The Reed dance program explores how dance practices both reflect and shape the world. Through work inside and outside of the studio, Reed dancers find fluidity between embodied, written, creative, and scholarly work and come to understand dance as a way of approaching salient social, cultural, and political questions.
In addition to the dance major, the department offers interdisciplinary majors in dance-comparative race and ethnicity studies and dance-theatre as well as a minor in dance. Reed dance majors can pursue an emphasis in dance studies—history, theory, and critical and cultural studies—or in dance studio—technique, choreography, improvisation, and performance.
All classes are open to majors and non-majors. Our wide-ranging curriculum includes courses in contemporary dance, choreography, improvisation, critical dance studies, cultural studies, Latin American dance, Southeast Asian dance, and dances of the African Diaspora. Students at all levels of experience are offered opportunities to choreograph, perform, and participate in workshops with visiting artists and scholars.
Each year the Reed dance department invites internationally renowned artists to work with Reed dance students. Recent visitors include Ronald K. Brown/Evidence, Reggie Wilson/Fist and Heel Performance Group, and Rosie Herrera/Rosie Herrera Dance Theatre. Reed dancers also have the opportunity to participate in dance-intensive exchange programs in New York, Paris, Jerusalem, and Havana.
Professor Victoria Fortuna
Latin American Dance History; Community Dance
Associate Professor Victoria Fortuna is a dance studies scholar and contemporary dance practitioner. Her teaching and research interests include Latin American concert and social dance, dance as a mode of political engagement and community organization, collaborative creation methods, and cultural histories of dance in transnational perspective.
As founder and director of the Community Dance at Reed project, Victoria brings together members of the Reed and broader Portland communities to create social justice-oriented dance works. Her book, Moving Otherwise: Dance, Violence, and Memory in Buenos Aires examines the relationship between Buenos Aires based contemporary dance practices and histories of political and economic violence in Argentina from the mid- 1960s to the mid-2010s.
Victoria holds a BA in comparative literature from Brown University and an MA and PhD in performance studies from Northwestern University.
Contemporary Performance Ensemble
Open through audition, Reed dancers perform in works choreographed and directed by dance faculty and guest choreographers.
Department Dance Concerts
Each semester the dance department produces a concert of Reed student choreography created both in and out of class.
Reed Dance Troupe
The student-run Reed Dance Troupe rehearses weekly and presents choreography throughout the year to the Reed community (or to the public).
Senior Thesis Productions
As part of their thesis work, senior dance majors choreograph and direct original works for fully produced performances. All Reed students are invited to audition and perform.
In addition to work in the classroom and performance opportunities, students’ creative development is supported through independent projects often completed under the mentorship
of professors. Financial support for independent projects includes:
- Kaspar T. Locher Summer Creative Scholarship;
- Reed Arts Week;
- President’s Summer Fellowship;
- Winter International Travel.
Recent Senior Thesis Titles
“Giving up the Ghost: Selfhood and Otherhood in Technologized Dance”
August Singer ’22
“The Revolution Will Not Be Live Streamed: Dialectics of Black Feminine Subjectivity in Viral TikTok Dances and Beyond”
Ariah Henderson ’22
“Jew-ish? Embodied Constructions of Jewishness in American Ashkenazi Zionism”
Rose Cole-Cohen (dance-anthropology) ’21
“Our Beds Are Islands: Creating Queer Intimacy Through Physical Theatre In The Age Of Streaming Media”
Saga Darnell (dance-theatre) ’20
“Perceiving, Sensing, and Inhabiting: Embodiment and Physical Experience in Contemporary Dance and Visual Art”
Hannah Mae Jensvold (dance-art) ’20
“The Spaces Between”
Laura Kennedy ’20
“The Burden of Cost: Using Dance- based Research to Center Lived Experience in a Non-dominant Model of Disability in Postsecondary Education”
Charles Bales (dance-economics) ’19
“We’ve Got It Goin’ On: Drag King Interpretations of 90’s Boy Band Performance”
Erin Lauderdale ’19
What Do Alumni Do?
Visual Artist & Contemporary Dancer
Hannah Mae Jensvold ’20
Communications & Outreach Manager
Saga Darnell ’20
Rika Yotsumoto ’18
Erin Lauderdale ’19
Dance Teacher & Artist
Mackenzie Schuller ’18
Choreographer, Performer & Teacher
The New Zealand Dance Company
Katrina Bastian ’15
Director and Company Member
Claire Thomforde-Garner ’12
Production Design Lead
Euphrates Dahout ’09