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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 K. Eugenides, Lewis Center for the Arts, Creative Writing

Su Friedrich, Lewis Center for the Arts, Visual Arts

Judith Hamera, Lewis Center for the Arts

Brian E. Herrera, Lewis Center for the Arts, Theater

Jhumpa Lahiri, Lewis Center for the Arts, Creative Writing

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

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

Tracy K. Smith, Lewis Center for the Arts, Creative Writing

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


Judith Hamera, also Lewis Center for the Arts

Susan Marshall, also Lewis Center for the Arts

Senior Lecturer

Rebecca J. Lazier

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 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.

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 must complete: (1) four studio courses above the introductory level, two of which must be performance courses: DAN 319/419/420 or Atelier; (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) one semester of twice-weekly co-curricular ballet, modern dance, or conditioning classes; (5) DAN 307 Dance Technique and Anatomy of Movement; 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.

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 201 Dance Appreciation: Seeing Dance in New York City/Articulating the Elusive   Spring LA

In this introductory course we will make six field trips to view live dance in a variety of NYC performance venues. Students will develop the ability to articulate their experiences as viewers starting in a thoughtful and active engagement with the dance works then in a discussion and writing while analyzing the form, content and contexts of the works in a group setting. We will study the historical, cultural, social and interdisciplinary contexts of contemporary dance forms. Guest writers and scholars will visit the class to reflect on diverse approaches to dance criticism and analysis and their role in the current cultural landscape. P. Zustiak

DAN 207 Introduction to Ballet   Fall, Spring 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)   Fall, 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 214 Being and Doing: Dance for Every Body   Fall LA

This studio course is open to beginning and advanced dancers. We'll explore dance as a way to deepen both our self-knowledge and engagement with others. We'll delve into dance as meditation, using tools from ecstatic dance, yin yoga, and improvisation to establish a personal practice. We'll examine genre-bending performances occurring outside of theaters and study how dance reflects- and can change -contemporary issues, taking up such topics as power, class, race and gender. In final creative projects, we'll look at dance artists as entrepreneurs in the public sector and as catalysts for change in our own communities. A. Vandenbroucke

DAN 215 Introduction to Dance Across Cultures (also ANT 355)   Spring LA

This course will have us travel from temples and courtyards to clubs, streets, and stages around the world to better understand the diversity of dance. Featuring movement practices such as Bharata Natyam, Butoh, Afro-Cuban dance, and Salsa dance, this course introduces students to dance across cultures and historical periods while questioning categories such as classical, traditional, ethnic, folk, and world dance. Activities will include ethnographic assignments, readings, discussions, and viewings of filmed and live performances. Guest artists will teach different dance forms. No prior dance experience is necessary. J. Hamera

DAN 219 Contemporary Dance Technique/Choreography   Fall LA

This contemporary dance technique class emphasizes fundamentals of proper alignment to achieve increased movement efficiency, strength and flexibility. Working with aspects of modern, jazz and ballet, students will explore dancing to different rhythms, tempos and styles of music. Phrase work teaches strong movement in space and musicality. Students will understand 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 and ideas. Two 2-hour classes in technique, one 2-hour class in choreography. R. Lazier

DAN 220 Contemporary Technique and Choreography   Spring LA

Incorporating aspects of jazz, modern and ballet, this contemporary dance class focuses on strengthening fundamental alignment and coordination. Technique class will start with exercises designed to organize the body and build in physical intensity to culminate in phrase work that is vigorous and challenging. In choreography, students will develop their understanding of the ways in which structural elements and movement vocabularies contribute to a dance's impact and content. Two two-hour classes in technique, one two-hour class in choreography. Staff

DAN 222 Introduction to Hip-Hop Dance (also AAS 222)   Spring LA

This introductory survey course gives equal weight to scholarly study and embodied practice, using both approaches to explore a range of hip-hop dance techniques, as well as the cultural and historical contexts from which these dances emerged. Special attention will be given to breaking - the most prominent hip-hop form - as a foundation for exploring other forms of movement. By critically exploring these physical and historical connections, individuals will adapt and apply their own philosophies to dance in order to develop a personalized style. J. Schloss

DAN 300 Body and Object: Making Art That Is both Sculpture and Dance   Fall LA

Students in DAN 300 will create dance works and sculptures that challenge the boundaries between the two disciplines. Works could be designed for unconventional spaces, challenge viewer/performer/object relationships, augment or constrain the body, trace the body's actions or form, etc. How can nearly identical movements and objects be considered dance in some contexts and art in others? A lecture series of prominent choreographers and artists will accompany the course. 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 321)   Fall 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 307 Dance Technique and Anatomy of Movement   Spring LA

