About Dance at Harvard


The Harvard Dance Center’s mission is artistic, academic, and civic leadership. It is a site that leads through equality and dignity for all, aims to foster agency through dance for students, and promotes the arts as agents of social change in the world. 

The Dance Center is the primary venue for dance on campus. Dance offerings include curricular courses led by Dance faculty in Theater, Dance & Media, as well as non-credit Harvard community dance classes which span a wide range of genres for all levels of experience, and which are made accessible to all through a robust tuition assistance program. The Dance Center regularly hosts guest artists and choreographers who teach master classes and hold residencies throughout the academic year, fostering exceptional opportunities for students to work with luminaries and innovators in the field and in disciplines linked to dance.

The Dance Center partners with departments and organizations across campus to provide workshops and dialogues that address important campus and cultural issues. It provides mentorship, support, and residency opportunities for student emerging choreographers, as well as for student-led dance groups which represent over 20 traditions from across the globe.


Dance studies in the TDM interarts concentration are rooted in tradition, and committed to innovation. Credit courses support studies in dance composition, improvisation, performance, choreographic design and history of dance with an emphasis on collaboration and trans-disciplinary inquiry.  Opportunities to perform wide-ranging repertory, commissioned work, and installations are a focal component of coursework, and digital technology is leveraged to devise new methods for making and capturing the form. Guest artist faculty teach master classes, courses, hold residencies and create original work each academic year, fostering exceptional opportunities for students to work with luminaries and innovators who engage diverse and dynamic perspectives in the field and in disciplines linked to dance.  


Dance has existed in various forms at Harvard University and Radcliffe College, from social dances to master classes, since the late 1890s. In 1964 Radcliffe appointed Claire Mallardi, Dance Director Emerita, to develop dance into a full-scale program. The Dance Program has been a dynamic part of the Office for the Arts (OFA) since 1973, and became a part of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences in 1999. Elizabeth Bergmann, former Chair of the University of Michigan’s Dance Department, served as Director of the Dance Program from 2000 until 2011, while also a Lecturer in the Committee on Dramatic Arts. Under her leadership and signaling a burgeoning presence of dance on campus, the Dance Program moved to a dedicated dance space, the Harvard Dance Center, at 66 Garden Street, which houses two studios – the main studio converts to a theater where Dance events, annual Department performances, Emerging Student Choreographer Showings, and student-led dance company residencies are held. A third Dance studio is located at 74 Mt. Auburn Street.

Jill Johnson, Dance Director and Senior Lecturer on Theater, Dance & Media, aims to honor the legacy of Dance at Harvard while advancing dance knowledge and literacy on campus, and with an evolving vision for dance studies at Harvard.


The Harvard Dance Center is a BGLTQ + Safe Space: A safe place for bisexual, gay, lesbian, transgender, queer, and all students; a space where any student can be fully self-expressed, without fear of being made to feel uncomfortable, unwelcome, or unsafe on account of biological sex, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, cultural background, age, or physical or mental ability; a place where the rules guard each person's self-respect and dignity and strongly encourage everyone to respect others.