Mission Statement and Learning Goals for the Major


Mission of the Dance Program

The Dance Program at Middlebury College focuses on the creation of original creative work in a context that is interdisciplinary, grounded in both biological and environmental perspectives, and deeply connected to the current dance field.  The program distinguishes itself through a rich curricular tradition of improvisation, somatic learning, and utilization of the arts in the quest for cultural and environmental awareness.  

Our core curriculum consists of a series of courses in contemporary approaches to technique, composition and performance, experiential anatomy and somatics, dance history and cultural study, creative process, and improvisation. Further depth and range, tailored to the strengths and interests of each student, are achieved through study in theatre, art, music, philosophy, and other disciplines represented in the larger Middlebury curriculum.

Joint and full dance majors propose independent projects in their senior years. Projects, which often culminate in performance but which may take many forms, are designed to deepen learning and cultivate special areas of research or creative interest. Many of our students study abroad during their junior year joining programs all over the world that support their investigations of dance in other cultures.

Goals for graduating majors in Dance

Dance majors have the option of emphasizing one of three foci in dance:  choreography and performance, dance scholarship, or somatics.  Our majors are expected to have a scholarly and embodied perspective of their studies regardless of special focus.  In addition, all of our graduating students are expected to:

  • attain an intermediate/advanced level of proficiency in contemporary dance techniques;
  • cultivate the craft and imagination to choreograph and produce successful, original, contemporary dance works;
  • gain experience in the theatrical possibilities of lighting design and digital video;
  • achieve a perspective on creative processes across the arts;
  • acquire a broad understanding of historical and cultural values expressed through dance;
  • understand anatomy and kinesiology in the context of culture and the environment;
  • demonstrate the ability to pursue scholarly research and presentation;
  • develop the ability to articulate, to those familiar and unfamiliar with the field, the interdisciplinary aspects of dance and the potential for dance to both reflect and impact culture;
  • successfully complete an original, independent senior performance project or written thesis that demonstrates the emergence of their own artistic/scholarly voice.