Aysha Upchurch AIE'15 leading a cypher at Harvard Dance Center. Photo credit: Ilya Vidrin.Cyphers at Harvard Dance Center are informal freestyle dance jams in an open circle that are inclusive, joyful, supportive, and community-building. All abilities and types of movers are welcome– no prior dance training needed. Cyphers usually take place at the Dance Center and feature rotating hosts of live music and playlists. Cyphers  are sometimes hosted by Aysha Upchurch or LROD and sometimes hosted by students and student-led dance groups. 

What is a cypher?
A cypher is freestyle dance jam where an open circle is created and people take turns dancing in the center. The cypher (or cipher) has deep, long-standing cultural roots in hip hop culture, African tradition and even religious beliefs. 

Interested in hosting a Dance Center cypher? Email Elizabeth Epsen, Communications & Program Coordinator for Dance.  


Thursday, February 3, 5pm 

Join a no-pressure, joy-filled, community cypher at Harvard Dance Center to get you moving in 2022! All abilities and types of movers are welcome– no prior dance training needed. 

Whether it's your first time at Harvard Dance Center or you're a regular in our studios, you will be welcomed into the cypher circle. Meet or reconnect with other dance and arts students, Dance staff and faculty, and collaborating partners from across campus.

Find your groove. Move and be moved.

CYPHER HOST: Aysha Upchurch 
MUSIC: Collaborative playlist - add a track you want to dance to for the first Dance Center cypher of 2022! 
DATE: Thursday, February 3, 5pm
LOCATION: Harvard Dance Center, Studio 1, 66 Garden St., Cambridge, MA


Dance Center Covid Safety Protocols

  • Only active Harvard affiliates enrolled in Harvard's testing cadence will be admitted. All participants must provide their Harvard ID at the door.
  • If you are experiencing any symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid, please stay home.
  • Face coverings are required to enter the building and must stay on throughout the workshop. Extra masks are available if needed.
  • The Dance Center is equipped with multiple HEPA filters for air filtration.
  • Hand sanitizer is available at the entrance of the studio.
  • Capacity in Studio 1 has been reduced to allow for more space between participants.
  • Please pay attention to specific traffic flow patterns indicated by signs.
  • Only water is allowed to be consumed in the studio. Please make best efforts to minimally remove mask while drinking. Please bring your own filled water bottle.


 The Dance Center’s main floor, housing Studio 1 and two all-gender restrooms, is wheelchair accessible. If you anticipate needing any other type of access to participate, whether in person or virtually, please email We welcome the conversation!


Cypher host Aysha Upchurch faces the back of the Dance Center's Studio 1 with arms raised towards cypher participants in the background. She wears a white and blue denim vest with "ARTIST ARTIST ARTIST" embroidered on the back, black leggings, and a navy blue bandana framing her tied up dreadlocks.