered on a daily basis: hip-hop, dance for musical theater, ballet, yoga, and somatics. The Performance Lab program provides students focused time and guidance to create performance from an interdisciplinary perspective. With an active student-led Performing Arts Council, Princeton also supports more than 15 student-run dance companies, and many dance certificate students assume leadership roles and participate in these organizations. With this wide array of opportunities and resources, a dedicated student can dance for upwards of 30 hours a week while still pursuing a major and outside interests.
The Caroline Hearst Choreographer-in-Residence program provides professional choreographers with resources to develop their work, and performance opportunities that expose students to diverse creative practices. Princeton Arts Fellows, guest choreographers and visiting artists enhance program offerings through performances, choreographing original work, or teaching courses, workshops and seminars.
The Dance Program staff includes a music director and a stellar group of accompanists, who support and collaborate with faculty and students. Most classes integrate live music and student projects frequently feature original, live music, often coordinated with the Music Department. Students and faculty 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. Dance students in performance courses receive support for injury prevention and have access to dance-specific physical therapy. Dance courses frequently include trips to New York City and Philadelphia to see a range of performances, studio visits, and meet artists.