Dance at RIT

COVID-19 impact on performing arts.

The show must go on, perhaps even virtually!
Learn more about our plans related to COVID-19

The RIT Dance Program is a community of students, scholars, artists, and artisans who regard the collaborative and creative process as the core of education, pursuing excellence and understanding through teaching and learning. Engaged in the creative process combining dance with technology, students are guided to discover ways of knowing themselves and the world around them using cognitive diversity.

We teach ways of discovery and creation in the tradition of a liberal arts education involving both experientially and academically rigorous course work. It’s a unique experience bringing together deaf, hard-of-hearing and hearing students from the various disciplines at RIT. Students participating in the dance program are from every level of experience and ability. The program is designed to help in the balance of creative and critical thinking, guiding students to develop technical skills, as well as soft skills, that will deepen their scholarly appreciation of dance as a medium and enrich their educational experience.

Dance Courses

Join our community of students, scholars, artists, and artisans who regard the collaborative and creative process as the core of education. You'll be engaged in a creative process that intentionally combines dance with technology, as you discover new ways of knowing yourself and the world around you.

Dance Courses


No productions currently scheduled.

Workshops and Guest Performances

Broadway Comes to RIT is a series of virtual conversations and master classes with actors, singers, dancers, choreographers and directors who have had successful careers on Broadway, TV and film. Shows that these guest speakers have performed in include, The Music Man, The King and I, Pippin, Fosse, CATS and the Radio City Christmas Spectacular to name a few. These stars meet virtually with students to share their experiences, talk about how they got to where they are today, and to get to know the RIT/NTID community in a casual setting and discuss all things performing arts.

Read more

Broadway Comes to RIT

International performer and teacher James “Cricket” Colter teaches at dance festivals worldwide including the famous Bates Dance Festival in Maine and the international SDK (Street Dance Kamp) in Europe. He has performed as a featured dancer in TV commercials, the successful Disney movie Step Up 2 the Streets, and music videos for recording artists such as Boyz II Men, KRS-1, Will Smith, Eve, Avril Lavigne, Fall Out Boy, Chris Brown; and was host of MTV Japan’s Dreamers television show. This workshop was sponsored by the KeyBank Rochester Fringe Festival.

Deaf hip-hop artist and RIT graduate Sean Forbes returns to RIT’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf to perform his show “Deaf and Loud.” In addition to performing hip-hop, Forbes—a 2008 graduate of RIT’s College of Applied Science and Technology—is an accomplished drummer, songwriter and communicator. His debut album, Perfect Imperfection, contains 12 American Sign Language music videos that are coupled with his original songs. He has been featured on CNN, National Public Radio and the Ovation Network series, Motor City Rising, and articles about him have published in Spin, New York Post, and The Washington Post, among others. He has performed hundreds of live shows for both deaf and hearing audiences and has achieved viral success on YouTube.

Forbes is also the founder of D-PAN, the Deaf Performing Artists Network, which has created videos produced in American Sign Language that interpret songs such as Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful,” John Mayer’s “Waiting on the World to Change,” and others. He has opened for the nationally known rap artist Ludacris.

Read more about the performance by Sean Forbes

New York State Ballet will artistically recreate the classic fairy tale centered on a German family’s Christmas Eve celebration - and a dreamland filled with a cast of fanciful characters. Featuring live music by the RIT Orchestra, conducted by Michael Ruhling.

Facilities and Studios

Panara Theatre

Robert F. Panara Theater, named in honor of Dr. Robert Panara, RIT’s first Deaf professor and founder of the NTID Drama Club, has a rich heritage of offering challenging, entertaining, and provocative works of theater, all created for both Deaf and hearing audiences.

Learn more about the Panara Theatre

NTID Dance Lab

The NTID Dance Lab is available for blended (deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing) modern dance class, and other classes and student groups.

Learn more about the NTID Dance Lab

RIT students practicing in a Student Life Center Dance Studio.

Student Life Center Upper and Lower Dance Studio

These dance studios, located in RIT’s Hale Andrews Student Life Center, are used utilized for dance classes, clubs, and other fitness wellness classes, and are available for student use. The studios feature wooden floors and wall mirrors, and the sound system is available to borrow. Ballet Bars are included in Upper Dance Studio only. Students, faculty, and community members with gym membership can reserve the studios through the reservation request system.

An exterior view of the Global Village Dance Studio.

Global Village Dance Studio

This dance studio is a part of the Better Me Wellness Facility located in Global Village and is utilized for dance classes, clubs and other fitness wellness classes, and is available for student use. The studio features wooden floors and wall mirrors, and the sound system is available to borrow. RIT students have 24/7 ID swipe access, and faculty and staff can request 24/7 ID swipe access. Contact Better Me Wellness to reserve the studio.

Past Performances

Multi-arts, multi-experiential dance performance utilizing innovative collaborations with technology and live music. The performance utilizes Augmented Reality and the choreography is created from the technology itself. This will be a true spectacle of color, light, movement and music.

