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About the Department

B.A., M.F.A. in Dance

The Smith College Department of Dance is designed to give students a broad view of dance in preparation for professional performance careers, as a training ground for choreographers, or to prepare for study in graduate dance programs. Students who do not intend to pursue dance professionally are also welcome. In both the undergraduate and graduate programs at Smith the faculty is dedicated to fostering each student's unique talents as the student explores creative dance experiences. The Smith College Department of Dance is a member of the exemplary Five College Dance Department.

An undergraduate liberal arts college for women, Smith is known for its academic excellence. The department works out of four studios, two dedicated theatres and one informal theatre. The Josten Library for the Performing Arts maintains an outstanding dance collection. There is a fully staffed costume and scene shop in the performing arts center. Most technique classes are taught with live music.

Courses include contemporary modern, ballet, jazz, West African, dance history, dance composition, cultural studies, anatomy-kinesiology, and advanced seminars in special topics. Students are encouraged to study and perform at other schools in the Five College Dance Department. A fare-free bus system connects the campuses. There is no mandatory core curriculum at Smith and interdisciplinary studies are encouraged. Senior majors complete a thesis course and a choreographic or research project.

There are four full-time faculty (including a staff musician), eight graduate teaching fellows and several professional adjuncts and part-time musicians. Master classes and workshops are often given by artists who are performing at the Fine Arts Center at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. The dance department sponsors regular master classes and special workshops, often led by members of such national touring dance companies as Mark Morris, Trisha Brown and Company and Urban Bush Women. Recent visitors have included guests from Ballet Theatre du Bourdeau, the Alvin Ailey Dance Company, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company.

Opportunities are plentiful for students, majors, and non-majors to perform or to present their own choreography. Throughout the year there are faculty, M.F.A. and undergraduate choreographed concerts at Smith, and additional performance opportunities at the other four schools. The department supports an autonomous undergraduate dance company called Celebrations. Smith graduates have gone on in the dance world to perform and choreograph on the national and regional levels, to direct their own companies, and to teach in colleges and universities.

Smith College is located in Northampton, Massachusetts, a small and culturally active city, two hours from Boston and three hours from New York City. The application deadline is January 15 for fall admission; November 15 for early decision. Graduate auditions take place in February.