Dance Department

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Dance Department Welcome Video

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 understand dance as a way of approaching salient social, cultural, and political questions.

Dance students 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 multileveled understanding of a wide variety of phenomena—cultural, artistic, and formal. 

the bodies of the fruit are clear
Senior Dance Thesis Project by August Singer, Fall 2021


All classes are open to majors and nonmajors. The department offers students at all levels of experience opportunities to choreograph, perform, undertake research, participate in residencies with visiting artists and scholars, and interact closely with faculty members. Our wide-ranging curriculum includes courses in contemporary dance, ballet, choreography, improvisation, critical dance studies, cultural studies, Latin American dance, and dances of the African diaspora. 

Dance Major & Minor

In addition to the dance major, the department also offers interdisciplinary majors in Comparative Race and Ethnicity Studies–Dance, Dance–Theatre, as well as a minor in dance. Interested students may also pursue an ad hoc interdisciplinary major that includes dance, such as dance–art, dance–music, dance–Spanish, dance–psychology, dance–sociology, dance–literature, or dance–history.

Performing Opportunities

Reed dancers are invited to perform at the end of each semester in our biannual concert which also includes works created in dance courses. Reed dancers regularly perform in Reed Arts Week, in dance thesis productions, and with the student-run Reed Dance Troupe and the Reed Independent Performance  independent projects. Guest choreographers and dance faculty create work for choreograph for the Contemporary Performance Ensemble.

Visiting Artists and Scholars

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 their coursework. Recent visiting artists, companies, and scholars have included Ronald K. Brown/EVIDENCE, Ballet Hispánico, Michelle Gibson, Bárbara Lima, Eiko Otake, Michael Cusumano/Madame Olga, Meshi Chavez, Reggie Wilson/Fist and Heel Performance, Yoshito Sakuraba/Abarukas, and Gamelan Çudamani. Reed dancers have attended recent off-campus performances by Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion, Ballet Hispánico, The TL Collective, Dallas Black Dance Theatre, Alonzo King LINES Ballet, and Philadanco.

Exchange Programs

Reed dancers have the opportunity to participate in established dance-intensive exchange programs in New York, Paris, Jerusalem, and Havana. Reed students may also register for dance courses at nearby Lewis and Clark College.


The department successfully prepares students—both majors and nonmajors—for specialized work in dance in graduate school and in the profession. Reed alumni pursue graduate degrees in dance, teach, choreograph, perform, write about dance professionally, work in dance outreach and arts administration, and establish their own dance companies and schools. Honors given to Reed dance students have included the Watson Fellowship, grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, and awards from the Dance Studies Association.

Obfuscated Trepidation, Choreographed & Performed by Zonya Tanada
Created for Minh Tran's Contemporary Dance IV course, Fall 2020