About Dance

HARVARD DANCE CENTER MISSION

Equity, dignity, and transformation for all people through artistic, academic, and civic leadership in beloved community to advance dance literacy on campus and for the world. Dance education across all offerings aims to foster agency for students and promote the arts as vehicles of social change in the world.  

We aim to provide meaningful engagement through dance and the arts – on campus, and in our greater Cambridge and Boston communities and beyond them. Dance Center physical and virtual spaces aim to provide inclusivity, reflection, dialogue, expression, fellowship, research, and invention. No matter the point of entry, from community dance classes and master classes, to student-led groups and the Theater, Dance & Media (TDM) concentration, our focus is to foster a transformative student experience and empower tomorrow's artists, innovators, and leaders.

The Harvard Dance Center offers non-credit community classes tuition-free for all Harvard students, and a robust tuition assistance program is available for all Harvard community members. The Center regularly hosts guest artists and choreographers who teach workshops and hold residencies throughout the academic year, cultivating exceptional opportunities for students to work with intergenerational luminaries and groundbreakers in the field and in disciplines linked to dance. Programming, courses, classes, and events are inclusive of all abilities and levels of experience.

Central to programming is partnerships with departments, programs, and student organizations across campus. In collaboration with partners, the Dance Center provides workshops and dialogues that engage important campus and civic issues. We provide mentorship, support, and residency opportunities for emerging student choreographers, as well as for 23 student-led dance groups that represent over 20 traditions from across the globe.

DANCE STUDIES IN THEATER, DANCE & MEDIA

For Undergraduate students interested in concentrating in Theater, Dance & Media, visit the TDM course list.

Undergraduate students interested in more information about secondary and concentration opportunities in Theater, Dance & Media please email tdm@fas.harvard.edu and visit tdm.fas.harvard.edu.

ALL ARE WELCOME

The Harvard Dance Center is a space where every student can be fully self-expressed without fear of being made to feel uncomfortable, unwelcome, or unsafe based on race, ethnicity, cultural background or tradition, biological sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, or physical or mental ability; a space where the social contract supports each person's self-respect and dignity, and encourages everyone to respect others.

We are anti-racist and are actively challenging our own assumptions and biases as we work toward true equity for all. In that spirit, we do not tolerate racism, discrimination, bias, and intolerance of any kind from anyone in, associated with, or visiting the Harvard Dance Center in person or virtual spaces.

Advancing dance literacy on campus and for the world!

University Resources 

  • Accessible Education Office (AEO): Partners with FAS students with visible and invisible disabilities to identify barriers and implement plans for access.
  • Affinity Groups | Self-care and wellness space: Community spaces for affinity groups hosted throughout the spring. These spaces are part of a larger effort to support members of the community who are experiencing heightened anxiety in response to the current moment (Covid, racial injustice, world news, the political climate, etc.).
  • Anonymous Reporting Hotline: If you have experienced, witnessed, or been impacted in any way by racial discrimination, you can contact the Anonymous Hotline, open 24/7. 
  • Anti-Asian Racism Resource | Counseling and Mental Health Services: Resources and support for Asian and AAPI students experiencing COVID-19 related harassment.
  • Harvard Foundation for Intercultural and Race Relations: Offers programs, events, and grants designed to promote interracial and intercultural awareness and understanding in the Harvard community, as well as to highlight the cultural contributions of students from all backgrounds.
  • Hate Crimes | Harvard University Police Department
  • Office of Gender Equity: If you have experienced, witnessed, or been impacted in any way by sexual or gender-based harassment, OGS can provide you with options that feels right for you. A confidential space open to the entire Harvard community where people can process and understand their experiences and feel empowered to make the choice best suited to their needs. If you need immediate support call the 24-hour Crisis Hotline at 617.495.9100. 
  • Office of BGLTQ Student Life: Provides support, resources, and leadership development for BGLTQ students.
  • Office of Diversity Education and Support: Offers faciliated trainings, workshops, and dialogues that promote diversity and inclusion, as well as one-to-one support around issues of identity and belonging at Harvard.
  • Undocumented Students Support: Where you can find a number of resources available for undocumented students at Harvard College.  

