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.
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.
Fully equipped and flexible, the Martha Hill Dance Theater is among the largest sprung wood black box theaters in the U.S. It and the spacious, airy, naturally lit studios are available around the clock.
Field Work Term
Bennington’s annual Field Work Term invites you to forge connections with the outside dance world by way of the College’s well-established professional network, its expansive roster of alumni dancers, and its outstanding reputation as an iconic American dance institution.
- Adaptations Dance Theater
- Albert S. Ruddy Productions
- Alliance for Young Artists & Writers
- American Contemporary Ballet
- American Realness
- Art and Cultural Studies Laboratory
- Balance Arts Center
- Bill T. Jones Dance Company
- Brooklyn Gypsies
- Cleveland Play House, The
- Contemporary Dance Theater
- Eleanor Bauer, Choreographer
- Elena Demyanenko
- Everett Company, Stage, and School
- Mark Morris Dance Group
- Martha Graham Dance Company
- Mendocino Center for Circus Arts
- Movement Research
- North Shore Dance Therapy
- Prop Thtr
- Trisha Brown Dance Company
- Theatre Without Borders
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.