The Dance Program at Randolph College offers students a full range of possibilities in the art and discipline of dance. Students can either major, pursuing a B.A. or B.F.A. degree, or concentrate in dance. It is also possible for students to simply take a single course in the Department. Courses are available in ballet, jazz, and modern dance techniques from elementary through advanced levels. These courses expose students to the joy and power of movement, as well as the discipline of dance. Students develop both physical and spatial awareness and increased flexibility and coordination. Students also gain a greater understanding and appreciation of the art form, making them more well-informed patrons of the art form.
Dance technique courses in ballet, jazz, and modern dance are taught by Pamela Risenhoover and an impressive array of guest teachers brought to the College through the Helen McGehee Visiting Artist Program. Throughout the academic year students study with guest instructors, choreographers, and dancers from the professional world of dance, many of whom have performed nationally and internationally with some of the most prestigious dance companies in the world, including: the Martha Graham Dance Company, the Paul Taylor Dance Company, Pilobolus Dance Theatre, Dance Theatre of Harlem, North Carolina Dance Theatre, Jump Rhythm Jazz Project, and the Tbilisi Ballet. Many have trained and taught at leading conservatories, such as the Juilliard School. All of the dance technique courses have live musical accompaniment.
The Helen McGehee Visiting Artist Program is an endowed program that was founded in 1971 by Ms. McGehee who began her own dance training at the College. She was a leading soloist with the Martha Graham Dance Company for nearly thirty years. Because of her vision and commitment to the College, Helen McGehee has made it possible for generations of students to be inspired by these guest artists many of whom stage and choreograph works for student performances.
The Department also offers courses in anatomy, dance history, Pilates, dance composition, and repertory. Dance composition courses expose students to the art and craft of choreography. Students interested in performance take courses in repertory. These classes stress the demands and artistry of dance performance while exposing students to the work of many choreographers of note, including: Anton Dolin, Martha Graham, Jose Limon, Marius Petipa, Pilobolus, Paul Taylor, and many others. In addition, the department offers certification in dance education.
Students and recent alumnae have received competitive internships at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Chicago Lyric Opera, the Spoleto Festival, the Juilliard School and the American Dance Festival. Recent graduates have danced with various dance companies including: the Jump Rhythm Jaza Project, the Bebe Miller Dance Co., Ivy Baldwin Dances, and Hamby Dances. Students have attended graduate dance programs at American University, New York University, SUNY Brockport, Ohio State University, and the University of Illinois. Several teach dance at the elementary and secondary levels, others have taken positions at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the American Dance Festival, and the Houston Museum of Fine Arts.