Karen Dearborn

Professor, Dance
Theatre & Dance
Trexler Pavilion > 3rd Floor


image of faculty member


  • M.F.A, Connecticut College
  • B.S., Radford College

Teaching Interests

I currently teach courses that blend the theory and practice of dance, including dance composition, dance history, ballet technique and advanced research in dance. In all my classes, I encourage students to move beyond the incorrect divide of body and mind to explore how the body thinks, holds memories, reveals history, creates communities and communicates meanings within societies. While training bodies to dance, we explore the scientific foundations and the artistic goals amid questions of why. Why are we training and practicing in this way? In learning to make dances, we investigate personal creativity and its relation to current and past dance-making practices to understand how dances are filled with powerful representations. The study of history and deepened research reveals new knowledge that connects dance to expanded topics, including anthropology, sociology, psychology, philosophy and education.

I have also taught at Mount Holyoke College and Connecticut College and for the National Theatre of the Deaf Summer School. I recently began teaching about the history and philosophy of circus performance.

Research, Scholarship or Creative/Artistic Interests

As a choreographer, I have made more than 80 works for concert dance, theatre, musical theatre and art galleries. My dances range from original ballets, to modern/contemporary works, to aerial performance, to site-specific dances, to historical period dances that fit a particular show. I have choreographed for professional theatres, including national tours of the Tony Award-winning National Theatre of the Deaf, as well as numerous colleges and universities in America.

My research has spanned performance studies, disability studies and dance pedagogy. I have had articles published in the Dance Education Journal and in the book, "Performing Magic on the Western Stage."

I also serve on the boards of the American College Dance Association and CORPS de Ballet International. Each year I attend their conferences to keep current in the fields of dance education, research and performance. I am a member of Actor’s Equity Association and the National Dance Educators Organization.



Go Back to Search >>