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Harvard has just opened a new dance center.


I received this notice about their opening program, and I'm posting it here as it provides some insight into the kind of dance they are doing. I think it is interesting that they emphasize that students auditioned for the pieces:


On December 9 and 10, at 8pm, the Harvard Dance Program will showcase the talents of Harvard student dancers in the Harvard Dance Center Inaugural Concert....



The Harvard Contemporary Dance Ensemble will dance this featured work of the evening. José Limón’s classic, ....Limón choreographed this piece to Bach’s Musical Offering to memorialize Humphrey’s choreographic inspiration through sculptural movement.


Set on the Harvard dancers in early September by former Limón dancer Jennifer Scanlon, the auditioned students worked intensively under Scanlon’s tutelage in a weeklong workshop before the Harvard academic calendar kicked in for Fall 2005. During this teaching period they were introduced to the Limón style, learned his choreography and studied the history of Limón, his work and his company.


Early in the academic year, Boston Ballet’s Gianni DiMarco and Jodi Leigh Allen, currently dancing with the Metropolitan Opera Dance Company, held additional auditions. The result – an exciting new work en pointe, and Red Trance - a dark, seductive jazz piece accompanied by a percussive urban score.


Students create as well as perform in the Harvard program. Rose Hunt, a work by Ebonie Hazle (’06) will be performed on the Inaugural program, and again at the American College Dance Festival Regional Conference at Boston University this winter. The only undergraduate work on the program, the piece is danced to cello solo Chaconne from Suite #2 in D minor by J.S.Bach.


A recent alum and winner of Harvard’s Suzanne Farrell Dance Award, Rebecca Alaly (’05) is premiering a new work choreographed to an original sound score by New York composer Chris Peck. Recent Harvard alums will dance Alaly’s work


For tickets: Harvard Box Office


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  • 5 months later...
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I heard rumors that Harvard is recruiting dancers from SAB because they are trying to improve their dance program. Does anybody know if there is truth in this or have more information?

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And I heard a rumor that the moon is made of green cheese. Let's remember the board policy on rumor and propaganda. :yucky:

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Does anyone know if the Harvard Dance program is actually part of the school's curriculum so that students get course credit? Or is it an extra curricular activity such as the symphony orchestra?

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I'm pretty sure that most dance courses are extracurricular. There may be a few "movement" courses in the Dramatic Arts department that can be taken for credit. There is certainly no Dance Department in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Harvard is pretty ... um, particular when it comes to offering credit. Some might say snobby.


DD received mixed messages when she visited Harvard. Admissions receptionist shrugged when asked where the dance studios were. Student friend finally directed her to the Office of the Arts, which was very welcoming and vibrant. Harvard has a very, very rich extracurricular life in general, and dance appears to be no exception. Good range of regular classes, master classes, visiting performers, etc.


Fendrock, that emphasis on auditioning is curious, isn't it? It sure reads as an attempt to gain legitimacy, i.e. "not your ordinary student production." I think that at a lot of institutions that don't have a dance deparment, the dance clubs or troupes or whatever are pretty much come one, come all. Perhaps they are trying to distinguish themselves from that type of performance.

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Teefrog, are the dance studios situated in the drama department then?

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  • 4 months later...

Please check the links provided in an earlier post for further information on opportunities to dance while in college as a Harvard undergraduate. I will just second some of the information in previous posts and add a bit more info. As already mentioned, the department is extracurricular—so no credit offered except for a very few specialized classes, but there are three levels of ballet offered as well as modern, also divided by levels. I am not sure if the jazz and West African classes are divided into levels, and yoga and Pilates are offered as well. Master classes have been offered in the past with Susan Shields, Mary Cochran, and Suzanne Farrell. Mikko Nissenen has also made presentations (lecture/demos) as well as teaching an occasional class. Other Boston Ballet faculty and former dancers also rotate as class teachers. There are several performance opportunities, as well as chances to choreograph, and as stated, auditions are part of all these processes (including auditions for the Harvard Ballet Company itself).


With the proximity of Boston Ballet and José Mateo's Ballet Theatre right in Cambridge itself at the edge of Harvard Square, there are excellent off campus studios where students can take class as well. I do not believe the dance department is organized at the level described for Princeton on that thread, but there are many ambitious improvements coming about in recent years. This year they have an amazing array of opportunities for serious dancers including the chance to work with Heather Watts, Damian Woetzel, and Katie Tracey of New York City Ballet as well as to perform the choreography of several prestigious modern companies: Limón, Battleworks, Graham, and Mark Morris, as well as the chance to learn and perform ballroom and Fosse style. Since, as previously mentioned, this dance department is strictly extra curricular, no one is taking class to meet requirements. Everyone is there because they want to be. This has its positive side.


There always seem to be students here who have danced professionally before attending Harvard. For example, I spoke with one student who was a former member of ABT's Studio company. I certainly have not heard anything about "recruitment" from SAB as one poster mentions a rumor to this effect, but I do know some former SAB students have enrolled (I believe this must be on their own initiative as I cannot seriously imagine Harvard soliciting applications in this way since there is absolutely no shortage of applicants and no precedent for such a policy). DTH also listed one of their graduating award winning pre-pro students on their website as an incoming Harvard student. I believe this level of dancer attending is not an isolated occurence, but I am only mentioning information I can personally verify. How many attend Harvard and then go on to have careers, I don't know, but I did see one member of José Mateo's Ballet Theatre who was listed as a Harvard graduate. I have heard about other cases as well, but also haven't followed these up to verify. Maybe someone with more information could supplement this.


If you have the academic record to consider Harvard (and let's be realistic, it's always a long shot for this school), please don't hesitate to apply. They appreciate ballet dancers in the admissions office and understand the hard work it takes to train pre-professionally and maintain such high academic standards. They will look at a videotape as part of an applicant's supplementary submission materials.


Best of luck to this year's applicants.

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  • 1 month later...

Just a quick update on the Harvard dance program this fall. Here is a link describing a show under the direction of the Harvard (student run) ballet company.






The dancers are working with the professional ballet masters and mistresses of the companies involved. The chance to learn and perform choreography like this (in so many different styles!) is rare even in 'real' professional companies where many dancers this age would probably not get such diverse experiences. Pretty good opportunities for a school that doesn't even offer a dance or ballet major.

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Seems like a nice time to be involved with this program...I should make an effort to see a performance. Programs can change, but at the moment, it seems to be kind of exciting in Harvard Square. That's great for ballet :)

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  • 5 weeks later...

I found this article during a recent surf. It has an interesting interview with some of the American Grace dancers--all first year students. The choices these students made, their pre college training and experiences , as well as their future plans make for interesting reading, especially in light of the discussions here at BT4D. Follow this link:




I cannot find a review of the show itself, but will keep looking as it would be interesting to see how it went. Maybe lampwick, who was planning to attend, can let us know...

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I'm so sorry, and thanks for reminding. I'm a total *Nut* right now, across the street...very busy.


The dancers I see who "wander in" from this program in the few open classes I manage to attend look very good indeed. Don't know how representative they are...but it looks like a decent program at the moment from what I've seen and heard, limited as that may be.


I'll do my best to check it out.

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  • 4 months later...

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