Learning in motion

For more information about Dance, please contact Associate Professor of Dance and Movement Studies Michelle Iklé at mikle@hws.edu.

Think, learn and grow as a student and person with a major or minor in Dance and Movement Studies, or as part of your liberal arts education. The department offers courses and performance opportunities in modern dance, jazz, ballet and African Diasporic dance forms and theory courses in dance history, improvisation, composition, pedagogy, kinesiology and somatics to support our four major tracks. Prior dance experience is not necessary and students can study a wide variety of disciplines including African Diasporic dance, ballet, jazz, modern and more. Many Dance and Movement Studies majors take advantage of the learning opportunities available to them at HWS by double majoring in other fields such as, but not limited to, Biology, Psychology or Education. The Dance and Movement Studies faculty are expert somatic educators, choreographers and performers with diverse scholarly interests. Students are often invited to participate in their research and encouraged to pursue independent projects. The department hosts world renowned choreographers and dancers from around the world, and students have the opportunity to work closely with them.




Student SpotlightInspiration to Contribute

Ahmed Wise '24

Inspired by the faculty and coursework of the Dance and Movement Studies Department, Ahmed will address community wellness and care needs as a Community Health Outreach Volunteer with the Peace Corps. 


Drew Scammell during research fellowship

And Research

Students have many opportunities for individual mentoring and research every year in the Dance and Movement Studies Department through the Junior/Senior Choreographers Concert, the Honors Program, Senior Symposium, Independent Studies and the Dance Research Colloquium.

Past examples of Honors projects include:

  • Ella Elizabeth Stier '23: Tracing a Dance Education Rooted in Improvisation
    Donna Davenport, Adviser 
  • Thompson Madegan Lynch ’21: Kinesthetic Consciousness: Improving Strength and Mobility of Body and Mind
    Donna Davenport, Adviser
  • Teianna E. Chenkovich ’18: Dance Constructing Play in Performance
    Donna Davenport, Adviser
  • Drew Scammell '18: Copyright and Choreography
    Cynthia Williams, Mentor 


Experiential EducationHands-on Learning

In the Dance and Movement Studies department, learning often goes beyond textbooks and lectures into embodied practice. You’ll gain high-impact practical experience that deepens learning and opens doors. Create choreography, perform in dance concerts on campus or regionally, teach dance in the community, and develop skills in dance administration and dance production.

Two main performances highlight this learning: The Faculty Dance Concert and the Junior/Senior Choreographers Concert.

faculty dance concert

The Faculty Dance Concert is an annual performance of original choreography by Dance and Movement Studies faculty and guest artists. Performances include both Dance and Movement Studies faculty and Hobart and William Smith student dancers. Select students collaborate with faculty choreographers in the Dance Ensemble course. The focus of the course is the creation and performance of new work for this annual spring concert, which showcases a variety of movement styles and themes.

Junior/Senior Choreographers Concert

The Junior/Senior Choreographers Concert is an annual performance of original choreography created by Dance majors and minors who have studied Dance Composition while at the Colleges. These eligible students propose work and are mentored throughout the choreographic process in this capstone experience. The result is a formal concert of adjudicated works, held every spring, which showcases a variety of movement styles and themes.  



No Borders:Global Education

Continue to dance abroad by studying traditional cultural dances, performing, or sharing American dance in Ireland, Argentina, Bali, South Africa, Italy, Germany, England or Vietnam, to name a few destinations where HWS students pursue dance studies.

Wherever you go, our top-ranked global education program will allow you to apply classroom knowledge, develop cultural understanding and build global connections that expand your personal capacity and sense of purpose.


Belonging, Diversity and Equity

The Dance and Movement Studies department has been committed to diversity, inclusion and belonging since its inception. Since the movement of the body is at the center of dance, all bodies are invited and welcomed into those movement experiences. Students from all dance cultures are encouraged to study dance at HWS.

Diversity, equity and sense-of-belonging show up within all dance courses through accessible content and teaching methods and are focal points of multiple courses.

As a Dance and Movement Studies student, choose your own path: develop artistry, skills and knowledge, and connect dance to other fields of study.

DAN 230 - Community Arts: Activism Embodied 

Examine the relationship between the arts, wellness, and social justice, and promote multiple forms of activism.

DAN 950 - Jamaican Dance II

Increase your knowledge of traditional and contemporary Jamaican dance and culture.

DAN 305 - Somatics 

Investigate the leading body-mind practices and their relationship to wellness, personal agency, therapy, and education.

EDUC 335 - Arts and Education

Explore the ways in which the arts serve human development


FacilitiesSpaces to Grow

Gearan Center for the Performing Arts

View a gallery of our state-of-the-art performance spaces.

Providing high quality lighting, sound and visual effects, the Gearan Center for the Performing Arts serves as the home of the Dance and Movement Studies department.

The department takes advantage of two studios in particular:

  • Dance Studio 104
    a 2,400 square-foot marley covered sprung wood floor classroom provides rehearsal space complete with barres and mirrors.
  • Deming Theatre
    a 5,000 square-foot marley covered sprung classroom that can transform into a 250-seat performance venue with high quality sound and lighting options.
  • Additional Dance spaces include a seminar room, dressing rooms, a large costume suite, and a student lounge.  

The Dance department also utilizes a studio in Winn-Seeley Gymnasium for glasses, rehearsals and student dance clubs. 


Alum ImpactFinding the Perfect Path

shaahida samuel '19
phd candidate at temple university 

Shaahida arrived at HWS planning on majoring in the sciences. After taking courses in Dance and with the guidance of the department's professors, she set herself up for a career in dance education. 

Drew Scammell '18
Philanthropy and Strategic Partnerships Assistant, American Association for the Advancement of Science

Drew got involved with Dance at HWS first by joining a student dance club, later by auditioning for the Faculty Dance Concert, and, eventually, declaring a dance major. A triple major at HWS, Drew let his interests define his academic path and was encouraged by his faculty advisers at every turn.

companies that employ our Dance and Movement Studies graduates 

  • Achievement First Brooklyn High School
  • Alfred State College
  • Antioch University
  • BioDance Company
  • Bodyful Physical Therapy and Wellness
  • Culver Academies
  • Dance Vision Company
  • Dancing Arts Academy
  • Olive Prince Dance Company
  • Pilates of Rochester
  • Spotlight Dance Center

Universities where our Dance and Movement Studies graduates are studying

  • Columbia University
  • Lesley University
  • NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development
  • NYU Tisch School for the Arts
  • Sarah Lawrence College
  • Temple University
  • University of Oregon
  • SUNY College at Brockport 
  • SUNY Buffalo