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.

Michael Reyes and his class run through dance exercises under the direction of Professor Elaine Heekin.

A student’s discovery: a passion for dance

Michael Reyes ’14 moved into his unexpected major one step at a time. He is a dance concentrator who plans to build a career around dance, music and education. His aspiration is to return to Hamilton College to teach hip-hop dance.

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Reyes always liked to dance but never took it seriously until an injury sidelined him from basketball at Hamilton. Hip-hop became his new passion, and his father, London Reyes, introduced him to his dance contacts. The elder Reyes is a dancer who was part of the influential New York City Breakers. Reyes began training and dancing in New York during school breaks.

On campus, he works on hip-hop in his free time. In class, he studies jazz, ballet and other dance forms, plus video, photography, art and music. Off campus, he teaches dance to local youth. Post graduation, Reyes plans a period of intensive study with old-school hip-hop masters. “I feel like if you are going to consider yourself a hip-hop dancer, you need to go back to your history. You need to find out where it came from, who it came from, why did it even come about,” Reyes says.

After that, he plans to pursue a graduate degree in education and music technology in London, where he believes hip-hop is more respected as an art form.

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.