Land Acknowledgement

"Harvard University is situated on the traditional and ancestral homelands of the Massachusett people. Our University honors the historic Harvard Charter of 1650, which committed to our institution to “the education of English and Indian youth of this country.” As a chartered creation of the Massachusetts colonies and Commonwealth, Harvard evolved alongside the persistence of the Massachusett, Nipmuck, and Wampanoag Nations. Located near the Charles River, this place has long served as a site of meeting, exchange, and diplomacy among nations, with thousands of contemporary Native American people living in greater Boston and tens of thoughts in the state of Massachusetts."Harvard's Native American Program: Land Acknowledgment

The Dance Center would like to pay its respects to elders of the Massachusett, Nipmuck, and Wampanoag people both past and present, and is committed to decolonizing its relationships with people and land at a local level in Cambridge, in Boston, and wherever its community members are located in virtual classrooms around the world. We understand that this acknowledgement is only a first step in restorative justice and repair of the harmful legacies of violence, displacement, migration, and settlement of Indigenous peoples.

Resources for learning more and taking action to decolonize relationships with people and land: 

Indianz
Indigenous Rising
LandMark: Global Platform of Indigenous and Community Lands  
MA Indigenous Legislative Agenda
Native Land   
United American Indians of New England

 

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 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, a green room, full dressing rooms, and a dance library. The main studio converts to a theater and has hosted a range of events, residencies, and performances. An additional third dance studio is located at the Office for the Arts main office, 74 Mt. Auburn Street.

In 2011, Jill Johnson was appointed Dance Center Director as part of the fulfillment of the Task Force on the Arts at Harvard, an initiative launched by President Drew Gilpin Faust to develop artmaking through new degree programs, courses, and spaces. Johnson was pivotal in the creation of Theater, Dance & Media where she served as Senior Lecturer and Head of Dance, developing a new dance curriculum representing a range of dance traditions and emphasizing transdisciplinary inquiry.

During her tenure from 2011-2021, Johnson honored and built upon her predecessors’ contributions to create transformational dance education with a focus on dance research, expanding access and offerings, advancing social progress through the arts, and empowering emerging artists, innovators, and leaders. Under Johnson’s leadership, the Dance Center produced 91 master classes with 86 guest artists and 31 world premiere dance works for students choreographed by some of the most-celebrated artists in the dance field. It offered free community dance classes for students that reflect changing dynamics in the arts; established multiple initiatives for emerging student choreographers and dancers; and created cross-disciplinary collaborations with a plethora of university-wide programs and departments.

In 2020-2021, the Dance Center undertook a diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice (DEIJ) strategic planning process, in collaboration with Equity Based Dialogue for Inclusion (EBDI), reaffirming the Dance Center's commitment to creating, fostering, and maintaining an equitable and inclusive environment for all of its members.

The Dance Center aims to honor the legacy of Dance at Harvard by continuing to advance dance knowledge and literacy on campus, and with an evolving vision for dance studies at Harvard.

The Harvard Dance Center opened in the Fall of 2005 and is one of the primary performance venues for dance at Harvard. The Center houses the Dance Office and features two studios and performance amenities for students and visiting artists. Studio One converts from a 3,500 square foot studio to a theater space with a capacity of 300. Both spaces are used for courses, artist residencies, classes and undergraduate dance company rehearsals and residencies. The Harvard Dance Center is accessible for individuals using wheelchairs. 

The Harvard Dance Center is open 7 days a week, 9am-midnight. The Dance Office hours are 9:30am-5:30pm Monday-Friday. 

Follow Harvard Dance Center on InstagramFacebook, and Twitter.

Harvard Dance Center 
66 Garden Street | Cambridge, MA 02138
dance@fas.harvard.edu | 617-495-8683

Dance Center Staff

Man with baseball hat and beard looks directly at the camera with a small smile. Switches from a sound booth are behind him.

Jon Gonda

Production Manager for Dance
He/him/his
Jon Gonda is a freelance lighting designer, programmer, and production manager based in Boston, MA. He studied computer science and electrical engineering at... Read more about Jon Gonda

Teaching Artists

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Joh Camara

West African Dance

Sidi Mohamed Camara, popularly known as “Joh,” was born in Bamako, Mali in West Africa, and from the age of 5, trained in music and dance from his mother...

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Close headshot of Aaron Jensen, a White man with a gray short beard wearing a white collared shirt. Behind him is a blue sky and palm tree.

Aaron Jensen

Ballet Accompanist

Aaron Jensen is a pianist and principal accompanist for the dance division of Boston Conservatory at Berklee. He has played for institutions...

Read more about Aaron Jensen
A close-up headshot of an Asian American man looking intensely at the camera. He has short black hair that falls over his forehead. Black backround.

John Lam

Ballet

John Lam began dancing at the age of four at the Marin Ballet in San Rafael, CA. He rose quickly through the ranks...

Read more about John Lam
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