Conceived by and directed by Thomas Warfield

Friday, April 17, 2020 at 7:30pm
Saturday, April 18, 2020 at 2pm and 7:30pm
Sunday, April 19, 2020 at 2pm

Robert F. Panara Theatre, NTID

More information

February 2019
Director: Nicole Cruz

Photo Gallery

Using inspiration found in children's stories and poetry books, this family friendly dance production addresses issues and challenges that we all face, such as bullying, fear, death, racial differences, gender identity, dreams, and equality. The production combines music, American Sign Language, and poetry with dance to express these themes. 

February 21, 2019 - 7:30pm to 9:30pm
February 22, 2019 - 7:30pm to 9:30pm
February 23, 2019 - 2:00pm to 4:00pm
February 23, 2019 - 7:30pm to 9:30pm
February 24, 2019 - 2:00pm to 4:00pm

November 2017
Director: Thomas Warfield and Nicole Hood Cruz

Photo Gallery

The Story of Beauty and the Beast (French: La Belle et la Bete) is a traditional fairy tale written by French novalist Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villenueve and published in 1740. An arrogant young prince and his castle's servants fall under the spell of a wicked enchantress, who turns him into the hideous Beast until he learns to love and be loved in return. The spirited, headstrong village girl Belle enters the Beast's castle after he imprisons her father Maurice. With the help of his enchanted servants, Belle begins to draw the cold-hearted Beast out of his isolation. This story of transformation and enduring happiness is a tale as old as time, now freshly told through the non-verbal expressions in a variety of dance styles, sign language and melody to discover inner beauty as pure love.

November 9, 2017 - 7:30pm to 9:30pm
November 10, 2017 - 7:30pm to 9:30pm
November 11, 2017 - 7:30pm to 9:30pm
November 12, 2017 - 2:00pm to 4:00pm

October 2016
Director: Nicole Hood and Thomas Warfield


DanceTales is a semester production of the NTID Performing Arts Program bringing multicultural stories and folklore from around the world as inspiration for a variety of dances which include styles of jazz, ballet, hip-hop, tap, modern dance, folk dance and multiple ethnic and cultural dances, as well as original generated visual projection and animation. Dance groups and clubs from the RIT campus will join together in presenting this visually engaging dance interpretations of storytelling. Don't miss the opportunity to experience this thrilling dance show!

October 27, 2016 - 7:30pm to 9:30pm
October 28, 2016 - 7:30pm to 9:30pm
October 29, 2016 - 7:30pm to 9:30pm
October 30, 2016 - 2:00pm to 4:00pm

Robert F. Panara Theatre

March 2017
Director: Joseph Fox

Photo Gallery

by Dana Proulx

This extremely adaptable comedy shows the other side of several familiar fairy tales when two of their biggest villains, the Big Bad Wolf and the Wicked Witch, are brought to trial. Both the Wolf and the Witch have been frolicking from fairy tale to fairy tale wreaking havoc as they try to prevent the general public from living happily ever after. Hear the personal accounts of what happened, told in testimonies and flashback sequences, from characters such as Snow White, Dorothy, Sleeping Beauty, the Three Pigs, Little Red Riding Hood and many others, including the Witch and the Wolf themselves, as each trial unfolds. The audience is the jury, so each trial has two endings depending on the verdict.     

March 30, 2017 - 7:30pm to 9:30pm
March 31, 2017 - 7:30pm to 9:30pm
April 1, 2017 - 7:30pm to 9:30pm
April 2, 2017 - 2:00pm to 4:00pm

November 2015
Director: Thomas Warfield

NTID/RIT Dance Company presents Seasons - Change and Reflections.

There is a rhythm to the seasons… an ebb and flow, a coming and going that brings something new to experience while rekindling the past that gave growth.  In our dance production ‘Seasons’ we have tried to capture the inevitable changes - like the Fall shades of color slowly fading providing a premonition of Winter; and the beautiful starkness of Winter forced to relent to the soft green, growing beginnings of Spring; and then a Spring unfolding into the longer vibrant light of Summer exuberance! These dances – Ballet, Modern Dance, Jazz, Tango, Hip-Hop and Tap converge in an array of color and sound enhanced by visual video projection, costumes, lighting & set designs, and live music to present a broad experience within the diversity of movement expression. This is one of the first collaborations for the nearly 30 year old RIT/NTID Dance company (comprised of deaf, hard of hearing and hearing dancers) with other performance groups on campus including: Vis Viva Dance Company, Velocity Urban Dance Crew, Tango Dance Club, Eight Beat Measure and the RIT String Quartet. Don’t miss this unique performance of dance and visual theatre.

**November 5th and 6th Special Encore International Hip-Hop Violinist - Svet

November 5, 2015 - 7:30pm to 9:30pm
November 6, 2015 - 7:30pm to 9:30pm
November 7, 2015 - 7:30pm to 9:30pm
November 8, 2015 - 2:00pm to 4:00pm

February 2012
Director: Thomas Warfield

by Thomas Warfield

May 2006
Director: Thomas Warfield

Photo Gallery

mixed repertoire

  • Dances by Dancers (March 1999)
  • Peter and the Wolf (April 2000)
  • Visual Quest Dancing (November 2000)
  • Dance Train (February 2002)
  • Freedom! (February 2003)
  • OZ (April 2004)
  • Dancefest (February 2005)
  • Ten Year Retrospective (February 2008)
  • Story of Sleeping Beauty (February 2010)
  • Danser Et Voler (February 2011)

Dance Student Clubs