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Dance and Movement Studies

The creative process will be at the core of your studies, which will focus equally on performance and scholarship. Formal and informal opportunities for performance abound. Each year students direct, choreograph, design, perform and produce as many as 10 productions. Faculty members and students produce two dance concerts choreographed by faculty and two or three plays directed by faculty.

Eliza Kenney ’15
At Hamilton, Eliza Kenney '15, shown here in a class, rekindled her passion for dance and discovered American studies.

A passion rekindled, a perspective gained: dance and American studies

By the time Eliza Kenney ’15 arrived at Hamilton College, she figured she was done with dance, burned out by competition and stress. She’d started dancing at age 8 and was tired of what she described as “the high pressure to be perfect.” Soon, however, she missed it; spring of her first year at Hamilton she signed up for intermediate ballet. Kenney was rediscovering her passion. When she took choreography, she began to consider dance as a major. “The class was so open, so free and unstructured, and perfect for exploring my own abilities and creativity,” says, Kenney, who went with a double major in dance and American studies. If she’d gone to a dance school, rather than the liberal arts route, she says, she’d never have gained the perspective American studies has given her.

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“American studies is an interdisciplinary field, which appealed to me because I could take it in essentially any direction I wanted. The American studies program at Hamilton gives me the freedom to make choices and create, just as the dance program does,” she says. Keeney is considering pursuing a career in dance therapy.

Erin Brown '09

A graduate’s progress:
a company of her own

Erin Brown ’09 started dancing when she was 6 years old, majored in dance at Hamilton College and in 2013 launched her own dance company, the Noumenon Dance Experience, in Chicago.

She’s also working on a graduate degree in sports leadership. Her thesis is about the black influence in dance.

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“I went to a performing arts high school where they really encouraged us to enter the dance world professionally or attend a conservatory or major university and study dance,” Brown says. “I never wanted to attend a conservatory, and I feared that going to a large university I would get lost in the crowd. The thing that attracted me to a liberal arts school was the fact that I would receive a well-rounded education, and even though I was going in as a dance major, I would still have to challenge myself intellectually.”

The dance faculty at Hamilton, she says, “was amazing.”

“Elaine (Heekin) and Bruce (Walczyk) were very encouraging and I honestly don't think I would've made it through without their guidance,” she says.

Brown’s ultimate career goal – to choreograph a Broadway musical.