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Department Overview

Swarthmore’s Dance program brings together a talented group of students to perform a global repertoire of dance styles and simultaneously engage in critical thinking and writing. Our students are often double majors or special majors in fields such as Anthropology, Classics, Art History, English, Education, as well as Biology, Psychology, Math, and Computer Science. We welcome all students to join our dance community regardless of whether they are majors or minors in the program or have prior formal training in dance. We also offer special scholarships for our majors and minors to study specific styles with some of the finest master teachers and choreographers in Philadelphia or develop as art activists through immersion in an international or local community.

The state of the art Lang Performing Arts Center and our spacious dance studios are always buzzing with rehearsals and performances. The intimate Underhill library, dedicated to Dance and Music, offers the ideal nook to rest dancing feet and discover the world of dance scholarship through books, articles, and digital resources. Come and experience our vibrant and diverse community of artists and scholars as we pursue dance as a field of academic inquiry, artistic creation, and civic engagement.

Join us on the journey!

About the Dance Program

Two people editing a dance video.

Dance lab student Megan Patton '20 meeting with Kim Arrow in the Media Center to edit footage for a Dance Lab project.

Photo by by Sasha Fornari
Students rehearsing GISELLE for performance.

For this historically inspired version of GISELLE, students learned the pantomime choreography and used focused research for later writings about pantomime and music from many different lenses.

Photo by by Sasha Fornari
Students practicing African dance.

African dance students practice their technique with professor Saleana Pettaway in the Troy dance studio.

Photo by by Sasha Fornari
Dance academic class in front of a large window.

Pallabi Chakravorty pauses to listen to the "Dance in Diaspora" class in discussion.

Photo by by Lawrence Kesterson
Kathak dancers with projected video, blue costumes.

Professional Kathak dancers rehearse for performance on the LPAC mainstage with a digital backdrop.

Photo by by Sasha Fornari
Dancers in rehearsal doing a pose.

Contemporary ballet students Lia D'Alessandro '21, Zach Weiss '20, Katie Knox '22 and others practice their form in the Boyer dance studio.

Photo by by Sasha Fornari
A tapper spins in a blue dress, blurry

Molly Murphy '18 spins in her tap shoes during a dress rehearsal.

Photo by by Sasha Fornari
A dancer with arms upraised teaching other dancers

Doug Varone dance company teaches choreography to Zach Weiss '20 and others in a master class sponsored by the Cooper series program.

Photo by by Sasha Fornari
Taiko dancers with their drums

Zhijia Shirley Liu '22, Kira Emmons '20, and Jinwook Daisy Lee '22 at East Coast Taiko Conference 2020, University of Connecticut.

Photo by by Albert Huang, UConn Kodama Taiko.
A yoga class practices in the Troy Dance Studio.

Kim Arrow teaches a yoga class practice in the LPAC Troy Dance Studio for dance majors and non-majors.

Photo by by Sasha Fornari
Tap dancers in Star Wars costumes with a digital background

Dance repertory classes, such as tap shown here, rehearse and perform in a final concert each semester that highlights the many facets of our diverse program.

Photo by by Steve Weinik

Dance lab student Megan Patton '20 meeting with Kim Arrow in the Media Center to edit footage for a Dance Lab project.

Photo / by Sasha Fornari
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COME DANCE WITH US during Garnet Weekend!

All are welcome and the Djembe workshop in particular is a good fit for families and dancers of all ages and abilities.

All events will take place in the Lang Performing Arts Center. Questions? Email


2:30-3:45pm Contemporary Partnering and Floorwork with five two Dance Company (Lang Performing Arts Center - Boyer Dance Studio)

Sophie Gray-Gaillard '20 and Olivia Passarelli’s class centers on highly physical partnering and floorwork. With emphasis on sequencing in and out of the floor, this master class will incorporate strength building and alignment practices as well as elements of safe weight sharing. Culminating in phrase work from one of five two’s newest pieces, dancers will be challenged to discover their artistic autonomy within five two’s movement vocabulary. 


4-5pm An Introduction to Djembe Dance with Jeannine Osayande (Lang Performing Arts Center - Boyer Dance Studio)

Kakilambe, is a Neo-traditional mask dance and rhythm from the Baga people of Guinea, West Africa. Kakilambe commemorate a good harvest and is also utilized to restore balance in the community. Kakilambe became popular overseas in the 1970s when the dance was rearranged and selected as a featured dance for the international touring company, Les Ballets Africains during the National African Dance Movement, the Civil Rights Movement and the African Independence Movement.   


As a teaching artist, I find that Kakilambe is a great dance and rhythm for all levels of learners. Additionally, the concepts of planting a seed, and later harvesting the product provides the learner with an opportunity to think about collective work and responsibility, forward thinking and roles we serve as community makes. The drums used for Kakilambe are the Djembe / Djundjun family of drums, 12th century drums from the Mande/Mekenke people of the Mali Empire.


Swarthmore College Fall Dance Concert


Fall '23 Dance Concert

Friday 12/8 @ 4:30 PM
Saturday 12/9 @ 7:00 PM

Pearson-Hall Theater, Lang Performing Arts Center

The Dance Program sends a warm invitation to all to attend our Fall 2023 Dance Concert,  featuring dances and music from a variety of styles and cultural traditions.

Can’t make it in person?
Live Stream:

This event is sponsored by the Dance Program.
This event is taking place in person. All visitors must comply with the College's COVID policy. 
The closest parking lot to the event venue is the DuPont parking lot.

Accessibility Advance Notice
Swarthmore College encourages persons with disabilities to participate in its programs and activities. If you anticipate needing any type of accommodation or have questions about the physical access provided, please contact the event sponsor, or Susan Smythe,  ADA Program Manager at 610-690-2063 in advance of your participation or visit.



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