Established over 35 years ago, the Dance Department offers a rigorous and comprehensive B.A. major in dance, 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 Dance Department offers several areas of study with tracks in performance, dance education, choreography, dance therapy, dance and theatre, dance history and criticism, dance administration, and dance science. Each specialized area has a recommended course of study to prepare a student for a career in dance or graduate school. The dance major requirements accommodate the interests of both the serious performer as well as students with choreographic, scholarly, or interdisciplinary interests. The Dance Department encourages cross-curricular pursuits through double majors (within or beyond the Dance Department) or minors in other areas of study.
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 or August of each academic year. Yearly dance major reviews monitor 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, Seán Curran, Alan Hineline, Andrea Woods, Robert Weiss, Michael Vernon, Gabriel Masson, Jessica Lang, Larry Keigwin, Gen Horiuchi, Rachel Berman, Kevin Iega Jeff, Thaddeus Davis, Armando Luna, Jennifer Archibald, Brian Reeder, Roger C. Jeffrey, Zippora Karz, Heidi Henderson, Susan Jaffe, Constance Dinapoli, and Dermot Burke.
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 in order 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 abroad experiences. The Dance Department offers several opportunities to study abroad, including semester-long study in Italy and England and intensive courses abroad in West Africa and Scotland. Since 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, Bates Dance Festival, American Dance Festival, Jacobs Pillow, Ad Deum Christian Dance Company, Maryland School for the Blind, Wolf Trap Performing Arts Center, Baltimore newspapers, and the Maryland State Arts Council.
Chrystelle Trump Bond (dance history, dance seminar and Chorégraphie Antique), Amanda Thom Woodson (Labanotation and Scotland ICA)
Elizabeth Lowe Ahearn, chair (Pilates, dance composition, repertory, modern dance technique, ballet technique, and pointe), Juliet Forrest (modern dance technique, dance composition, dance seminar, improvisation, repertory, and dance anthropology)
Rick Southerland (modern dance technique, dance composition, dance education, and West Africa ICA)
Visiting Assistant Professor
Trebien Pollard (modern technique, dance composition, repertory)
Eric Brew (Music Department, African drum ensemble), Laura Gurdus Dolid (ballet technique, repertory and pointe), Katherine S. Ferguson (ballet technique and pointe), Tim Fox (ballet technique, men’s technique, partnering, variations) Linda Garofalo (ballet technique, modern dance technique, and outreach seminar), Karissa Horowicz (anatomy and kinesiology, repertory, ballet technique and pointe). ., Katie Morris (ballet technique), Michelle Mulreaney (Pilates).
Jerome Herskovitz (music for dance), Lester Holmes (jazz and musical theater jazz), Todd Mion (dance production and lighting), Bonnie Schulman (physical therapist), Sara Workeneh (dance therapy), other lecturers to be appointed
Honors in the major is achieved through successful completion of senior thesis work. Refer to senior thesis guidelines for further information.
Multiple Failed Courses
It is the department’s policy that students majoring in dance must receive at least a C- in every course taken toward the completion of the major.
All students are placed in technique levels by audition at placement classes during summer and fall orientation. Class promotion information is below.
Dance Major and Minor Review
Each year prospective and declared dance majors are required to participate in a ballet and a modern dance technique class that will determine the ability of the student to achieve the required level of technique to complete the dance major or dance minor. Students struggling with the technical requirement of the department may be advised to find an alternative major while continuing their studies in the Dance Department.
Progression through Dance Technique Levels
The specific technical skills for each level must be achieved before a student may progress to the next level of technique. Students new to the dance department are required to participate in dance placement classes in June or August in order to be placed in a technique class that is appropriate. Current students are required to participate in the department’s Class Promotion in order to be considered for advancement to the next level of technique. Class Promotion occurs both first and second semester and attendance is required by all students who have declared or plan to declare dance as their major or minor, but have not completed the required technical level for their track of study, and for all students (with the exception of DAN 114, 120, 311, 321) who wish to be considered for promotion.
The following courses are repeatable up to six credits: