Dance 364, 365, 366, 367, .5 unit
 Repertory Dance Theatre I, II, III, IV
Mon. and Wed. 4:00-6:00pm in Kenyon Studios I and II


John Meehan, ( X-7832 (Director)

Stephen Rooks, ( X–74o2 (Faculty Choreographer)

Leslie Partridge Sachs, (  (Rehearsal Director, Assistant Director)

Lisa Harvie, ( X-7604 (Faculty Choreographer)

David Ferri, ( X-7626 (Lighting Designer and Technical Director)

Daniel Pressler, ( X-7470 (Music Director)

Course Description:

This course is the designation for Vassar’s Dance company in residence: The Vassar Repertory Dance Theater. Admission to this course is strictly by audition AND a good faith student/director agreement that all requirements for participation in the company are not in conflict with other obligations the student has.

  • The mission of VRDT is to give students an opportunity to experience the process of dance choreography, rehearsal and production in a professional environment under the direction of artists in the dance field.
  • VRDT is also dedicated to giving students an opportunity to dance important works from the classical modern and ballet repertoire.
  • Finally, VRDT provides an outlet for students and guest alumni who wish to develop choreographic skills and offers venues for public performances of these works.

Students selected should understand that VRDT, like any other extracurricular activity is a serious commitment and should not be taken on lightly.

  • You are required to be at all regularly scheduled VRDT rehearsals unless you are told in advance that you will not be needed that day.
  • You will be asked to rehearse several hours per week outside of scheduled rehearsal times. (Based on your availability.)
  • You must be available for performances scheduled on the VRDT Production Schedule for the academic year.
  • You must be registered in (or audit) at least one dance technique course in addition to VRDT.
  • You will be asked to conduct yourself in a professional manner in rehearsals: This includes prompt arrival for warm-up, regular attention to the weekly schedule and its changes and anticipation of conflicts you will have with scheduled rehearsals and performances. In the event of an excused absence, you will be responsible for learning work missed outside of the regularly scheduled rehearsal time.

Above all VRDT should be an engaging learning experience, in which you can experience both the thrills and responsibilities of professional work in a performing arts situation.


It is important to remember that VRDT is not a required course and it is presumed that you want to be in it and are willing to accept the responsibility that comes with the fun. If you are taking this for a grade, your grade in VRDT will be an average of a grade assigned by The VRDT Director and Assistant Director. The grade will be based entirely on participation. Your achievement in participation will be in proportion to the effort, concentration, and creativity that you devote to the work in the rehearsal process and in the professionalism that is demonstrated in your conduct throughout the quarter. Continual problems with lateness, absences, disrespect to peers, guest choreographers and directors, disregard of studio rules, etc. will reflect very poorly on your participation grade. If there is a serious problem in any of these areas and you are receiving a failing grade in the course, you will be removed from all pieces and excused from the class for the duration of the year.

If you are not taking this course for a grade, you are still held to the same standards of conduct and failure to adhere to them will result in one warning followed by termination if the problem persists.

Attendance and Injury:

Unlike other courses, there are not permitted any unexcused absences from VRDT’s regularly scheduled rehearsals. If you must miss for any reason other than acute illness (such as religious holidays) you must inform the director at least one week in advance. If you are acutely ill you should e-mail the director at least 2 hours prior to rehearsal time. Failure to abide by these policies will result in immediate probation in the first instance and possible dismissal in the second instance.


Injury is an unfortunate reality of work in the dance profession. The faculty of the dance program are dedicated to your safety and health in your work in dance at Vassar and will provide a safe environment in class and rehearsal. We are also sensitive to issues of good body mechanics and will do our best to insure that you are not injured in the rehearsal process. Nonetheless injuries do occur and usually require time off for proper healing. 
 If you become injured or notice any problem with a past chronic injury, you should inform the director immediately. If the injury requires excusal from more than 1 week of rehearsals you must consult a physician at Baldwin and present a diagnosis and treatment plan. If you want to have access to the athletic trainers, you must go to Baldwin and get a physical and referral.
We will make every effort to work around an injury and are committed to your speedy recovery. However, if illness or injury are a serious problem and exclude you from more than 4 weeks of rehearsal throughout the semester, you may be asked to take a hardship withdrawal from the course.


