The Dance concentration of the Lang Arts major is for students who wish to study dance in the context of a liberal arts education. Many courses in the Dance curriculum are suitable for students with any degree of previous experience, and the participation of nonmajors is encouraged.

The curriculum of the Dance program is structured around four focus areas:

Movement Practice
Rather than using the familiar term "technique," the dance program uses "movement practice" for its dance classes to signal an ongoing approach to physical exploration, as opposed to a linear path towards "mastery." With an opportunity to study movement practices ranging from ballet to contact improvisation to vogue, students consider diverse understandings of the body and virtuosity. Engaging in dynamic studio work, students and faculty ask: What can a body do?

Choreographic Research
In Lang's "choreographic research" courses, students explore varied approaches to the creative process as conceived and employed by some of the field's most adventurous contemporary practitioners. These courses frame dance making as a series of investigatory acts, an arena for research and discovery. Students work individually and collaboratively as choreographers and learn methods to describe, analyze, and critique one another's movement studies.

History and Theory
Lang Dance students engage in a range of academic seminars, analyzing dance through a variety of methodological and theoretical approaches and honing their skills as readers and writers. Working closely with faculty and peers (including students majoring in music, visual arts, theater, and a range of other disciplines) students think critically about the body and consider the opportunities and challenges that come with analyzing movement. In addition to considering dance in relation to other art forms, students learn to situate dance within a social and cultural context.

Each semester, students have the opportunity to work with guest artists in an intensive rehearsal process, presenting a re-staged or new dance in a public performance. Residencies often include a study of the influences that have affected the guest artist's life and work. Recent guest artists include John Jasperse, Luciana Achugar, Ori Flomin, Ishmael Houston-Jones, Juliette Mapp, and representatives from the Forsythe Company and the Trisha Brown Dance Company. In a new institutional partnership, each year one repertory work is created by an artist-in-residence from Movement Research, a New York-based professional organization that serves as a laboratory for experimentation in movement-based performance work.

Concentration in Dance (BA, The Arts)

The Dance concentration within the Arts major requires courses in the four focus areas listed above, distributed as follows:

  • Aesthetics: ULEC 2320 Aesthetics or LINA 2001 Ideas Across the Arts or another approved aesthetics course
  • Three Lang InterArts (LINA) courses
  • First-Year Advising Seminar in Dance
  • Two Choreographic Research courses
    • Choreographic Research Introduction
    • Choreographic Research Continued 
  • Foundations in Dance Studies
  • One Dance History course
    • Dance History: From Ritual to Romanticism
    • Dance History: Petipa to Postmodernism
  • Movement Practice Courses totaling 10 credits (currently 2-credit and 1-credit courses are offered)
    • Moving with Somatics Introduction (required)
    • Moving with Somatics Continued
    • Modern Dance Practices
    • Ballet Practices Introduction (required)
    • Ballet Practices Continued
    • West African Dance Practices
    • Hip Hop in Context
    • Contact Improvisation Practices
    • Capoeira
  • Repertory Courses (at least three from the list below)
    • Repertory A
    • Repertory B
    • Movement Research Repertory
    • Dance Residencies
  • Two Dance Electives totaling eight credits (sample courses listed below)
    • Vogue'ology
    • I Have a Dream: Dance in Education
    • Lang at Judson Church
    • Dance History (a second course, in addition to the major requirement)
    • Politics of Improvisation
    • Debates in Performance Studies
    • Ephemeral Art
    • Performance/Phenomenon
    • Practical Side of Performance
    • Arts Media Toolkit
  • Experiential Anatomy (offered once every two years)
  • Senior Capstone, chosen from
    • Senior Seminar
    • Individual independent project

Arts in Context

Students interested in studying dance can also choose the Arts in Context concentration, in which they combine the study of dance with a liberal arts discipline. For example, students can study dance criticism and journalism by taking courses through Literary Studies and Writing. Other majors and minors (such as Psychology, Urban Studies, and Social Inquiry) also provide wider contexts for dance studies. See the Arts in Context pages for further information about this option.

Minor in Dance

Undergraduate students from any school in the university who are not majoring in Liberal Arts can select the Dance minor. (Lang students pursuing a BA or BS in Liberal Arts: See Self-Designed Major, below.) Note: Arts majors can enroll in any minor of their choice, including an Arts minor in a discipline different from the one already being studied in their major. The Dance minor is designed to introduce various approaches to dance research, including embodied practice and academic study of theory and history. The minor requires a minimum of 19 credits in the following courses:

  • Foundations in Dance Studies - 4 credits
  • Three LDAN Studio Courses (movement practice and/or choreographic research and/or repertory, including 1-credit and 2-credit courses) - 3 credits minimum
  • 12 credits in liberal arts courses from the Dance area of study (including all LDAN seminars and specified LINA courses) - 12 credits

Students must receive grades of C or higher in all courses taken to meet the requirements for a major or minor in The Arts. 

Note: Students are advised to refer to the current applicable program catalog for degree completion requirements and to confirm their progress in satisfying those requirements with their advisors.

Self-Designed Major (BA or BS, Liberal Arts)

Students pursuing a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in Liberal Arts cannot elect dance as an academic minor; however, they can pursue deeper study in this subject area through the self-designed major. To explore this, contact an academic advisor or read more about the self-designed option at Lang.