Welcome to Dance!
Dance at Illinois is a national center for the development of the dance artist/leader. Each student, whether it is in the BFA, MFA, or Non-Majors program are encouraged to locate center and go from there.
Our goal is not a certain type of dancing, but an intelligence toward an individual and collective evolution of dance as it operates in the world. We invite our community to invest in dancing and dance making by immersing in the rigor and messiness of the creative process. We embrace the ambiguities and dichotomies contained in this process, for these struggles embody our communities’ efforts to generate new possibilities for future generations. In our laboratories dance itself becomes a way of thinking. While the subjects of our art form create the core curriculum - technique, improvisation, history, anatomy, theory, choreographic process - we are most interested in how each student reveals their own unique synthesis of these experiences. How will each student re-work their history and influences to create and define new possibilities for themselves and for the field?
The research of our impressive internationally renowned scholar/artists, guest artists and collaborators is central to building a teaching/learning laboratory for future dance artist/leaders. In our teaching/learning laboratories, the community is immersed in explorations and questions. The container of our curriculum is not solely based in subjects but in the following domains of knowing: reflection (know self physically, intellectually and emotionally), inquiry (how to ask questions and define your research), context (how to sort thru the big mess - understanding history, culture, science), student agency (taking charge of one’s own learning), and synthesis (making, writing, teaching and leading with a unique voice). It is through both physical and intellectual in-depth investigations of these core domains that dancers and/or dance-makers shape their future and the future of this vibrant art form.
Our lived, integrated and now relationship with the professional field is built on the solid ground of our history. Merce Cunningham and John Cage stopped here in their first University tour. The renowned anthropologist/dancer Katherine Dunham has an honorary doctorate from University of Illinois. The development of somatic practices has roots with Joan Skinner in our mid-west ground. And whether your experiences are based in contemporary dance, global or street dance forms, ballet or jazz, you will have opportunities to do it and see it all on state of the art stages at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.
Explore the articles in our annual magazine Pivot, visit our faculty and guest artist pages, find out about our upcoming events or enjoy the photos and videos. Whether you are a current or prospective student, alumnus, donor, or collaborator, we welcome you to our website, our community, the Arts at Illinois!
Jan Erkert, Department Head