You are responsible to note changes in the schedule. The schedule board and webpage Rehearsal Schedule will be updated every Monday by 4pm. THESE ARE YOUR MOST IMPORTANT RESOURCES FOR DETAILED SCHEDULE INFORMATION!!! Check them often. Please note any conflicts immediately and alert the director. You will not be held responsible for changes made after Monday at 6pm, but please try to accommodate any necessary late or midweek changes.


Leotards and tights or exercise clothes (sweats, T-shirts) may be worn for warm-up. You may not take warm-up in street clothes. Long hair must be securely fastened and loose jewelry and hats are not allowed. A considerate level of personal hygiene must be maintained; please make certain your rehearsal wear is laundered and fresh for your rehearsals. Particular choreographers may have specific requirements beyond those stipulated.

You should change clothes in the dressing rooms on the first floor of Kenyon. Street clothes and coats must be stored in the lockers in the dressing rooms. Please bring your own lock. As a member of VRDT you may have a permanent locker. To keep a locker for the semester you should talk to Joanne Jensen, the administrator in the Dance Office who will keep a log of your locker number. You may not store your clothes or school bags in the studio or outside in the hallway during class.


There are items you will need to purchase for your dancing with the company.

Women – You must have a flesh (your flesh color) colored undergarment camisole to be worn under most of your costumes. If you are wearing a leotard based costume, you must for your protection and in consideration of others,wear an undergarment.
The undergarment leotard should not have the clear plastic straps. They come lose and are not secure. They also have broken during partnering.
If your costume becomes soiled or stained as they will from time to time, please notify a costume assistant immediately.

Men – You must wear a dance belt under your costume.
If it is white and worn under a color other than white, you must make sure it is not visible to the audience.
It is also important to wear a dance belt during rehearsals to prevent injury.

Purchasing these items is best done as soon as possible. There is a Dancewear store extremely close called Balletomania.


No costume may be left on the floor, even during fast changes. All costumes must be hung up in the appropriate manner. You are responsible for your costume. Prior to performance, you must take the responsibility to check for all costume pieces that you will be wearing.

On occasion costumes have accidentally traveled home with dancers. If you open up your bag and discover a piece of costuming please notify the Costume Mistress.

Studio Rules:

  • Be prepared for class always (on time, dressed, ready to dance)
  • No street shoes in the studio.
  • Do not leave coats and shoes and bags in the hallway outside the studio!!
  • No gum, food, or drink in the studio. (Water bottles excepted)–You will be given short breaks after warm up and at after an hour and a half of rehearsal if you need a snack.
  • Do not place anything on or near the piano.
  • Do not leave the studio without the instructor’s permission.
  • Do not bring your personal belongings into the studio during class.
  • No hats may be worn during class.
  • If you are late, enter quietly, go to the back of the room, begin warming up on your own and join the warm-up in progress as quickly as possible.


If you have any interest in choreographing a dance, this is your chance! As a member of VRDT you will be given both opportunity and support in any choreographic efforts whether it is your first piece or fiftieth. You will be given priority (after faculty) to reserve rehearsal time on the schedule in one of 3 studios on a weekly basis. You will have at your disposal the advice of dance faculty and the VRDT musical director Dan Pressler. You will also be given opportunities to have your work produced in several showings and possibly at the Bardavon Theater in the Spring Gala. Finally, you will have the chance to get good video documentation of your work. (There is also a modest costume budget.) 
 If you are interested in choreographing please look closely at the VRDT production schedule. The first showing is in 4 weeks from the start of classes. This does not mean that you should have anything finished by then, but you should plan on showing something in that showing. Therefore, if you are planning to choreograph please talk to the director during the first week to discuss your ideas, cast the piece, and schedule rehearsals. To make studio reservations, write to Joanne at

Other Concerns:

VRDT is a major commitment of time and effort and hopefully your enjoyment of this will be in proportion to the commitment you make to it. It is also part of your whole experience at the College and we want to assure that your other obligations do not slip as a result of your participation. Therefore, we will try to limit the number of faculty pieces any individual is cast in to two. You are not obliged to be in more than two faculty pieces although you may be asked to be in a third. This is subject to your permission! Also we will STRONGLY ADVISE you to limit to 5, the number of pieces (student and faculty) in which are in, in total.

Academic accommodations are available for students with disabilities who are registered with the office of Disability and Support Services. Please schedule an appointment with the instructor early in the semester to discuss any accommodations for this course which have been approved by the Director of Disability and Support Services as indicated in your accommodation letter.