Division of the Arts


The Bard Dance Program sees the pursuit of artistry and intellect as a single endeavor and the study of the body as a cognitive act, demanding both physical practice and exploration of the broader academic contexts in which the art form exists. The program fosters the discovery of a dance vocabulary that is meaningful to the dancer/choreographer and essential to his or her creative ambitions. This discovery leads students to cultivate original choices that are informed by a full exploration of their surroundings and to find expression in new and dynamic ways. Through intensive technique and composition courses, onstage performance, and production experience, dance students are prepared to understand and practice the art of choreography and performance.

In fall 2015, the Dance Program began a multiyear partnership with the Trisha Brown Dance Company (TBDC). Under the leadership of TBDC artistic codirectors Carolyn Lucas and Diane Madden and director of education Nico Brown, the partnership brings Trisha Brown’s artistic philosophies and practices to Bard through undergraduate courses, interdisciplinary collaborations, campus-wide events, and public performances. The full company will be in residence one to three weeks each year.

Areas of Study
The Dance Program offers technique courses in ballet and modern dance as well as courses in composition, dance history, dance science, performance and production, and dance repertory.

Prior to Moderation, students must take a minimum of four credits in technique and six credits in dance composition. All moderating students must submit choreography for consideration in one of the year’s two Moderation dance concerts. Each moderating student must present performance work for acceptance into the major. Once accepted, students may choose to concentrate in creative work, performance, or both.

Once a student moderates, requirements for the major include two courses in technique per semester, including three ballet courses; three levels of dance composition (if concentrating in performance, two levels); Dance 355, Anatomy for the Dancer; Dance 360, Dance History: Modernity and Postmodernity, a music course; two courses in practicing arts disciplines outside of dance; an additional history course outside of the Dance Program; a writing and/or criticism course (e.g., Philosophy and the Arts); a full year of technique under the Dance Program professional partnership (TBDC); and Junior/Senior Seminar. Additionally, attendance at Dance Workshop is required of all majors. Held each semester, the workshop helps students prepare for any one of four annual productions. For the Senior Project, students prepare choreography, performance, or other material of appropriate scope for public presentation. All Senior Projects include a 20- to 30-page paper that synthesizes interests in areas outside of dance where appropriate and relates these processes to the development of the specific work presented.

Recent Senior Projects in Dance

  • “Artistic Evolution in Argentine Tango: Tensions between Tradicional and Nuevo”
  • “Improvisation: Memory and Body Pathways”
  • “The Little Trickle / Understanding Dance as a Method of Resistance”
  • “Video and Performance in an Age of Screen Images; Choreography: ‘The View From,’ ‘For, Day,’ and ‘Emma’s Belvedere’”

Program Website:


Program Director: Maria Simpson
Phone: 845-758-7996
E-mail: msimpson@bard.edu


Souleymane Badolo
Jean Churchill
Lindsay Walker Clark
Leah Cox
Peggy Florin
Peter Kyle
Tara Lorenzen
Cori Olinghouse
Maria Quinlan Simpson


Jennifer Lown