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Program in Dance


Susan Marshall

Executive Committee

Michael W. Cadden, Lewis Center for the Arts, Theater

Jill S. Dolan, English, Lewis Center for the Arts, Theater 

Jeffrey Eugenides, Lewis Center for the Arts, Creative Writing 

Su Friedrich, Lewis Center for the Arts, Visual Arts 

Chang-rae Lee, Lewis Center for the Arts, Creative Writing 

Susan Marshall, Lewis Center for the Arts 

Paul B. Muldoon, Lewis Center for the Arts, Creative Writing 

Joyce Carol Oates, Lewis Center for the Arts, Creative Writing 

James Richardson, Lewis Center for the Arts, Creative Writing 

Joseph S. Scanlan, Lewis Center for the Arts, Visual Arts 

P. Adams Sitney, Lewis Center for the Arts, Visual Arts 

Susan Wheeler, Lewis Center for the Arts, Creative Writing 

Edmund V. White, Lewis Center for the Arts, Creative Writing 

Stacy E. Wolf, Lewis Center for the Arts, Theater 


Susan Marshall

Senior Lecturer

Rebecca J. Lazier


Tina Fehlandt

Dyane Harvey Salaam

Aynsley L. Vandenbroucke

The Program in Dance, part of the Lewis Center for the Arts, 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 preprofessional 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, and African dance techniques, repertory, and choreography, as well as in dance history, analysis, and criticism. The program also provides special 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.

Admission to the Program

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.

Program of Study

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 need to complete: (1) four studio courses above the introductory level, two of which must be performance courses: DAN 319/419/420 or Atelier; (2) one course in dance history and criticism: DAN 321 Special Topics in Dance History, Criticism, and Aesthetics, offered spring semester only; (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 ballet, modern dance, or conditioning classes; and (5) 20 hours of technical work in assisting the dance program's productions. Students have the option of completing an independent creative project in dance as part of the program.

Students are encouraged to self-design programs with an interdisciplinary focus. All substitutions of requirements will be determined in consultation with the program director.

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.

Certificate of Proficiency

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


DAN 207 Introduction to Ballet   Fall LA

From grand plié to grand jeté, Introduction to Ballet is for students with a curiosity for the study of classical ballet. No prior dance experience necessary and beginners are welcome. In this studio course students will learn the fundamentals of ballet, gaining an understanding of its physicality, artistry, and principles of alignment. Students will examine the historical origins of ballet and its absorption of cultural influences. Live music will be featured in this class and key in exploring the inextricable link between music and dance. T. Fehlandt

DAN 209 Introduction to Movement and Dance   Fall, Spring LA

Designed for people with little or no previous training in dance, the class will be a mixture of movement techniques, improvisation, choreography, observing, writing, and discussing. Students will investigate their own movement patterns and delve into many facets of dance and the cultural questions surrounding it. We will explore the role of dancer, choreographer, audience member, and critic in relation to such topics as aesthetic questions, politics, identity, religion, and complex views of the human body. Two two-hour classes. A. Vandenbroucke

DAN 211 The American Dance Experience and Africanist Dance Practices (also AAS 211)   Spring LA

A studio course introducing students to American dance aesthetics and practice, with a focus on how American dance has been influenced by African American 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. Two two-hour classes. D. Harvey Salaam

DAN 215 Introduction to Dance Across Cultures   Spring LA

Bharata Natyam, Hula, Salsa, Sabar, and Capoeira are some of the movement practices that will have us travel from temples and courtyards to clubs, streets, and stages around the world. Through dance activities, readings, discussions, and viewings of filmed and live performances the course introduces students to dance across cultures and historical periods while questioning categories such as classical, traditional, ethnic, folk, and world dance. The course meets twice a week, one two-hour class is dedicated to studio practice and the other to theory. Guest artists will teach different dance forms. No prior dance experience is necessary. Staff

DAN 219 Modern Dance: Beginning Technique and Choreography   Fall LA

Dance technique and choreography for beginning level. Technique class will emphasize placement and movement efficiency through proper alignment. Students will explore the body's relationship to space and gravity while dancing to different rhythms and styles of music. In choreography class, students will investigate how structural elements and movement vocabularies contribute to a dance's overarching impact and content. Readings and viewings broaden students' understanding of dance's position in the world of art. Two two-hour classes in technique, one two-hour class in choreography. A. Vandenbroucke

DAN 220 Modern Dance: Beginning/Intermediate Technique and Choreography   Spring LA

