Advisers: Rodger Blum, Lester Tomé, Chris Aiken, Angie Hauser
The dance major at Smith is offered through the Five College Dance Department and culminates in a Bachelor of Arts degree from Smith College. It is designed to give a student a broad view of dance in preparation for a professional career or further study. Students are exposed to courses in dance history and culture, creative and aesthetic studies, scientific aspects of dance, the language of movement and dance technique and performance. A dancer's instrument is her body and it must be trained consistently: at least five dance technique courses are required for the B.A. (Ten are allowed for credit towards the GPA.) Students should reach intermediate or advanced level in at least one form. A single level of technique courses may be taken for credit up to three semesters. Advanced technique courses (Levels V and VI) require a placement exam.
A minimum of 48 credit hours are required for the major.
Major Requirement Checklist (Microsoft Word document)
Suggested Course of Study for the Major in Dance (Microsoft Word document)
Dance Research Skills and Materials (Smith College Libraries)
Dance in the 20th Century (DAN171) and Dance and Culture (DAN 272) serve as the introduction to the major. At the advanced level there is Advanced Studies in History and Aesthetics (DAN 377) with rotating topics. These courses all examine the dance itself and its cultural context.
Creative and Aesthetic Studies
(DAN 151, 252, 353, 209 and 309) This sequence of courses begins with the most basic study of dance composition: space, time, energy, and focuses on tools for finding and developing movement. The second and third level courses develop the fundamentals of formal choreography and expand work in the manipulation of spatial design, dynamics, phrasing, rhythm, content, and accompaniment. The movement materials that a student explores are not limited to any particular style. This sequence also includes four-credit Repertory courses at the intermediate and advanced level.
Scientific Aspects of Dance
(DAN 241, 342) These courses are designed to develop the student's personal working process and her philosophy of movement. The student studies selected aspects of human anatomy, physiology, bio-mechanics, and their relationships to various theories of technical study.
Language of Movement
(DAN 285) Courses in this area train students to observe, experience and notate qualitative aspects of movement (Laban Movement Analysis) and to quantitatively perceive and record movement (Labanotation).
Music for Dancers
(DAN 287) Sharpens understanding of music fundamentals and makes these applicable to dance.
Major Course of Study
Students in the Bachelor of Arts in Contemporary Dance are urged to pursue a breadth of study in their technique courses and, in consultation with their adviser, make connections to other Arts departments.
Theory (must take each of the following):
- 151, Elementary Dance Composition
- 171, Dance in the 20th Century
- 241, Scientific Foundations of Dance
- 272, Dance and Culture
- 287, Analysis of Music from a Dancer's Perspective or 285 Laban Movement Analysis I
- 200, Dance Production
- 201, Dance Production (may be taken for performance credit after taking DAN 200)
Five dance technique courses are required for the B.A. (Up to 10 are allowed for credit towards the GPA.) B.A. students must explore at least two courses in two technique forms for credit. Students should reach intermediate or advanced level in at least one form. A single level of technique courses may be taken for credit up to three semesters. Advanced technique courses (Levels V and VI) require a placement exam.
Advanced Theory (Choose at least two)
- 252 Intermediate Dance Composition
- 305 Advanced Repertory (taken twice)
- 309 Advanced Repertory
- 342 Scientific Foundations of Dance II
- 353 Advanced Dance Composition
- 377 Advanced Studies in History and Aesthetics
- 400 Special Studies (Choreography or Research)
A thesis project is required in the student's senior year in choreography or research. If offered, students will take the Seminar course. Otherwise, an independent project with an adviser will be designed. Students are encouraged to speak with their major adviser about an Honors Thesis. This conversation should begin at the end of the junior year.
399 Senior Seminar in Dance (Choreography or Research)
430d/431 Honors Project, 8 credits
Please consult Susan Waltner, director of honors in dance, and the Class Dean's Web site for specific requirements and application procedures in the spring semester of your junior year.