Established in 1975, the Dance Department offers a rigorous and comprehensive B.A. major as well as a minor in dance. Highly developed/advanced and specialized courses allow students to pursue areas of interest that emphasize independence and initiative with an emphasis on the tradition of a liberal arts education.
The major provides a broad knowledge of dance that supports technical, creative, and intellectual development. Students build their course of study based on their primary interest and future dance goals whether it is performing, choreographing, movement therapy, physical therapy, dance science, arts administration, dance education, or dance history. Students work with an academic adviser to personalize a course of study to prepare them for a career in dance or graduate school. The Dance Department encourages cross-curricular pursuits through double majors or minors in other areas of study. Additionally, the Dance Department offers several opportunities to study abroad, including semester-long study in Italy, Taiwan, and England and intensive courses abroad such as in West Africa and Scotland.
Our studio curriculum challenges performing artists in both classical ballet and modern dance and is augmented by courses in musical theatre and jazz. Dance technique classes engage the students in various modes of scholarly inquiry including critical thinking, writing and insightful dialogue. The technical level of every student is determined by a mandatory class placement audition in June and August of each academic year. Our yearly Dance Major and Minor Review and Class Promotion monitors student progress through the major and students advance at the discretion of the dance faculty. In addition to daily technique classes taught by dance department faculty, our guest artists-in-residence program allows students to interface each semester with professionals beyond the Goucher community. Our roster of past distinguished artists, teachers, and choreographers includes: William Whitener, Alan Hineline, Robert Weiss, Michael Vernon, Gabriel Masson, Amy Seiwert, Robert Moses, Rachel Berman, Kevin Iega Jeff, Thaddeus Davis, Roger C. Jeffrey, Xan Burley and Alex Springer, Jessica Lang, Jennifer Archibald, Larry Keigwin, Susan Jaffe, Zippora Karz, and Nicholas Leichter.
The Dance Department has a reputation for consistently producing new choreography as well as reconstructing works from the past. Our repertory ranges from traditional classical choreography to contemporary new works commissioned specifically for our dancers. Formal and informal studio performances give students opportunities to choreograph and perform throughout the year. Dance courses, including performing and choreographic opportunities, are open to all students who have completed the appropriate prerequisites. Performance opportunities are by audition.
In addition to offering intensive studio training in the performing arts, the Dance Department offers theory courses exploring dance from choreographic, aesthetic, historical, anatomical, cultural, analytical, educational, and therapeutic perspectives. Through our dance curriculum, students learn to observe, analyze, document, synthesize, and integrate both theoretical and applied knowledge to prepare graduates for leadership in the multifaceted world of dance.
Students are encouraged to pursue their individual interests through completion of independent studies, community outreach programs, senior thesis research, and performances, as well as outside the department through interdisciplinary projects, internships, and participation in a variety of experiences abroad. The Dance Department offers several opportunities to study abroad, including semester-long study in Italy, Taiwan, and England and intensive courses abroad such as West Africa, Brazil, and Scotland. Because career development is an integral part of the college experience, students can receive credits while developing applied skills through internships both during the academic year and in the summer. Internship sites have included professional dance companies; dance studios; public and private schools; and arts agencies, including the Alvin Ailey Dance Company, the Pennsylvania Ballet, David Dorfman Dance, the Edinburgh Festival, National Dance Education Organization, National Dance Association, Dance USA, Union Memorial Hospital, Venue C in London and Edinburgh, Dance Magazine, Broadway Dance Center, Peridance Center, Ad Deum Christian Dance Company, Maryland School for the Blind, Wolf Trap Performing Arts Center, Baltimore newspapers, and the Maryland State Arts Council.