Dig deep with dance

With a Calvin dance minor, you’ll find an accepting community and connect dance to the world around you. Professor Vander Well answers questions you may have about Calvin’s dance program and the community around it.


  •   Author: Tiffany Kajiwara and Cassandra Vander Well
  •   Published: September 27, 2019
  •   Categories: Academics
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What makes Calvin’s dance program exceptional?

The dance minor is unique. In only 18 credit hours, the Calvin dance minor establishes an academic understanding of dance within history, culture, and the science of the moving human body. Students become educated, thinking dancers who are equipped to lead and serve in an ever-changing world. And Calvin establishes a distinctively Christian foundation for a liberal arts education in dance.

How big are the classes? Why does class size matter?

Courses range anywhere from 15 to 24 students.

A smaller class size fosters a strong sense of community. And it increases opportunities to interact and engage with fellow classmates and the instructor. So, in studio-based classes, professors can cater to a unique range of skills and abilities. And they are able to provide individual feedback to students. And in theory-based classes, professors are able to assist students in improving research and writing skills. And they can lead meaningful group discussions that encourage all students to participate.

How does Calvin address faith in the context of dance?

Dance is a powerful force that Christians have often denied. Understanding the role of dance in the past, present, and future is essential for Christians to redeem it.

Students grow to understand the power of dance in the broad context of the world and their responsibility to use this power for God. We encourage students to celebrate and express their creativity within the image of the Creator-God. And in the process, they establish connections between dance and other aspects of God’s world.

What does a Calvin dance class look like?

Studio dance courses incorporate lecture and movement components. Students learn fundamental movement skills within various genres of dance. They do warm-up exercises, traveling movements, and a final skill test. In lectures, we talk about each genre of dance in relation to history, culture, and the Christian life.

Theory-based dance classes push students to employ critical thinking and research skills. They’ll investigate areas such as history, religion, and cultural studies. These courses are lecture-based and require students to read, write, reflect, and discuss material from class. Students are also given opportunities to explore and present their ideas. Such presentations are typically done through oral presentations and dance choreography.

What’s the dance community like at Calvin?

The dance community at Calvin is inclusive and accepting of dancers of all abilities and backgrounds. Take Dance Guild, the largest student-led organization on campus, for instance. All students are welcome to participate—whether they have previous experience in dance or not.

The dance minor program operates similarly. Students who choose to minor in dance are not required to audition or enter the program with a certain level of experience. And once students join the program, they’re quick to build community. Dance minors typically connect with each other through classes, the dance minor showcase, and other dance clubs on campus.

What can you do with a dance minor?

Minoring in dance at Calvin opens up opportunities to pursue a wide variety of careers in dance-related fields. Alumni have gone on to become dance instructors, dance therapists, and dance administrators. Dance minors have also gone on to pursue graduate work in dance.

  •   Author: Tiffany Kajiwara and Cassandra Vander Well
  •   Published: September 27, 2019
  •   Categories: Academics

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