Dance

Make new work

The making of original work is at the center of dance at Bennington as it has been since the founding of the College in 1932. Bennington College has an enduring commitment to dance as a vital, serious art form integral to a liberal arts education. For nearly a century, through all its different eras, the dance program has provided a solid foundation for innovation and progressive thinking in the field at large.

Every facet of today’s unique program—technical practice, somatic study, improvisational and compositional research, peer and faculty collaboration, interdisciplinary investigation, design, production and performance—works to expand students' understanding of the creative process and deepen their awareness and articulation of their thinking and moving body. It places their creative work in a cultural and historical context. 

From the first year, students begin making dances immediately. Over the next four years, they make and perform new work, whether their own or in collaboration with others. At the weekly Dance Workshop, students of all levels, from first-year to graduate, gather with the full faculty to show and respond to works-in-progress. Students are encouraged to participate in all aspects of production and have on-going support to experiment in a variety of spaces (available around the clock), from the remarkable formal theater and intimate studios to alternative site-specific locations.

Whether dance plays a central or supporting role in their education, students are invited to collaborate, make new work, show it, talk about it, revise it and perform it again. 

At Bennington, students work closely with faculty to design the content, structure, and sequence of their study and practice—their Plan—taking advantage of the College's resources both inside and outside the classroom to pursue their work. 

Courses

Every facet of our unique program—technical practice, somatic study, improvisational and compositional research, peer and faculty collaboration, interdisciplinary investigation, design, production and performance—works to expand your understanding of the creative process and deepen your awareness and articulation of your thinking and moving body.

Faculty

Our faculty of renowned professional choreographers and dancers, dedicated to contemporary practices, seek out guest artists and seasoned graduate fellows who propel the art forward. This constantly changing roster has included emergent artists from Asia, West Africa, Eastern and Western Europe, and the U.S.

Alumni

Strong, focused, determined—our alumni make their own work, win awards, and define excellence in the field. The Bessie Dance and Performance Awards were named for a Bennington alumna, Bessie Schönberg.

Liz Lerman '69
Liz Lerman '69
Katie Martin '04
Katie Martin '04
Carla Maxwell '67
Carla Maxwell '67
Lisa Nelson '71
Lisa Nelson '71
Myrna Packer '74
Myrna Packer '74
Aileen Passloff '53
Aileen Passloff '53
Wendy Perron '69
Wendy Perron '69
Susan Rethorst '74
Susan Rethorst '74
Harry Sheppard '69
Harry Sheppard '69
Patricia Birch Becker '50
Patricia Birch Becker '50
Campbell '70
Penny Campbell '70
Clark '87
Hope Clark '87
DD Dorvillier '89
DD Dorvillier '89
Ulysses Dove '70
Ulysses Dove '70
Risa Jaroslow
Risa Jaroslow '69
Jaamil Olawale Kosoko '05
Jaamil Olawale Kosoko '05
Lisa Kraus '75
Lisa Kraus '75
Liz Lerman '69

Choreographer and MacArthur “Genius Grant” recipient with commissions from many prestigious institutions

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Katie Martin '04

Choreographer, performer, teacher, and recipient of the national Jacob K. Javits Fellowship in Dance, having trained and performed under the direction of American Ballet Theater principal ballerina Karena Brock Carlyle

Carla Maxwell '67

Former principal dancer and current artistic director of the Limón Dance Company​

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Lisa Nelson '71

Bessie and Alpert award-winning dance-maker, improvisational performer, and collaborative artist who developed an approach to real-time editing, “attentionography,” and performance she calls Tuning Scores 

 

Myrna Packer '74

Co-artistic director of Bridgman | Packer Dance and 2008 Guggenheim Award winner

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Aileen Passloff '53

Former Chair of Dance at Bard College and choreographer and dancer at the Judson Dance Theatre

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Wendy Perron '69

Member of Trisha Brown Dance Company in the 1970s, choreographer, former editor-in-chief of Dance Magazine, and author of Through the Eyes of a Dancer 

Susan Rethorst '74

Guggenheim, Bessie, and Alpert Award-winning choreographer and dancer 

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Harry Sheppard '69

Dancer and choreographer who worked with Andy De Groat, Bill T. Jones, David Gordon, and Wendy Perron and whose own choreography was presented at the Dance Theater Workshop and the 14th Street Dance Center in Manhattan 

Patricia Birch Becker '50

Emmy, Tony, and Drama Desk Award-winning choreographer and director of musical theater, film, and television whose work runs the gamut from performing in West Side Story on Broadway, directing Cindy Lauper and Rolling Stones videos, and choreographing numbers for Saturday Night Live

Penny Campbell '70

Performer, choreographer, and Senior Lecturer Emerita of Dance at Middlebury College 

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Hope Clark '87

Former performer and associate artistic director of Elizabeth Streb’s Ringside company, known for its athletic, gravity-defying choreography, whose own Bessie award-winning work has been performed at Danspace, Dance Theater Workshop, and other high-profile venues

Photograph © Lois Greenfield

 

 

DD Dorvillier '89

Winner of the Guggenheim and Doris Duke Artist Awards for her innovative dance performance and choreography

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Ulysses Dove '70

Renowned choreographer of works performed by Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and the New York City Ballet 

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Risa Jaroslow '69

Dancer, choreographer, and founder of Risa Jaroslow & Dancers, who is dedicated to including diverse communities as participants and audiences, developing teaching techniques to engage dancers of all levels and people of all ages and abilities 

 

Jaamil Olawale Kosoko '05

Performance curator, producer, poet, choreographer, and performance artist 

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Lisa Kraus '75

Dancer who has performed with the Trisha Brown Dance Company, choreographed for her own company and independently, taught at universities and arts centers, and written reviews, features, and essays on dance for a variety of publications