About the Major
Dance majors at Reed exercise the critical skills valued throughout liberal arts education: the ability to approach and solve problems of many kinds, the ability to deeply investigate a subject matter, the ability to make informed choices from a range of possibilities and the ability to contextualize specific ideas and events among the modes of thought and cultural phenomena that shape our understanding of the world. Dance, as a field, is well suited to this endeavor because it develops one’s capacity for a multi-leveled understanding of a wide variety of phenomena—cultural, artistic and formal.
The department believes a Reed liberal arts education fosters a creative and contextual approach to dance. Reed dancers may pursue the established Dance-Theatre major or propose an ad-hoc interdisciplinary major; past graduates have pursued majors in dance/Spanish, dance/Russian, dance/psychology, and dance/history. In consultation with their advisors, seniors in the department undertake a yearlong thesis project, which may be entirely research-based, or in which research enhances an extensive creative project. With full support of the department, seniors pursuing creative thesis projects have the opportunity to stage a fully produced performance of their own work.
The department successfully prepares students—both majors and non-majors—for specialized work in dance at the graduate and professional levels. Reed alums pursue graduate degrees in dance, teach, choreograph, perform and write about dance professionally and work in dance outreach and arts administration. Recent honors given to Reed dance students have included the Watson Fellowship and grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Read about Sparkplug Dance, a dance education organization founded and directed by Reed Alum Rachael Carnes.