Vanessa Anspaugh

Visiting Assistant Professor of Dance

Teaching this semester

DANC 1101. Making Dances

Explores movement invention, organization, and meaning. Problem-solving exercises, improvisations, and studies focus mainly on solo, duet, and trio forms. A video component introduces students -- regardless of previous experience in dance -- to a wide range of compositional methods and purposes. Includes reading, writing, discussion, attendance at live performances, and -- when possible -- work with visiting professional artists.

DANC 1501. Dancing Histories

Studio work accompanies video viewings and readings on twentieth-century modern dance and ballet. Focuses on the cultural politics of dance performance -- vocabularies and notions of representation, intention, and authorship -- and changing ideas of the performance space. Viewing and reading moves chronologically, while studio work addresses global themes such as dance and identity, expressionism, self-reference, and the natural. No previous dance experience is required.

Vanessa Anspaugh, is a choreographer, teacher, and performance based artist originally from Los Angeles California. Many of the questions that surround her work address the myriad relationships that exist in collections of groups and individuals, touching on tropes such as directorship, authorship, collaboration, collectivity, domination, and love. By looking at ways to subvert the dynamics and/or reverse the structures around the act of choreographing, she wrestles in her work with multiple power dynamics in the room and in the world at large. She is currently a Bessie award nominee for her most recent work, The End of Men, An Ode to Ocean.  

After training and performing as a pre-professional ballerina, Anspaugh attended Antioch College where she studied Buddhist Philosophy and fine art. She then moved to New York and danced for a number of dance companies and artists throughout the city. Anspaugh then shifted her focus to creating her own company in 2006. Her work has been both commissioned and presented by Danspace Project, Dance Theater Workshop, New York Live Arts, The River to River Festival, BAX, The Sculpture Center, The Hessel Museum of Art, AUNTS, Movement Research, Catch Series, The Kitchen (through Emily Roysdon) Performance Mix at HERE Arts Center, Studio 303 in Montreal, as well as The Cowels Center in Minneapolis, where she created a new work on The Zenon Dance Company. She holds an MFA in choreography and performance from Smith College and has taught dance at Smith, Mount Holyoke, and Bard College.


  • B.A., Antioch
  • M.F.A., Smith