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Faculty Profile

Sarah Skaggs

Associate Professor of Dance; Director of Dance (2008)

Contact Information

Montgomery House


Sarah Skaggs, artistic director of Sarah Skaggs Dance, is an internationally renowned choreographer from New York City. She has received numerous fellowships -- from The National Endowment for the Arts, The Jerome, Harkenss, Greenwall, and Rockefeller foundations. Her work focuses on the relationship between the body and spirituality as impacted by social and political crises. Recently, she completed a multi-year cycle of choreographic works dealing with the body and disaster, particularly with respect to September 11th. At Dickinson she teaches Dance History, Modern Technique, Somatics, and Choreography.


  • B.A., Sweet Briar College, 1979
  • M.F.A., Hollins University, 2007

2021-2022 Academic Year

Spring 2022

THDA 111 Classical Ballet Begin Level
Classes taught under the direction of the CPYB faculty. Instruction is based on the nationally recognized ballet syllabus originally developed by Marcia Dale Weary, founder and artistic director of the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. Careful consideration to alignment, placement and proper execution of steps will be covered in depth. Studio/classroom location is TBA. This .5 class counts towards the Arts Requirement when taken with a .5 Modern dance class. Credit/no credit

THDA 212 Classical Ballet Interm Level
Studio classes in classical ballet taught at the intermediate/advance level by teachers from the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet (CPYB) at the Dickinson Dance studio (The Site). The class is geared towards students who have had at least ten years of consecutive ballet training. Taught by CPYB instructors, students have the opportunity to maintain and hone their ballet technique. Students will focus on maintaining proper alignment in the body while exploring a greater range of motion and momentum. All classes will be taught at the Dickinson Dance Studio 25-27 High Street “The Site”. This course satisfies the Arts distribution credit when taken with a .5 Modern class. Credit/no credit

THDA 222 Modern Dance II
Studio courses in modern dance offered at three levels: I. the basic level, which assumes no previous dance experience; II. the intermediate level, open to students who demonstrate basic accomplishment in dance technique; III. the advanced level, open to students who demonstrate substantial technical skill. All courses will explore the principles of modern dance, emphasizing body awareness and the expressive use of weight, space, and time. Materials will be selected from a variety of contemporary dance and movement training practices such as Pilates, yoga, somatics and ballet to promote performance of a range of movement dynamics, as well as musicality, strength, flexibility, and improved body alignment. Each course may be repeated for credit with permission of the instructor. Each carries .5 academic credit. Two .5 academic credits of dance one in Modern and one in the genre of their choosing will satisfy the requirement.

WGSS 301 Dance History Seminar
Cross-listed with THDA 316-01. This course will focus on contemporary dance history using theoretical frameworks that interrogate how race, class and gender resist, assimilate, and converge to create the construction of American modern concert dance. We will explore how the politics of the dancing female body on the concert stage produced a radicalized agenda for contemporary dance. We will address key themes and questions throughout the semester, questions such as: What makes a body "modern?" How does the feminist agenda on the concert stage aid in the construction of a "modern" body? What was the role of appropriating from exotic cultures in the making of contemporary concert dance? What is the role of technology in the creation of modern dance? What are the effects of war and politics on the dancing body? Orientalism, the Africanist presence in Western concert dance, and the restaging of Native American dances by American choreographers will be addressed as part of the overall construction of American modern dance. Through response papers, in-class presentations, and an in-depth research paper, students will engage with significant issues contributing to the development of modern concert dance.

THDA 304 Applied Choreography
This course will focus on the principles of choreography as they may be applied to the development of original dance works for inclusion in the fully produced, mainstage Dance Theatre Group Spring Concert. Through weekly workshop/discussion sessions, readings, and rehearsals, selected elements of dance composition as well as issues of aesthetic perception and articulation are explored. The processes involved in generating movement material, running constructive and creative rehearsals, and working with lighting and costume designers, are our primary concerns. The course work will include an audition, showings, production of the dances, and the final performance. Prerequisites: 204, 220. 1 credit.

THDA 316 Dance History Seminar
Cross-listed with WGSS 301-01.

THDA 412 Classical Ballet Cert/Pre-prof
Classes taught under the direction of the CPYB faculty. Entry into THDA 411/412 is by audition only. (CPYB Certificate) Instruction is based on the nationally recognized ballet syllabus originally developed by Marcia Dale Weary, founder and artistic director of the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. Students admitted to the Certificate program are accepted into the CPYB school as full time students. As full time students, they are expected to follow and commit to the daily requirements of their instructors. All classes are taught at the CPYB Warehouse and Barn studio during studio hours on or after 4:30 Monday through Friday and at 9am Saturday with other possible classes until 4pm.Classes count for those students enrolled in the CPYB Certificate program. This satisfies the Arts distribution credit when taken for a full credit, or for .5 credit with a .5 Modern class. Credit/No Credit

THDA 495 Senior Project
A culminating experience for students completing the Theatre major with emphasis in Dramatic Literature, Acting/Directing, or Dance. The specific nature of projects will be determined on an individual basis, but all senior projects will consist of at least two of the following: a) scholarship, b) technical/production work, and c) performance. Students will register for .5 course credit in the fall semester, during which planning and research will be conducted, and .5 in the spring, during which presentation of the project will occur. Prerequisite: four .25 course credits in THDA 190.