Department/Program Description.

The Dance Department at Wesleyan is a contemporary program with a global perspective. The curriculum, faculty research, and pedagogy all center on the relationships between theory and practice, embodied learning, and the potential dance making has to be a catalyst for social change. Within that rigorous context, students encounter a diversity of approaches to making, practicing, and analyzing dance in an intimate learning atmosphere. The program embraces classical forms from ballet, Bharata Natyam, Javanese, and Ghanaian, to experimental practices that fuse tradition and experimentation into new, contemporary forms.

The emphasis of the major is on creating original scholarship, be it choreographic or written, that views dance within a specific cultural context, interrogates cultural assumptions, and is informed by a critical and reflective perspective.

Preregistration is possible for many dance courses. All students interested in registering for dance classes should access Wesmaps concerning procedures for acceptance into specific courses. Students majoring in dance or indicating strong curricular commitment to dance will be given enrollment preference in all permission-of-instructor courses.

Major Requirements.

Course work for the major includes composition, dance techniques, dance histories, research methods, pedagogy, ethnography, improvisation, anatomy, repertory, and dance and technology.

Required Courses.

DANC249/250 Dance Composition (Gateway course series for the major, taken fall and spring semesters of sophomore year)

2.00 Credits

DANC371 Choreography Workshop (Taken Fall or Spring of junior year)

1.00 Credit

DANC105 Dance Production Techniques

0.50 Credit

Dance Techniques

6 classes total @ 0.50 credits each (Students must achieve Level II in at least 2 traditions and one of those should be Modern Dance.)

3.00 Credits

Dance Technique Course Options

(Students must take classes in at least 2 traditions and achieve a level of Modern II)

  • DANC211 Modern Dance I, DANC215 Modern Dance II, DANC309 Modern Dance III
  • DANC202 Ballet I, DANC302 Ballet II
  • DANC208 Jazz Dance I, DANC213 Jazz: Hip Hop
  • DANC260 West African Dance I, DANC360 West African Dance II, DANC365 West African Dance III
  • DANC251 Javanese Dance I
  • DANC261 Bharata Natyam I: Introduction of South Indian Classical Dance, DANC362 Bharata Natyam II: Embracing the Traditional and the Modern
DANC435/445 Advanced Dance Practice A/B 0.50 Credit
Two classes 0.25 Credits each
One methodology course above the 200 level 1.00 Credit

Methodology Course Options

  • DANC375 American Dance History
  • DANC377 Perspectives in Dance as Culture: Dance as Research/Research as Choreography
Two Electives 2.00 Credits

Elective Course Options

  • DANC301 Anatomy and Kinesiology
  • DANC341 Dance Teaching Workshop: Theory into Practice
  • DANC354 Improvisational Forms
  • DANC375 American Dance History
  • DANC377 Perspectives on Dance as Culture: Dancing Bodies, Cultures, and Environments
  • DANC378 Repertory and Performance: Dramatizing Baroque Dance in Seven Deadly Sins

Senior project or thesis in dance

  • DANC398 / Senior Colloquium in Dance Researh

1.00 or 2.00 Credits

.50 credit

Total Credits:

11.00 or 12.00 Credits
Capstone Experience.

All majors complete a capstone experience, either a one-semester senior project or a two-semester senior thesis.


Dance majors who wish to be candidates for departmental honors must complete senior research in the form of a thesis. Projects are not eligible for the award of honors. The student's proposed research design will be revised and finalized in consultation with the student's prospective tutor and should reflect the special interests and talents of the individual student. The award of honors or high honors is based on the scope and excellence of the thesis and on the student's creative work.

To receive the award of honors, a thesis must follow these guidelines:

  • The honors thesis typically consists of approximately 20 minutes of group choreography (usually two 10-minute dances) and an 80- to 100-page research paper situating the choreography within an aesthetic and historical context.
  • It must involve enough work to warrant two credits.

Each honors candidate is required to make a commitment to candidacy in advance. The student must file a written statement of his or her intention to stand for departmental honors with both the department and the Honors College. The department will nominate candidates for departmental honors to the Honors College. Nominations will occur only if it appears reasonably certain that the candidate's work will be completed on time and in the desired form. The department in cooperation with the Honors College will arrange suitable mid-April deadlines for performances and the submission of theses.

Each honors thesis will have two readers. One of these must be chosen from outside the Dance Department. The department will base its recommendation for departmental honors upon the readers' written evaluations and joint recommendations.