Ann Cooper Albright, Professor of Dance; Chair
Talise Campbell, Visiting Assistant Professor of Africana Studies/Dance
Holly Handman-Lopez, Visiting Assistant Professor of Dance
Alysia Ramos, Assistant Professor of Dance
Robert Wesner, Visiting Instructor of Dance
The Oberlin Dance Department encourages students to create, perform, and think about movement in a manner that is consonant with their experience in the other fine and liberal arts. The curriculum offers various approaches to the study of movement, from creation and performance to physical techniques, critical inquiry and somatic studies.
Dance at Oberlin is characterized by its commitment to experimentation and to the creation of original work. Student, faculty and guest artist choreography is presented throughout the year in formal concerts, and in a regular series of showcases. Outstanding resources for artistic collaboration with student and faculty directors, designers, composers, musicians, and video artists are found in Theater, the Conservatory of Music, Cinema Studies, and the Art Department.
Movement classes are offered in a range of genres and levels in order to support the physical, intellectual and imaginative process of becoming a dance artist. These courses serve all students, including those who wish to explore dance as part of their broader education, those pursuing dance in combination with related arts, and those who intend to dance professionally.
Students have the opportunity to explore somatic studies through courses that focus on alignment, movement integration and meditative practice. The concentration in somatic studies offers an excellent preparation for a lifetime of personal health and work in a broad range of therapeutic fields.
The Dance Department also provides a focus in critical inquiry. These courses examine the historical contexts and theoretical frameworks of a variety of dance traditions while encouraging students’ intellectual curiosity and willingness to explore new ideas. The practice of research and writing about dance in its cultural context develops an appreciation of dance as both an artistic and a sociological phenomenon.
In the second semester of the junior year qualified students may be admitted to the Honors Program in Dance. The Honors project may be either, 1) a creative project in dance performance or choreography, or 2) research in dance history, criticism, or theory resulting in a substantial written thesis. Any creative project also includes a significant research and written component. At the completion of the senior Honors Project, a panel consisting of the Honors student’s faculty advisor and at least two other faculty members, including a faculty member from outside the department, will examine the student’s work. Applications and further information concerning Honors work are available in the Dance Department office, Warner Center, and online.
Winter Term provides an opportunity for students to engage in individual projects or a group project sponsored by the faculty. Master teachers and guest choreographers are brought to campus each Winter Term to work with students for an intensive two or three-week period. In addition, students use this time to participate (at times with alumni of our program) in various off campus dance-related internships.
Off Campus Study
Before credit is awarded for off-campus study, students must obtain tentative prior approval from a member of the Dance faculty and the Office of Study Away. After the study is completed, the student must supply evidence of satisfactory participation. A maximum of 3 courses of off-campus study may be applied to the major in Dance.
Trinity/LaMama Performing Arts Program in New York
An intensive, one-semester Oberlin College Affiliated Program emphasizing interdisciplinary work in theater and dance that includes internships, seminars, studio classes and attendance at 45+ performances and events. Full semester’s credit is given through Trinity College, Hartford, CT. The program is offered in the fall semester only. Students interested in this interdisciplinary immersion in the arts in New York City should contact a member of the dance faculty for additional information.
GLCA Arts program in New York
The GLCA program consists of a semester of study, normally done during the junior year, in the areas of technique, performance, production, and related studies. A major focus of this program is an intensive internship with an artist or arts organization. In the past, the GLCA Program students have been placed with various theater companies, film and video studios, major dance studios, dance presenting organizations, dance critics, and stage designers. All arrangements for transferring credit must be made with a member of the Dance faculty before a student begins the GLCA Program.
Spring Semester at NYU’s Tisch School of Arts
An affiliated program designed to offer Oberlin students a concentrated semester of study in film production, film studies or musical theater. The program is offered in the spring semester only. Interested students should contact the Office of Study Away for application forms and detailed information about the program.
The Laban Centre in London, England
This year-long or fall semester affiliated program, administered through Butler University, offers a unique combination of study abroad in a vibrant artistic community along with rigorous dance training in technique, theory, and technical production. Students interested in this performance-based intensive should contact the Chair of the Dance Department for more information.