The dance curriculum at Marlboro serves students across the college. Students in many fields of study choose to take a dance class (or more than one!) as part of their liberal arts education, and there are many courses that do not require prior experience. Students who become serious about dance advance to the higher level courses and may take up to three dance courses a semester. Contemporary/modern dance technique courses are offered consistently, with courses in Contact Improvisation, Senegalese Dance, Ballet, and Anatomy offered periodically. At least one choreography course and one dance history/theory course are offered each year. Numerous visiting artists enliven the dance program with master classes and performances each semester.
Students wishing to focus their Plan work on dance do so in a variety of ways. The majority concentrate on choreographing original work, while others focus on dance as a practice rather than a performance, looking at issues in social dance, dance movement therapy, improvisation, experiential anatomy, etc. Dance study can also be used as a lens into questions of embodiment that come up in a variety of interdisciplinary contexts.
Students who wish to pursue a Plan of Concentration in Dance generally begin with physical movement practices and then move into a study of composition (choreography and improvisation) and dance history and theory, though other pathways are possible. Dance Plan students must take at least one semester of Choreography (preferably two), at least one dance history/theory course (such as Dance in World Cultures, Dance as Social Action, Dance and Gender, etc.), and be engaged regularly in physical study of movement techniques; in addition, Anatomy of Movement is recommended for all dance Plan students. It is preferable that students going on Plan in dance begin taking choreography and history/theory courses during the sophomore year, as this helps generate ideas for Plan work and it allows students to pursue more advanced preparatory work during the junior year. At a minimum, students requesting to go on Plan in dance should be engaged in the study of one or more dance techniques by the end of sophomore year and have a plan for taking the other required courses during the junior year.
In addition, to prepare for Plan work in dance, students are encouraged to study broadly across the curriculum to discover inspiration for their choreography and research and to gain exposure to various modes of thinking. The discipline of dance draws heavily on theories from anthropology, sociology, psychology, politics, music, theater, visual arts and film. Recent students have also found connections between dance and religion, chemistry, biology, literature, education, creative writing, and history. Students wishing to go on Plan in dance are strongly encouraged to take at least one course in each of the four broad areas of the curriculum.