Dance Department

About the Major

DancerDance majors at Reed exercise the critical skills valued throughout liberal arts education: the ability to approach and solve problems of many kinds, the ability to deeply investigate a subject matter, the ability to make informed choices from a range of possibilities and the ability to contextualize specific ideas and events among the modes of thought and cultural phenomena that shape our understanding of the world. Dance, as a field, is well suited to this endeavor because it develops one's capacity for a multi-leveled understanding of a wide variety of phenomena—cultural, artistic and formal.

The department believes a Reed liberal arts education fosters a creative and contextual approach to dance. All 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. Seniors emphasizing dance studies undertake thesis projects that are focused in scholarly research but may also include a creative component. Seniors emphasizing dance studio undertake projects in which research supports an extensive creative endeavor, and have the opportunity to stage a fully produced performance of their work. Reed dancers may also pursue the established Dance-Theatre major or propose an ad-hoc interdisciplinary major; past graduates have pursued majors in dance/Spanish, dance/Russian, dance/psychology, and dance/history.

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.

Requirements for the Major

Dance Studies Emphasis

  1. Six units in dance studies (history, theory, critical and cultural studies) including Dance 201 and a 300-level junior seminar course before senior year. With departmental permission, 1 unit of this requirement can be fulfilled by a history, theory, critical or cultural studies course in theatre, music, literature or art.
  2. Five units in dance studio (technique, improvisation, choreography, and performance), including Dance 211 and 1 unit of choreography or improvisation. Credit for dance technique courses (Dance 101) may be counted towards this requirement.
  3. Technical proficiency:  Must achieve 300-level technical proficiency in one dance form and 200-level technical proficiency in a second dance form.
  4. Crew requirement (25 hours, arranged in consultation with the department, or completion of Theatre 162.)
  5. Thesis

Dance Studio Emphasis

  1. Four units in dance studies (history, theory, critical and cultural studies) including Dance 201 and a 300-level junior seminar course before senior year.
  2. Seven units in dance studio (technique, improvisation, choreography and performance), including Dance 211 and one unit of choreography at the 300 level. With departmental permission, 1 unit of this requirement may be fulfilled by a studio course in art, creative writing, music, or theatre. Credit for dance technique courses (Dance 101) may be counted towards this requirement.
  3. One unit in Theatre design
  4. Technical proficiency: Must achieve 400-level technical proficiency in one dance form and 200-level technical proficiency in a second dance form.
  5. Crew requirement (25 hours, arranged in consultation with the department, or completion of Theatre 162.)
  6. Thesis

For either emphasis, at least 1 unit of the above requirements must be met through a course or courses focusing outside the Euro-American dance tradition.