Dance Studies at Yale

Building on the foundation of occasional dance courses offered at Yale since the early 1980s, since 2006 Theater and Performance  Studies has supported a wide-ranging program in dance studies. The curriculum consists of studio and seminar courses that cover the history, theory, and practice of dance forms spanning time and geography, from contemporary West African dance to The Twist.

The dance studies curriculum emphasizes the study of movement as a window into larger cultural processes and historical frameworks. In keeping with the mission of Theater and Performance Studies, the courses combine practical and theoretical approaches to deepening students’ understanding. In the studio courses, practical execution in the form of mastering diverse dance techniques, canonical repertory and choreographic methods is treated as an invaluable component of research and writing. The curriculum further investigates the fluid and fraught relationship between movement and language. Students develop a shared critical vocabulary for reading, interpreting and writing about dance, even as many of them learn to communicate their ideas through the creation of original dance compositions.

Courses vary in format and prerequisites, from sit-down seminars open to all interested students to studio courses designed to challenge those with prior dance training. Students who have enrolled in one or more dance courses may choose to do independent research projects in dance studies. A small number of Theater and Performance Studies majors each year propose senior projects in dance.

The Yale Dance Lab is a major co-curricular initiative that supports cross-disciplinary research, experimentation, and advocacy through dance. The Dance Lab augments and extends the work of the dance studies courses and works in partnership with programs and departments across the university. 

Cross-listed with a number of other departments—including Art, African Studies, African American Studies, American Studies, Film Studies, and Physics–Dance Studies at Yale promotes the interdisciplinary study of dance as an integral and vital element of human societies.

Contact Emily Coates, director of dance studies, with questions about the curriculum:


Dance Studies 2022-2023 


Meeting times are subject to change; be sure to check the Yale Course Search for full course descriptions and the most up to date information on times and locations. 




THST 097 Anatomy and Movement (Renee Robinson) 

T/TH 1 – 2:15 pm  


THST 110 Collaboration (Emily Coates & Elise Morrison)* 

T 10:30 a.m. – 1:20 pm 


THST 227 Queer Caribbean Performance (Amanda Reid) 

W 1:30 – 3:20 pm 


THST 234 Politics and Protest in Dance History (Amanda Reid) 

T 1:30 – 3:20 pm 


THST 319/AFAM 313 Embodying Story (Renee Robinson) 

T/TH 10:30 a.m. 12:20 pm  


THST 335/AFST 335a West African Dance: Traditional to Contemporary (Lacina Coulibaly)  

T/Th 10:30 a.m. – 12:20 pm  


THST 340 Ballet Now (Daniel Ulbricht) 

M 1:30 – 3:20 pm 


THST 215 / ENGL 434 Writing Dance (Brian Seibert) 

M 3:30 – 5:20 pm 





THST 092/AFST 092b African Rhythm in Motion (Lacina Coulibaly) 

T/TH 1 – 2:15 pm 


THST 111 Modes of Performance (Amanda Reid)*  

Meeting time TBD 


THST 210 Performance Concepts (Renee Robinson) 

T 1:30 – 5:20 pm 

Meeting time TBD 


THST ** Dance and Arts Activism in Southeast Asia (Triwi Harjito)  

W 1:30 – 3:20 pm  


THST 335/AFST 335b West African Dance: Traditional to Contemporary (Lacina Coulibaly)  

T/Th 10:30 a.m. – 12:20 pm  


THST 380/AMST 370 Choreographic Invention in 20th Century America (Brian Seibert) 

M 3:30 – 5:20 pm  


THST 427/AMST 349 Technologies of Movement Research (Emily Coates) 

M 10:30 – 12:20 pm 


THST ** Moving Sites and Structures (Iréne Hultman)  

W 3:30 – 6:20 pm  



*denotes core course for the major in Theater and Performance Studies.  

**course number tbc