Dance - Paris

Tiffany Chen (SLC, Paris '10) dancing in Marseille

The Sarah Lawrence dance program offers an introduction to the world of dance abroad and is designed to give students a European dance and cultural experience. The SLC program offers an overview of the major choreographic and technical influences in European countries during the last century, a wide choice of movement practices with various teachers, and the possibility to attend performances featuring contemporary European choreographers.

In general, students may choose one 4 credit course per semester.

A typical dance course at Sarah Lawrence consists of three components:

  1. A Theoretical Component
    a. History of European Dance in the 20th Century (1st semester)
    b. Anatomy and Kinesiology (2nd semester)
  2. Improvisation and Composition
  3. Three Dance Classes
    a. Modern dance
    b. Two electives (African dance, ballet, flamenco, tap…)

Students specializing in dance may consider applying to our intensive program.

The Sarah Lawrence dance courses in Paris are taught by Susan Hamlin, an SLC alumna who, after having worked extensively in NYC, has been living, choreographing and teaching in Paris for many years. Professor Hamlin advises dance students individually, helping each dancer craft his or her own program of study. When choosing their elective courses, students are encouraged to take full advantage of the very large selection of international dance techniques available in Paris, a city that is a cosmopolitan crossroads between Eastern and Western cultures.

All classes are conducted exclusively in French.


History of European Dance in the 20th Century (1st semester)
Professor Hamlin
This course begins with the first codified and performed technique of French court dancing of the 16th century and covers the major trends of 20th century dance in Russia, Germany, England, France, Spain and the Scandinavian countries. Video support gives students a visual reference for the choreographic work and reading material supplements the lectures.

Anatomy/Kinesiology (2nd semester)
Professor Hamlin
This class is taught partly in the classroom and partly in the studio. In the classroom, the study of the structure of the body is presented using different visual and written supports. In the studio, a variety of placement techniques are used to enable students to visualize what is being studied.

Improvisation/Composition (1st and 2nd semesters)
Professor Hamlin
This course is based on the Nikolias method inherited from Laban, Joos, Wigman, Holm and Bessie Schönberg, founder of SLC’s dance department. The class is divided into two phases: directed group improvisation and individual composition work. Students work on precise themes each week and develop solo or group compositions to be shown at the end of each semester.

SLC has long-standing partnerships with various private studios and teachers of many different nationalities who offer a wide variety of classes in their native techniques. A few examples of studios where students may take classes:

The Ecole Peter Goss, founded in 1981, is an open school that offers professional training in contemporary dance. Based on an alternation between suspension and release, the Goss technique draws its inspiration from the modern dance tradition, including such figures as Doris Humphrey and José Limon. The technique also incorporates certain principles of classical ballet, yoga and the bodywork technique developed by Moshe Feldenkrais.

The Studio Harmonic and the Centre de Danse du Marais are two large studios with a variety of classes from ballet and contemporary techniques to flamenco, Oriental and African dance, character dance, tai chi, yoga, etc.

For more information about the dance program in Paris, please e-mail Sarah Rudner, Director, Dance Program.

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Thoughts on the Paris Program

"I loved my ballet class. [The professor] is a great and enthusiastic teacher who gives a lot of individual attention. My ballet skills have really improved."

–Kathryn Malleck, SLC