The Reed dance program emphasizes dance as an art that both responds to and influences the shifting artistic and cultural landscape of contemporary society. The program fosters a creative and contextual approach to dance, one that integrates theory with practice and values not only reading, writing, and speaking but seeing, making, and moving as modes of investigation. Working both in and out of the studio, Reed dancers learn and create new movement vocabularies and find new perspectives by which to see, question, understand, and evaluate the expressive possibilities of the human body moving in space and time.
All classes are open to majors and non-majors. Our wide-ranging curriculum includes courses in choreography, improvisation, critical dance studies, dance history, Latin American dance, and Southeast Asian dance, as well as dance technique classes in modern/contemporary, ballet, Afro-Brazilian, Argentine Tango, hip-hop, and lyrical jazz. Performing opportunities are available to all Reed students through the department-sponsored concerts, Performance Ensemble, Reed Dance Troupe, Reed Arts Week, senior thesis productions, and independent projects. Reed has established dance-intensive exchange programs for students interested in studying abroad.
Reed dance majors pursue both creative and critical work, but may choose an emphasis in dance studies—history, theory, critical and cultural studies—or dance studio—technique, choreography, improvisation, and performance. Interested students may also pursue either the established dance–theatre major or an ad hoc interdisciplinary major. The department successfully prepares students—both majors and non-majors—for specialized work in dance at the graduate and professional levels. Recent honors given to Reed dance students have included the Watson Fellowship and grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Reed brings well-known performing artists and scholars to campus each year, and Reed dance students frequently attend off-campus performances, talks and master classes in conjunction with the coursework. In recent years, Kyle Abraham, Ralph Lemon, Stephen Petronio Company, Tiffany Mills Company, Meredith Monk, Troika Ranch, Lucy Guerin, and Ann Cooper Albright have visited campus, and Reed dancers have attended performances by Kidd Pivot, Grupo Corpo, Urban Bush Women, Hillel Kogan, Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan, Nederlands Dans Theater 2, Northwest Dance Project, and Emio Greco.