The practice of primarily modern dance and some ballet techniques designed to further expand movement vocabulary and expressive range. Students will be introduced to contemporary choreographic practices through structured improvisations, choreographic studies, viewing videotapes, and readings. Two two-hour classes in technique, one two-hour class in choreography. S. Marshall

DAN 300 Muscle/Memory: Dance   Fall LA

Students in DAN 300 will create dance works for unconventional spaces that will emphasize performance, theatricality, and props. Students in the associated VIS 300 will create sculptures that inform bodily movement in the form of garments, portable objects and props. The two classes will come together periodically to compare notes and pursue the question of how nearly identical movements and objects can be considered dance in some contexts and art in others. A lecture series of prominent choreographers and artists will accompany the courses. This studio course meets for one two-hour class and one three-hour class; course is open enrollment. S. Marshall

DAN 304 Special Topics in Contemporary Practice (also THR 304)   Not offered this year 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 309 Modern Dance: Intermediate Technique and Choreography   Not offered this year LA

In technique, students will be encouraged to expand movement range and increase technical mastery as related to modern and contemporary dance practices. In choreography, students will be encouraged to create dances that articulate their independent vision in solo and group works. Readings and viewings will supplement studio work and expand knowledge of historical and contemporary trends in the arts. Two two-hour classes in technique, one two-hour class in choreography. Staff

DAN 319 Dance Performance Workshop: Intermediate Repertory and Choreography   Fall LA

Intermediate dance technique and choreography. In technique, students will be challenged to increase their strength, coordination and alignment, developing awareness and range of motion in multiple dimensions. In repertory, students will collaborate with faculty in the development of a new dance. In choreography, students will work in movement-based laboratories to develop their fluency with a wide range of contemporary choreographic approaches. Readings and viewings contextualize the work culturally and historically. Two two-hour classes in technique, one two-hour class in choreography. Staff

DAN 321 Special Topics in Dance History, Criticism, and Aesthetics   Spring 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 381 Physical Language: Knowing Through Movement   EC

This class will focus on expanding dancers' movement choices through experiential anatomy. Using both movement laboratories and lectures, the class will conduct an in-depth analysis of dance and movement from many angles including: research in cognitive studies, neuroscience, multiple somatics modalities, and functional anatomy. We will focus on seeking physical knowledge to generate new movement languages and acquire efficient movement patterns within our bodies, our minds, and ourselves. One two-hour lecture, one two-hour movement lab, and one two-hour seminar. Offered periodically. R. Lazier

DAN 409 Contemporary Dance: Advanced Technique and Choreography   Spring LA

Advanced dance technique and choreography. In technique, students will be challenged to expand their movement range and increase their mastery of various styles required by today's dance world. Students will work to develop approaches to technique that emphasize ease and efficiency in motion. In choreography, students will work together on group objectives in movement-based laboratories that focus on collaboration and choreographic choice-making skills. Two two-hour classes in technique, one two-hour class in choreography. S. Marshall

DAN 419 Dance Performance Workshop: Advanced Repertory and Choreography   Fall LA

In this course students will master the performance of a technically advanced choreographic work with the aim to further challenge their technical expertise, expressive range, and stylistic clarity. In choreography, students will work together on group objectives in movement-based laboratories that focus on collaboration and choreographic choice-making skills. Readings and viewings inform the studio work and place it in relationship to current artistic movements. Two two-hour classes in technique, one two-hour class in choreography. Z. Gotheiner

DAN 420 Chamber Dance: Repertory and Choreography   Fall LA

Advanced dance technique and choreography. In technique, students focus on developing proficiency with a variety of technical and performance demands. Emphasis is placed on quality of movement, dynamic clarity, and fine-tuning individual performances. In choreography, students work on individual assignments and collaborative group work to develop awareness of their own dance affinities and preferred processes. Readings and viewings contextualize the studio work in relationship to current and past perspectives on dance. Two two-hour classes in technique, one two-hour class in choreography. T. Fehlandt, R. Lazier

DAN 431 Approaches to Ballet: Technique and Repertory   Spring LA

A studio course in ballet technique and repertory for advanced and high intermediate students. This course will consist of a pre-professional ballet class and learning selections of classical, neo-classical, and contemporary ballet. It will be divided into four units, each focusing on a different ballet choreographer such as: Marius Petipa, George Balanchine, Christopher Wheeldon, and Jerome Robbins. Students will be coached by internationally known guest artists to master and understand the diverse styles of each piece of repertory learned. Readings and viewings of live and videotaped performances. Three two-hour classes. T. Fehlandt

DAN 444 The Phaedra Project (see THR 444)

DAN 451 Princeton Atelier (see ATL 498)