Dance at RIT

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

Productions


Ignite Dance at RIT & NTID Performance
February 11-13, 2022

Panara Theatre, NTID

More details

Workshops and Guest Performances

​​​​A Bay Area native, Purple Fire Crow also Known as Mr. Antoine Hunter is an award-winning African, Indigenous, Deaf, Disable, Two Spirit producer, choreographer, film/theater actor, dancer, dance instructor, model, poet, speaker, mentor, and Deaf advocate. Mr. Hunter received his training in dance and acting training at Skyline High School Oakland, Ca, California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), and Paul Taylor Dance School in NYC. The founder and artistic director of Urban Jazz Dance, Hunter has performed with Savage Jazz Dance Company, Nuba Dance Theater, Alayo Dance Company, Robert Moses’ KIN, Man Dance, Sins Invalid, Amara Tabor-Smith, Kim Epifano, Push Dance Company, Fly Away Productions, Joanna Haigood, OET theater, and the Lorraine Hansberry Theater. He has performed throughout the Bay Area and the world including Cuba, Rome, Hawaii, Peru and London. Hunter is a faculty member at East Bay Center for the Performing Arts, Shawl-Anderson, Youth in Arts and Dance-A-Vision. He is the founder of Iron Tri-Angel Urban Ballet in Richmond, was an instructor and rehearsal director for the Ross Dance Company, dance captain for Expedia.com commercials and was head Choreographer director for a Philippines's Musical "Amerikana-The Musical". while he loves doing short films and long films plus music videos, he was Head Choreographer for D-PAN: Deaf Professional Arts Network ASL Music Video: "Call Me Maybe" by Carly Rae Jepsen. 

Awards include the 2011 National Dance Week Dancer's Choice Award, Margaret Jenkin's CHIME award, the 2009 VRS Award (the international organization on arts and disabilities), and the 2000 Bay Area Star Award. 2016 receive many honors, just to name one New York's The Radio City Rockets' Pick for Dancer of the week; they quote, "Mr. Hunter is talented and inspiring dancer, proving that you don’t need to hear the music to move to it beautifully." He has been featured in front cover DeafLife Magazine, plus featured in Dance Spirit Magazine, Dance Teacher Magazine, Dance MagazineDance Studio Life Magazine, and more but also had been quoted also in several texts’ books. He is known as former president of the Bay Area Black Deaf Advocate and Director-at-Large for the Northern California chapter of the California Association of the Deaf.  He has been featured in Oakland North, CNN's The Great Big story, KQED's Arts, and many appearing for Purple Technologies, which sells Deaf services and products. Mr. Hunter is an active supporter of DeafHope, an organization whose mission is to end domestic and sexual violence in Deaf communities through empowerment, education, and services. He teaches dance and ASL in both Hearing and Deaf communities and is the founder and artistic director of Urban Jazz Dance Company and has been producing the Bay Area International Deaf Dance Festival since 2013. His projects have been awarded funding by both CA$H Theater Bay Area and the Zellerbach Family Foundation.

Mr. Christopher Collins received his training from the Timothy M. Draper Center for Dance Education, on scholarship with the Joffrey Ballet School, Hubbard Street Dance summer intensive, and Point Park University. He has performed with Gelsey Kirkland and the Joffrey Ballet School, as Arabian, Russian, Fritz, and Snow King, in their performances of The Nutcracker, and with Ballet for Young Audiences in New York City.

Mr. Collins has performed various roles with Rochester City Ballet including the Cavalier, Nutcracker Prince, Magical Doll, Lead Spanish, and Italian Ice in The Nutcracker, the Dance Master in Cinderella, and roles in Jamey Leverett’s 4Play and the world premiere of InCantation. His favorite ballet is Shoot the Moon by Nederlands Dance Theatre

William D’Ovidio is the co-owner of Aerial Arts of Rochester. William brings an innovative style and approach to teaching that allows people of all ages, levels and abilities to do experience the circus arts. Prior to aerial, he was a 3rd degree black belt and instructed martial arts for 10 years. Throughout college he focused on sports medicine, while attaining a comprehensive understanding of human physiology and anatomy. He has been able to help many athletes and aerialists avoid injuries and succeed in their training.

William is also a graduate of Rochester Institute of Technology and professional photographer. Having worked as digital editor for the New York Times Magazine, he has been able to use his multi-media experience to elevate the professionalism of Aerial Arts of Rochester.

When transiting back to his roots in the health and fitness industry William trained under Olympic Athlete, Christine VanLoo, Cirque Du Soliel artist, Ann Stimmel and at many circus arts training schools across the U.S. including the reputable New England Center of Circus Arts. Through education, he continues to inspire others to follow their dreams of running away with the circus.

Sean McLeod is an Executive Producer, Award Winning Businessman, and American Choreographer whose work spans more than 30 years and 3 continents including New York City, across the US, and internationally to the West Indies, the Caribbean, Europe, and Africa.  Sean is founder of Reaching for Higher Ground Consulting – a Communication, Performance, and Development Company, President of Kaleidoscope Dance Theatre, and is Executive Producer of the Harriet Tubman Freedom Music Festival, New York Dance Festival and the Global Dance Initiative.  He has worked with several Senators and Congressmen and is a Conference Designer, Fortune 500 Executive Life Coach, Mediation Expert, and Motivational Speaker that uses the arts to teach Personality Development and Emotional Development for Corporations and Executives. He teaches Life Skills to Teens, habit shedding to adults, and racial innovation Training for schools & universities.

