What does Dance mean to you? For some of us it is a movement form, hundreds of years old that we practice in a studio at a barre, or in front of a mirror, or simply one-on-one with a master teacher, with the hope of one day perfecting our skills and taking them into the performance arena. Some of us learn it in the street or from our families, passed down through generations. Maybe we dance at a party, a wedding, or in the privacy of our own room to music we hear on our ipods or in our heads. What we know for sure is that Dance is an enduring human activity. Dance can just be fun or it can be very serious. It has functioned over distant time and across many cultures as a spiritual, political, economic, sexual, psychological, social, aesthetic, recreational and semiotic behavior. As art and ritual it has measured, captured, recorded the ongoing human embrace of life or inquiry into the nature and purpose of our existence. And so, we invite students to meet dance in the studio, on the stage, in the seminar room, in the community, and wherever else it exists.
Because dance can be so many things to each of us, our program is designed to meet the needs and interests of the diverse student population that comprises both Bryn Mawr and Haverford Colleges. We can welcome the newcomer or support the continued progress of those students with prior training. We offer a range of movement technique courses at levels appropriate to students' skill and training. We offer performance/ensemble courses and other opportunities for students to hone their performance skills and to perform for audiences on and off campus. We offer a sequence of courses in composition and choreography that enables a student to experience dance as a creative act and, if she or he chooses, to continue to study the art of making dances at more complex and sophisticated levels. We offer a slate of lecture/seminar courses designed to invite students to learn more about what dance is and has been and to introduce them to dance as a vital area of academic inquiry. Our professional faculty is drawn from Philadelphia-based, national, and international companies. Many are also recipients of grants and prestigious choreographic fellowships, and many have undergraduate or graduate degrees in dance or related disciplines. In addition, we bring guest artists and lecturers to campus, sponsor field trips to dance events and performances, and support student initiatives in dance related projects or events.
Although it is never easy to juggle dance classes with an intense academic schedule, we try to provide flexibility within the program so that students can carve out a dance life and a dance schedule that meets their needs and interest in any given semester. Dance courses can count towards fulfilling the PE requirement, or can fulfill part of the divisional academic requirements or, if there is space in a class, you can simply attend as an audit because you just love dancing. Students can also formally document their studies here either through a Dance Minor or through creating an Independent Major in Dance. Some of our undergraduates do go on in the field of dance - as performers, or in related fields such as ethnology, therapy, or criticism, or as researchers or academics. Others decide that they will choose majors or plan to go on to careers outside of dance but continue to dance at a level that satisfies them while here at Bryn Mawr or Haverford. But, importantly, many of our alumnae have commented on the value that dance had for them as undergraduates and continues to have as they find ways to integrate their interest in dance into their lives beyond the college.
Dance at Bryn Mawr reflects our mission to sustain your development in and cultivate your understanding of dance by enabling and supporting your work at whatever level of engagement is compatible with your talent, prior training, and academic schedule. Bryn Mawr's Dance Program is comprised not just of challenging courses and an excellent faculty, but of bright, talented, and enthusiastic students as well. It is they who help make the program as lively and rich as it is. We hope you will consider joining us at Bryn Mawr, helping to continue the tradition of dance here, and, perhaps, helping to create new avenues for dance in the future.