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Prospective Students

Letter from the Director

Thank you for your interest in the Dance Program at Bard College. As a performing arts program inside of a liberal arts college, we encourage all students of dance to take classes. We are also able to offer those students who decide to make dance a focus of study at Bard, a working environment that remains very personal and responsive to the specific talents and interests of each.

Dance students’ technical and creative development is addressed through a wide stylistic range of technique and composition classes–the Dance Program faculty represent a breadth of professional experience, expertise, and engagement with the dance world. In technique classes we use a contemporary lens to explore a diverse range of ballet and modern dance styles. We also offer courses in Dabkeh, - a Palestinian folk dance, and Contemporary African Dance.

Coursework in the Program focuses on developing both capable choreographers and dancers as adept participants in the collaborative process that continues to shape the professional world.

I am pleased to announce that in Fall 2018 we are embarking on a partnership with the American Dance Festival (ADF). After a successful six-year partnership with the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, followed by a three-year partnership with the Trisha Brown Dance Company, we looked to the place where so many contemporary choreographers began their historic entrance into the professional dance world. In response to a focused theme of inquiry, artists from ADF’s roster will be selected to partner with Dance Program faculty to teach intensive courses in a range of dynamic dance practices. There will be a week-long residency each year for a featured artist enabling students to observe up close new and exciting work in progress. This innovative partnership gives Bard students the unique opportunity to work closely with a rotating roster of exciting new and established artists during their undergraduate course of study.

Dancers who are interested in becoming majors spend their first three semesters taking courses in technique and composition. At the end of this period, both the students and the dance faculty will have come to understand whether or not dance is an appropriate major.

Intending and current dance majors are required to register for two dance technique classes each week. Dance majors are required to explore their creative potential as choreographers and are given the opportunity to see their work produced in LUMA Theater, one of the two performance spaces in the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts. There are at least five productions each year open to the public. In addition to creating original choreography to present onstage, dance majors must also complete course work in and outside the dance program.

One of the most significant advantages we have at Bard College is one of geography: we are ninety miles north of New York City. Students are encouraged to exploit this circumstance to the fullest, and we often organize trips to attend performances at theaters both large and small. Our proximity to New York also allows us to draw on our professional peers to make guest appearances in the Program, whether for guest lectures, creative workshops, or semester-long courses of study.

We encourage you to come to campus and make a point of visiting the Dance Program. You are welcome to observe classes and even take a technique class while here. Please be sure to let us know when you are coming so that we can make appropriate arrangements for a tour, class participation, or at least a conversation. 

Maria Simpson
Dance Program