This course provides laboratories and cross-genre dance technique to facilitate a somatic understanding of kinesiology. Students identify limitations and expand individual expression. Technique class will integrate ballet and modern techniques while emphasizing values of exploration and risk-taking. Movement labs will integrate research in functional anatomy/kinesiology and diverse systems of somatic education to understand both the potential of neuro-motor development and physiological systems. Classes will provide freedom of exploration in all genres of dance and give students knowledge to strengthen physicality and movement repertoire. Staff

DAN 309 Modern Dance: Intermediate Technique and Choreography   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 310 The Arts of Urban Transition (also ARC 380/THR 323/URB 310)   Fall LA

This interdisciplinary course uses texts and methods from history, theatre, and dance to examine artists and works of art as agents of change in New York (1960-present) and contemporary Detroit. Issues include relationships between artists, changing urban economies, and the built environment; gentrification and creative placemaking; local history in art interventions; and impacts of urban arts initiatives. A fall break studio trip to Detroit, and visits to archives and sites in New York, are included. Students will use data and methods from the course to produce final creative projects. J. Hamera, A. Landsman, A. Shkuda

DAN 319 Dance Performance Workshop: Repertory and Choreography   Fall LA

Dance technique and choreography, with a focus on contemporary practices and performance. Students will be challenged to increase strength, coordination and alignment, and develop awareness and range of motion in multiple spatial planes. The repertory component of this course calls on students' collaborative abilities as they work with faculty to develop and perform a new dance. Students will work in movement-based laboratories to develop fluency with a wide range of contemporary choreographic approaches. Readings and viewings contextualize the work culturally and historically. Two two-hour technique classes, one two-hour choreography class. S. Marshall

DAN 321 Special Topics in Dance History, Criticism, and Aesthetics (also AMS 361/GSS 387)   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 322 Special Topics In Urban Dance (also AAS 312)   LA

This special topics course gives equal weight to the scholarly study of and embodied practice of various forms of urban dance. We will study the evolution of specific dances, examining the way local culture and history are expressed and reflected in these dances as well as their global reach and impact. Faculty and invited guest artists will teach dances developed on the streets and in clubs such as breaking, voguing, waacking, popping, locking, step dancing, and krumping. Students will view videos and performances and read related texts that give historical and theoretical perspectives to the studio work. 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 408 Approaches to Contemporary Dance and Movement Practices   Spring LA

This advanced studio course compares approaches to contemporary dance and movement techniques to explore how training fuels choreographic process and aesthetic research. Students will train intensively in Contact Improvisation, Gaga, Forsythe Technologies, and contemporary African dance, learning each form's origin and theory to facilitate physical transformation. Workshops in modern and non-western forms will widen historic and global perspectives. Knowledge gained through a comparative embodied practice allows students to form research built on a synthesis of the influences that have shaped current movement research and choreography. R. Lazier

DAN 409 Contemporary Dance: Advanced Technique and Choreography   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. Staff

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

Students are exposed to distinct choreographers by learning and performing repertory and creating choreography. The technique and repertory sections of the course develop technical expertise, expressive range, and stylistic clarity. Students will dance with attention to alignment, detail, spatial clarity, and an awareness of other dancers. In choreography classes, students will work together in movement-based laboratories to develop choreographic decision-making skills. Readings and viewings inform studio practice and place dance in current artistic movements. Two two-hour classes in technique, one two-hour class in choreography. S. Marshall

DAN 420 Advanced Dance Performance and Choreographic Projects   Fall LA

Advanced students will learn and perform dances that represent diverse approaches to contemporary choreography. Technique and Repertory classes encourage rich, subtle and stylistically accurate renditions of choreography and cultivate intelligent and imaginative artistic interpretations. In Choreography classes, students will develop senior thesis projects; they can choose to focus on choreographic development or enhancing artistry as a performer. Classes will foster individual choreographic practices and mentor students as they transfer a dance from the studio to stage. The course is required for all seniors pursuing a Certificate in Dance. , R. Lazier Staff

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. 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 432 Ballet as an Evolving Form: Technique and Repertory   LA

A studio course in contemporary ballet technique for advanced students. The course will consist of an advanced ballet class and explorations into contemporary choreography through readings, viewings, and the learning of repertory. The course will focus on three renowned choreographers, and prominent guest artists will coach students in the style and repertory of each choreographer. Readings and viewings of live and videotaped performances. Three two-hour classes. T. Fehlandt

DAN 498 Princeton Atelier (see ATL 498)