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Columbia College Chicago
About the Dance Center

About the Dance Center

The Dance Center was established in 1969 to house Columbia College Chicago's Dance Department and has grown into a nationally respected academic program leading to Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees in Dance. Challenging technique courses across a range of styles, combined with the study of improvisation, composition, dance history and theory, music, and technical theater, provide students with essential learning and practice preparing them for professional and graduate endeavors in dance. Many of these classes are also open to the public. The Dance Center's faculty is comprised of working artists, enhanced by an array of visiting artist teachers of national and international stature.

In 1974, The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago established a performance series dedicated to presenting contemporary dance of national and international significance, representing the highest-quality and most innovative work in the field, and to providing Chicago audiences with opportunities to witness the diversity of contemporary dance in professional settings. 

Today, The Dance Center is not only the region's leading continuing education center offering special programs to encourage the development of professional dancers and choreographers, it is also Chicago's leading presenter of contemporary dance of national and international significance. Since it first opened its doors, The Dance Center has presented more than 230 professional companies and choreographers; The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago has firmly established its central position in the vitality of Chicago dance, and the United States.

Among the important dance artists and companies who have enjoyed Chicago debuts at The Dance Center are: Richard Alston Dance Company, Australian Dance Theatre, Tandy Beal, Ronald K. Brown, Chandralekha, H.T. Chen, Martha Clarke, Compagnie JANT-BI, Molissa Fenley, George Piper Dances, David Gordon, Erik Hawkins, The Holy Body Tattoo, Margaret Jenkins, Bill T. Jones, Liz Lerman, Bella Lewitzky, Lyon Opera Ballet, Susan Marshall, Los Muñequitos de Matanzas, David Parsons, Stephen Petronio, Quasar Dance Company, Random Dance Company, David Rousseve, Kei Takei, Urban Bush Women, Doug Varone, Wim Vandekeybus, and Kota Yamazaki.

Twenty-three new dance works commissioned by The Dance Center have led to 24 Chicago premieres, an unparalleled contribution to the development of the nation's dance artists.

Along with the expansion of its public programming, The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago has extended the reach of its public education and outreach initiatives over the past decade. Through its community outreach and education initiatives, The Dance Center seeks to deepen appreciation and understanding of contemporary dance and contribute to the health of Chicago communities.

Inside The Dance Center

A recent residency with Philadelphia dance artist Raphael Xavier illustrates the dynamic relationship between our presentations, our academic program, and our community: