Information for New Students Interested in Dance
We are glad that you have chosen to make St. Olaf your college home for the next four years! There are many exciting ways to get involved with the Dance Department throughout your time here, so we have included a list of items that will give you a great place to start.
Register for DANCE 100: Introduction to Dance, MWF 11:50-12:45pm
This is the introductory course into the dance program and should be taken by all prospective dance majors. The class consists of a mix of lectures, student presentations, experiential movement labs, and performance attendance that aim to widen your perceptions about dance, regardless of level of experience. It’s a great way for majors and non-majors alike to broadly experience dance from many perspectives. Plus, the class fulfills the Artistic Studies (ALS-A) and Oral Communication (ORC) general education requirements, so you can’t really go wrong! A full listing of dance classes can be found on the class and lab viewer.
Register for a movement-intensive dance course
The Dance Department offers a wide range of courses where learning is accomplished primarily by moving, such as: DANCE 112: African Fusion I; DANCE 113: Hip Hop; DANCE 109: International Dance I; DANCE 111: Modern Dance I; DANCE 210/211: Modern Dance II; DANCE 121: Ballet I; or DANCE 220/221: Ballet II. To provide for optimum growth and physical safety, participation in Companydance, one of the department dance companies, requires enrollment in a movement-intensive dance course. Most of these courses can be taken for .25 or .50 credits and are easy to fit into a class schedule. A full listing of dance classes can be found on the class and lab viewer.
Attend a Dance Department information session
These sessions are intended to give you an overview of the department. We’ll talk about the various course offerings we have, the ins and outs of the dance major, and the many performance opportunities available on campus. You’ll get to connect with some of our faculty to get any of your questions answered. There will be four sessions on Monday, September 3 during Week One, so plan on attending one of them.
1:30–2:00pm, 2:10–2:40pm, 2:50–3:20pm, and 3:30–4:00pm.
Get involved with First Year Dance Project and Companydance©
First Year Dance Project (FYDP) is a cohort of new student dancers that work on a unique movement piece with each faculty member, while growing together as a community of dancers. FYDP is open to all new students that audition for Companydance, one of our student dance companies. To provide for optimum growth and physical safety, participation in Companydance requires enrollment in a movement-intensive dance course. First Year Dance Project rehearses weekly on Tuesdays from 3:00–5:00pm and Thursdays from 3:45–5:45pm. Most other Companydance pieces follow a similar afternoon rehearsal schedule according to faculty. You are encouraged to attend both information sessions prior to the audition.
First Year Dance Project introductory session: Wednesday, September 5 from 3:45–4:30pm in the Center for Art and Dance Studio 1.
Companydance/First Year Dance Project audition information session: Friday, September 7 from 3:30-4:30pm in the Center for Art and Dance Studio 1.
Auditions for Companydance and First Year Dance Project: Tuesday, September 11 from 4:00–5:30pm in the Center for Art and Dance Studio 1. *(If you have a schedule conflict, an alternative audition date will be held on Monday, September 10 from 3:30–5:30pm.)
Get involved with the Veselica© International Dance Ensemble
Veselica (pronounced Veh-SELL-eetsah) is our international dance company. Led by artistic director and Assistant Professor Anne von Bibra, Veselica strives to share dances from a wide array of global cultures through several on- and off-campus performances each year. The ensemble is open to all students and rehearses weekly on Tuesdays from 3:15–5:15 and Thursdays from 3:45–5:30. You are encouraged to attend the information session prior to the audition.
Veselica information session: Wednesday, September 5 from 3:00 – 3:45pm in the Center for Art and Dance Studio 3.
Auditions for Veselica: Tuesday, September 11 from 3:00pm – 4:30pm in the Center for Art and Dance Studio 3. *(Those who also wish to audition for Companydance may leave early to do so.)
Attend the Dance Department majors dinner
Join the dance majors and faculty for a pack-out dinner on Tuesday, September 25 at 5:30pm! This is a great way to get to know the dance community in a friendly, relaxed environment. The dinner will be in the Center for Art and Dance 202. Whether you are considering majoring in dance or not, we would love to have your company.
Please feel free to contact or visit us if you have any questions. We look forward to dancing with you!
About the Dance Department
The Department of Dance is committed to teaching and presenting dance as a vital form of embodied awareness, understanding, communication, and expression — all of which are central to the liberal arts and fine arts traditions.
Dance students at St. Olaf will find:
- A student-centered, non-competitive program with opportunities for majors and non-majors alike to take classes and audition for all performing companies
- Two performance venues and three beautiful studios with full video, sound, and technology support systems
- Live music for ballet, modern, and improvisation classes
- Emphasis on experiential anatomy and body awareness
- Faculty who have a range of professional dance experience, with strong connections to the vibrant Twin Cities dance community
- One of only two departments in the state that is an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Dance
The studies and experiences provided by the Dance Department guide students toward lives and careers with strong physical, creative, and analytical skills at their foundation. Dance majors come away from St. Olaf with the ability to manage, direct, and perform with professional companies or as freelance artists. Some pursue graduate study in dance therapy, teaching, choreography, performance, or the somatic disciplines, while others enter related fields, such as the healing professions, arts management, psychology, environmental studies, and the media.
In short, a degree in Dance from St. Olaf engages students in the study of dance as a personal art, a cultural art, and a fine art, preparing them for a wide range of life and career possibilities.