Sean McLeod is President of the New York Institute of Dance & Education and the recipient of countless awards including the coveted Jefferson Award for Public Service to America founded by the late Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, the New York State Liberty Award (the NY Senate’s highest honor), and the NAACP Trailblazers Medal of Honor.  Sean was inducted into the Auburn Music Hall of Fame and is presently working with the legendary Wycliffe Gordon on new arrangements of “A Soundtrack for Harriet Tubman,” a suite of songs he composed nearly 30 years ago. Sean is noted for promoting talent everywhere he works and has personally awarded over 400 thousand dollars to established and emerging artists.

Mr. McLeod attended the Conservatory of Dance at the State University of New York at Purchase and has established himself as successful Consultant and Executive Corporate Advisor. An expert creator, strategist, and wordsmith, he assists CEO’s and their teams connect their products with greater audience understanding and appeal. 

Sean is a Master Teacher and acknowledged developer of movement systems, most notably his codified McLeod Technique “MT”, MT Afro Hip Hop, Training For Athletes – TFA, and Reinforced Motor Function ® RMF which are taught globally. Mr. McLeod works in New York City as well as in major cities across the Globe. He is an expert in Emotional Development, Personality Development and Body Alignment and created the syllabus for university study at the State University Of New York at Cayuga College that he also taught at RIT. Sean developed the Black Ballet Discovery Project, the Black Ballet Creative Workshops, and launched the Black Ballet Choreographers Symposium and Commission Conference in LA in 2018 launched with Denise Saunders Thompson and the International Association of Blacks in Dance. He believes you can be anything you want, provided you prepare yourself, share immensely, and help others be significant too.

As a Black Choreographer Sean has had countless commissions from Universities to the Federal Government. At the beginning of his career Sean McLeod used choreography and dance to present experiences that challenged the way minorities and people of color are seen in contemporary society. 30 years later Sean additionally uses movement to help women and girls around the globe to find their self-value in life and survive well in dance. Sean McLeod is an altruistic “believer in people,” whose purpose is moving people to tangible action, personal responsibility and aiding those in social conflict.​​​​​​​

  • Irish Step Dancing Lead - Ann-Katherine Candelori, B.S. in Management Information Systems ’22, started her dance career at the Griffith Academy at the age of 4 years old. Within her competitive Irish Step Dancing experience, she is a regional and a North American National qualifier, was a Griffith Dance Company member, and was a Student Teacher for beginner Irish and Ballet. Ann-Katherine pursued multiple dance styles such as tap, ballet, and jazz throughout her 14 years at the Academy. While at the Rochester Institute of Technology, Ann-Katherine Candelori became the Assistant to the Director of Dance at RIT and built experiential and educational programs for current Performing Art Scholars and students to pursue their individual dance careers through performances, workshops, and master class opportunities.
     
  • Tap Dancing Lead - Bethany Folchi is an honors student in BS in Mechanical Engineering Technology and minoring in Music and Technology at RIT ’23. Bethany has been dancing for eighteen years in the style’s ballet/pointe, tap, jazz, modern, lyrical, and contemporary. She has participated in regional and national dance competitions with Pinewood Dance Company, received awards and scholarships from the American Academy of Ballet’s Performance Awards Program and was given the opportunity to perform as the Sugar Plum Fairy in Dutchess Dance Theatre’s The Nutcracker. Bethany is actively involved in dance through leadership and choreography positions with Vis Viva Dance Company at RIT, as well as taken Ballet/Modern Dance with Thomas Warfield and Jazz/Hip Hop with Marc Holland.

​​​​​​Born in Conakry, Guinea, master drummer and dancer Kerfala Bangoura began his professional career in 1990. He has performed with numerous private ballets in Guinea, including the Macaca Ballet, Kounkoré Bamba Ballet, and Ballet Fareta, where he received his attestation and diploma – a certification of artistic excellence – in both drumming and dance, enabling him to work with the national performing ensembles of Guinea. Named “Master Drummer” by the Guinean Ministry of Culture in 2008, he was a featured djembe soloist for two of Guinea’s national groups, Percussions de Guinée and Les Ballets Africains, for over 8 years. Since his arrival in the United States in the spring of 2009, Kerfala has worked extensively as a performer and educator. He has taught at the University of Oregon and the University of Rochester, as well as numerous classes, workshops, and performances at elementary, middle, and high schools in Portland, Oregon. With his performing group, Mounafanyi, he opened Portland’s African Film Festival in 2010, and has also won a grant from Portland’s Regional Arts and Culture Council (RACC).

​​​​​​RIT/NTID Community has opportunities to watch world class performances during each semester. This Fall, we saw the Rochester City Ballet's "Theatrically Theatrical" and "Nutcracker" Studio Rehearsal Performances where the students were able to meet the Cast & Director of the RCB Dance Company.

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.

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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

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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. 

Showtimes:
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.

Showtimes:
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

Poster

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!

Showtimes:
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.     

Showtimes:
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

Showtimes:
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)