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Research and Methodology

Undergraduate Dance Research

Arts in Action Field Trip

Art historian, Professor Pika Ghosh, teaches "Arts in Action" students about textiles during a visit to The Philadelphia Museum of Art.

At Swarthmore, Dance is a portal through which students are exposed to the multidisciplinary field of Dance research. They engage with myriad modes of inquiry in the field of Dance Studies and related disciplines such as anthropology, dance history and criticism, film and media studies, gender and sexuality studies, and performance studies. Our students learn to analyze dance through their own embodied experiences and by placing dance, movement, and bodies in wider cultural and global contexts. Many pursue graduate school in Dance Studies, an emerging and exciting field, or other performance related disciplines. The theory and method courses in the program include the following foci:

  • Performance as Research
  • Fieldwork and Anthropology 
  • Ethnography and Choreography
  • History and Archives
  • Identity, Race, and Bodies
  • Film, Media and Technology
  • Gender and Sexuality
  • Culture and Globalization

Several funding opportunities for research are available to students from the Dance Department and other college resources. For more information about student research support, please speak with a faculty advisor about applications and details.

Recent Dance Theses, Choreography Projects, and Honors Research Attachments

All Majors and Honors Minors in Dance write theses and/or create senior projects. Some course minors also choose to pursue thesis or project work, but it is not a graduation requirement.

Liya Chang ‘24, Dance Major (Choreography)
Senior Project: SARUS CRANE, DO YOU MISS HOME?/赤颈鹤想家嚒 (choreography/taikography with the performers), performed by Keira Dandy, Myles Farrall ‘24, Emily Lathers, Dart Macveagh, Finn Verdonk

Caroline Eagly Cummings ‘24, Special Honors Major in Ballet: History, Culture, Performance
“Hopes and Dreams for Ballet in Los Angeles: Martin Bernheimer and the Rise and Fall of John Clifford’s Original Los Angeles Ballet”

Amy Liu ‘24, Dance Major (Dance Studies), Dance Minor, Honors
Senior Thesis: “Cultural Consumption and Identity Construction: Dance, Dining, and Negotiating the Chinese Nation in Yunnan’s Ethnic-Themed Restaurants”

Max Winig ‘24, Dance Major, Honors (Choreography)
Senior Project: Voyager, performed by Liya Chang '24, Keira Dandy, Simone Gingerich-Boberg, Emma Lang '24, Emily Lathers, Dart MacVeagh, Emily McClung, Susan McHarris '24, Griffin Moore, Gabby Nash, Kyra Roepke '24, Ayla Radha Schultz, Sam Sordi, Angel Su '24, Jenna Takach '24, Elpiniki Tsapatsaris '24, Finn Verdonk, Moss Wacker, Jessie Weiss '24, and Yilin Ye '24 with music composed by Hannah Sobel '22 and performed by Hannah Sobel '22, Alexa Letourneau, and Grace Tyson, with costumes designed by Ell Rose '24

Alexis Metoyer ‘23, Dance Major (Choreography)
Senior Project: Clothesline Ballet, performed by Jacqueline Acunto ‘23 and Alexis Metoyer, created on Jacqueline Acunto and Katie Carlson ‘23, with original musical score by Greg Boatman ‘23 and lighting design by Michael Nutt

Omar Saleh ‘22, Dance Major (Choreography)
Senior Project: Change, performed by Omar Saleh ‘22

Gwyneth Fletcher ’22, Dance Minor (Choreography)
Senior Project: “As They Pounded Their Feet” (Hesiod, Theogony 70), performed by Katie Carlson, Keira Dandy, Zoe Januzzi ’22, Emily Lathers, Dart MacVeagh, Alexis Metoyer, Ellie Mickelson ’22, Deniz Morova, Kyra Roepke, Ayla Schultz, & Max Winig

Zoe Jannuzi ‘22, Dance Minor (Performance)
Senior Project: The Moment of the Whirlwind, performed by Deven Ayambem, Katie Carlson, & Ruby Schlaker ‘22 with music created and performed by Abhishek Bathina '22, Henry Cassel, and Spencer Tate '22

Atticus Maloney ’22, Dance Minor (Performance) 
Senior Project: Sou Capoeira, performed by Atticus Maloney ’22 Brenda Feregrino, Jessie Weiss, Katie Knox ’22, Powell Sheagren ’22

Lia D’Alessandro ‘21, Dance Major (Choreography)
Senior Project: Collectivity, performed by Louisa Carman ‘21, Emma Dulski ‘22 & Xinrui Jessica Yang ‘21

Louisa Carman '21, Dance Minor, Honors (Choreography)
Senior Project: Duets Set in Stone, performed by Lia D’Alessandro ‘21 & Emma Dulski ‘22
Honors Research Attachment: “Enacting Togetherness or Entrenching New Norms? The Jerusalema Dance Challenge”

Meena Chen ‘21, Dance Minor (Choreography)
Senior Project: Hidden Dragon, performed by Meena Chen 

Sophie Gray-Gaillard ‘20, Dance Major (Choreography)
Senior Project: illume, performed by Lia D’Alessandro ‘21, Emma Dulski ‘22, Gabriel Hearn-Desautels ‘20, Zachary Weiss ‘20 & Emmeline Wolf ‘22
Lighting Design by Oliver Steinglass

Lydia Roe ‘20, Dance Major (Choreography)
Senior Project: Ansa Ya, performed by Meena Chen ‘21, Emma Dulski ‘22, Gwyneth Fletcher ‘22, Lucy Jones ‘20, Iris Liao ‘22, Linda Lin ‘20 & Lilia McGee-Harris ‘21

Rachel Isaacs-Falbel '19, Special Major in Dance and Anthropology
Senior Thesis:  "Pink Tights and Ballet Buns: Understandings of Diversity in Pre-Professional Ballet Programs" 

Zara Williams-Nicholas ‘19 Major in Dance (Choreography)
Senior Project: Weeping Blue Mahoe, performed by Gilbert Clark, Kathryn Riley, Katie Knox ‘22, Meena Chen ‘21 & Nicole Liu ‘21

Marion Kudla ‘19, Dance Minor, Honors (Choreography)
Senior Project: Into Interior, performed by Lia D’Alessandro ‘21, Emma Dulski ‘22, Sophie Gray-Gaillard ‘20, Katie Knox ‘21 & Emmeline Wolf ‘22
Honors Research Attachment: “Nature and Choreography: Dance as Environmental Advocacy”

Spring 2020: Performance as Research

Sophie Gray-Gaillard, Ainsley Knox, and Meena Chen perform outside their homes for their final African dance repertory movement. Musical arrangement by Wesley Rast, Jeannine Osayande, Ira Bond, and Daryl Kwasi Burgee.

Alexis Metoyer, Meena Chen, Omar Saleh, Emma Dulski, and Lydia Roe created dance videos at home for their Dance Lab final projects.

Taiko repertory students practice final drumming projects from their homes.

Ballet students coordinated video meetings and choreography for their final rehearsals and showing.

Sophie Gray-Gaillard, Ainsley Knox, and Meena Chen perform outside their homes for their final African dance repertory movement. Musical arrangement by Wesley Rast, Jeannine Osayande, Ira Bond, and Daryl Kwasi Burgee.

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