Hope College believes in the transformative power of dance, and we have the opportunity to do more.

Learn More about the Dance 50 Celebration 

Our Department of Dance creates a space and designs a curriculum to attract and inspire students to grow and discover four essential components of creative expression: artistry, physicality, intellect and spirituality.

Three female dancers on stage in colorful costumesChallenge

Currently, more than 80 students select dance as their college major or minor of study in pursuit of their Bachelors of Fine Arts. Nearly double that number, 150 students, enrich their Hope College experience by closely collaborating with our dance and theater faculty and departments each year. We are not limited in our desire to create and explore the arts and expression. But we are significantly challenged by our current physical space which is inadequate for minimum accreditation and expansion of our professional dance training and instruction.

The Need: Dance

As participation, access and engagement in arts experiences grow, so must the spaces that support them. Current spaces are limited in capacity and restrictive to the talent our students possess.

  • Student enrollment and the breadth of dance instruction offered have both increased, which means our space must meet the demand.
  • The core of athleticism and talent of Hope dancers has strengthened over the years, requiring spaces that will showcase these talents.
  • Our accrediting agency has determined that our current space does not accommodate a program as robust as ours.
  • Collaborations among Hope’s arts departments and with external, professional organizations are growing, but to fully take advantage of these opportunities, more conducive spaces are needed.
The Need: Fitness

The Dow Center is Hope’s primary recreational facility for everyone, but it has not kept pace with our vision of caring for students’ physical wellbeing, and it does not provide adequate, welcoming space for improved physical and mental health.

  • The Dow Center is dated. Built in 1978, with minimal upgrades since, the workout space is not aligned with current trends in individual and group fitness.
  • Intramurals thrive, with 19 sports and hundreds of student participants, but inadequate space for practice, strength conditioning, and competition prevent many more from engaging in intramurals.
  • As an academic building, the four classrooms used by multiple academic programs are not equipped to support current teaching practices.
  • Improved architectural aesthetic and flow benefits revenue-enhancing summer camps, which showcase student leadership, community-building and non-profit service.

Female dancer in sunglassesThe Solution

The Jim and Eileen Heeringa Dance Wing addition to the DeWitt Cultural Center and renovated studios in the Dow Center will accomplish several things for our dance and theatre departments, as well as the Hope community.

  • Provide our dancers with an appropriately-sized performance area
  • With vacant space left in the Dow Center, this doubles the size available for student health, wellness and recreation.
  • Satisfy the accreditation requirements, thereby continuing Hope’s status as one of few private, liberal arts colleges with accreditation in all areas of the arts.
  • Allow the dance and theatre departments to more effectively cooperate with other organizations, while cultivating external, professional relationships.

Space for Healthy Expression

The 21st Century Dance and Fitness project will add studio and rehearsal space for the dance program that exceeds accreditation standards and will provide expanded, re-imagined space for all students to invest in their health and wellbeing.

  • Construct a state-of-the-art dance studio as an addition to the DeWitt theater where all four art disciplines can permeate the Department of Dance. Located on the Columbia Avenue corridor, it will inspire greater collaboration and partnerships that further elevates Hope’s reputation for excellence in the arts.
  • Rebuild two dance studios in the Dow Center to exceed accreditation standards, thereby continuing Hope’s status as one of few private, liberal arts colleges with accreditation in all areas of the arts.
  • The new and renovated dance studios will promote dynamic collaborations with other art disciplines — most significantly with theater — and cultivate robust external, professional partnerships.
  • Dramatically increase and re-imagine the space for student health, wellness and recreation to support existing fitness and cardio programming and our flourishing intramural sports programs.
  • Expand opportunities for more than 150 students who major, minor and/or enrich their college studies through the discipline of dance, and provide greater opportunity for all Hope students to invest in their wellbeing,
  • Express new and exciting cultural identities through rhythmic movement within the new space will be critical as the college expands cultural diversity through Hope Forward.