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Skidmore College


four dancers holding hands ina circle



Choose your own Path

The mission of the Dance Department is to link critical thinking, historical perspective, and creative discovery with the distinct skills derived from physically-sound studio practice, performance, and research. Skidmore provides a rigorous four-year experience that enables students to pursue the major or minor in a way that effectively supports their personal goals and ambitions.

Students pursue the major through one of two tracks: Performance/Choreography or Dance Research. Both tracks represent a combined course of study that includes intensive dance technique, history/criticism, research skills, improvisation, and composition classes. Both tracks lead to a bachelor of science degree, preparing students for a career in the fields of performance, choreography, dance education, dance therapies, arts administration, dance criticism, and research.

Over 70% of students in the department are double majors and many dancers design senior thesis projects that successfully and meaningfully align their double majors, demonstrating a commitment to both artistic excellence and interdisciplinary studies in dance. Recent graduates have earned degrees in both dance and exercise science, art history, English, theater, computer science, psychology, government, neuroscience, and biology (pre-med). Regardless of whether you major or minor, classes and performances are open to everyone. The Department is rooted in the belief that dance is an inclusive art, available for ALL bodies to practice.


The Performance/Choreography Track challenges students with professional and academic rigor while supporting artistic inquiry and personal potential. The Dance Department’s curriculum offers high-level technical training from faculty with rich professional backgrounds and features an immersion into compositional practices to support a strong foundation in choreographic language and performance skills. Students in this track focus on artistic development and have the flexibility to devise a schedule that is highly dance intensive while simultaneously taking advantage of Skidmore’s liberal arts environment.

The Dance Research Track allows students flexibility in their course choices while maintaining the rigor of the dance major. Students in this track are asked to define their own research concentration and then are given a flexible eight credits of coursework toward their dance major.

Students are encouraged to participate in independent studies engaging in their own research process and/or work as a research assistant on a faculty research initiative. Interdisciplinary research is strongly encouraged. This unique curricular path allows Skidmore dancers to engage in areas of study that are tailored to their own personal goals. Embracing the Skidmore mission of “Creative Thought Matters”, the Dance Research Track grants students both the space and the tools to forge their own path within the discipline of dance.


Click an image to learn about students’ experience in the Skidmore Dance Department

Sam Villanueva '17

Rachel Francis '17

Rachel Francis

Rachel Francis '17

Dance and Psychology Double Major

The professors provide not only support, but advice that actually prepares for dance outside Skidmore and dance as a career. I could not imagine developing into the artist that I am without them.

Monica Steffey '19

Jesse Kovarsky '10

Meaghan Cecilia Wood '17

Hannah Weighart '19



Life in the Department

Performance is a vital component of the program. The Dance Department annually produces two major concerts featuring work by full-time faculty as well as commissioned pieces and staged masterworks by internationally acclaimed guest artists (see complete list under “guest artists” tab.) Additionally, there are multiple performance opportunities available through senior capstone/CODA concerts, formal choreography course showings, independent choreographic studies, dance for film projects, faculty-led performance projects both on and off campus, and student-led dance organizations. Performance opportunities and concert auditions are open to all Skidmore students.

There are several opportunities for students to design Interdisciplinary and collaborative projects that focus on creative and scholarly engagement both on campus and beyond the Skidmore community. Additionally, funds available through Skidmore’s See Beyond program and the Dance Department’s Kathy and Charlie DiSanto Award support local, national, and international student initiatives, which have included internships, artistic residencies, and research projects across a wide range of interests. Past projects include:

  • Exploring the Lived Experience of Black Women Through Dance, Deeply Rooted Dance Theater, Chicago, Illinois
  • Insights on Classical Ballet Training and Postural Stability in Older Adults
  • Rescuing "Quichua" Language Through the Arts: Dance and Storytelling, Ecuador
  • Examining Neuromuscular Control of the Vastus Medialis Oblique and Vastus Lateralis During Foundational Dance Movements
  • International Education Internship, Dance-Therapy Focus, Mente Argentina, Buenos Aires
  • Comparing Injury Patterns in Liberal Arts College Female Dancers Versus Athletes: Should Dancers Adopt Periodization?
  • Internships at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, The AileyCamp, and Brown’s University School of Public Health
  • The Compositional Ethnographic Research of the Hungarian-Israeli Relationship Expressed Through Performance
  • Examining the Effect of Chronic Training and Performance on Heart Rate Variability in Collegiate Dancers
Dance CenterThe Dance Center adjoins the Sports and Recreation Center. It consists of three areas, including two spacious studios; a large dance, sport, and recreation area; and the fully equipped Dance Theater with adjoining dressing rooms.

The two dance studios (50' x 50′) have Harlequin Woodspring Basketweave System sprung-wood floors covered with Harlequin Studio Vinyl Floor, large windows, ballet barres, mirrors, baby grand pianos, and sound systems.

Dance TheaterThe Dance Theater is a 183-seat auditorium with a 46′ (wide) by 22′ (deep) sprung stage floor covered with Harlequin Studio Vinyl Floor. The theater has a repertory dance lighting plot, controlled by a ETC Element 40-250 channel light board with 120-2.4k dimmers. The sound system is powered by an Allen & Heath 36-channel mixing board. Three pairs of speakers create a balanced sound reproduction both in the house and on stage.

The Dance Theater is the center for dance activities during the academic year and hosts professional dance companies throughout the year.

Alumni Profiles

The Skidmore Dance Department encourages individual growth and development, supporting our graduates' ability to benefit from the diverse dance opportunities available today. Our alumni are members or directors of professional companies, dance therapists, arts administrators, lighting designers, stage managers, physical therapists, writers, choreographers and teachers. We are proud to have produced both a wide range of performing artists, and those who continue to have the performing arts as a part of their professional lives.

Alumni Profiles

Faculty & Staff Profiles

The Dance Department has six full-time and six part-time dance faculty, two full-time dance musicians, and a full-time technical director of the Dance Theater. Guest artists are regularly invited to choreograph works for our concerts as well as offer workshops, master classes, performances, and lectures for the campus community and general public.