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Dance History in the USA

group of 10 dancers on stage standing close together with arms outstretched

May 20 to August 11, 2024

Professor: Elizabeth McPherson

Tuition: $550 member / $625 non-member

12 Weeks; 3 NDEO-Endorsed PDCs

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Embracing dramatic similarities, glaring disjunctions, and formal innovations, this online course will be an immersive experience through the trajectory of dance in the United States from the 1700s to the present day. By the end of the course, you will have developed an organic view of dance in the United States—breaking traditional forms, stretching genres, confronting racist practices, provoking social and political change, driving cultural exchange and collision, treasuring indigenous wellsprings of inspiration and expression, and catapulting into the future. Subjects explored include, but are not limited to, an American take on ballet, the impact of Black women on jazz and tap, Native American dance, the female dancing body, and cultural appropriation in dance.

Book required:  Milestones in Dance in the USA (1st edition) 2023. Edited by Elizabeth McPherson. NY, NY. Routledge.

Questions about this Course?  Email

Student Testimonials

New OPDI Course being offered for the first time in Summer 2024 semester.

Professor Bio

headshot of Elizabeth McPherson, a white woman with short dark grey hair wearing glasses in a white shirt Elizabeth McPherson is a Professor, Dance Division Director, and MFA Dance coordinator at Montclair State University. She is the author of The Contributions of Martha Hill to American Dance and Dance Education, co-author of Broadway, Balanchine and Beyond: A Memoir, and editor/compiler of The Bennington School of the Dance: A History in Writings and Interviews. Her newest book Milestones in Dance in the USA, an edited collection designed for dance history courses, is a 2023 recipient of NDEO’s Ruth Lovell Murray book award. Executive Editor of the journal Dance Education in Practice, she has also written numerous articles and reviews for a variety of publications. Elizabeth received her BFA from Juilliard, an MA from The City College of New York, and a PhD from NYU.

National Dance Education Organization (NDEO)

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