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 2018, the Dance Program began a multiyear partnership with the American Dance Festival. Coordinated by ADF dean and Bard dance faculty member Leah Cox, the partnership brings cuttingedge and diverse dance artists to Bard through undergraduate courses, artist residencies, interdisciplinary collaborations, campus-wide events, and public performances.

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 4 credits in technique and 6 credits in 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; at least one course in a dance form or practice of the African diaspora; three levels of dance composition (if concentrating in performance, two levels); Dance 355, Anatomy for the Dancer; Dance 335, Problems in Dance and Performance History: The Postmodern Shift, 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 (ADF); 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

  • “Being Soft in a Hard Place: Embodied Explorations in Fitness Culture, Basketball Courts, and the Potential of Moving Differently”
  • “Of Merce and Men: Dancing American Mediocrity”
  • “On Elegance, Form, and Function: Exploring the Nexus between Scientific Research and Movement Research”
  • “So Many (No Need) Choices”
The Dance Program is located in The Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts, where facilities include two studios and a fully equipped, 200-seat theater.

The Dance Program offers 100-level studio classes for first-year students and other beginning dancers; 200-level classes, which are open to all students at the intermediate level of technique; and 300-level classes, open to all students with the experience appropriate for an advanced-level course. All dance studio classes have live musical accompaniment. Tutorials arise out of a student’s interest in delving deeply into a subject that is not generally covered in the curriculum. Topics have included dance pedagogy, partnering technique, pointe work, and specific elements of dance history and dance science.

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
Tara Lorenzen
Maria Quinlan Simpson


Jennifer Lown
Pamela Tanowitz