About Us

All who audition for Orchesis are cast in a piece, which makes Orchesis a home to dancers from a variety of backgrounds and levels.

It takes a lot to put on performances of this size, which would not be possible without the support of Lerner Tech Services, Columbia Student Engagement, Barnard Student Life, the Barnard Dance Department, Columbia Arts Initiative, and our advisors, Julia Dooley and Rachel Graf Evans.


Our goal is to exist as an inclusive space to create and share dance on campus. We hope that our members walk away from each performance with not only an appreciation and excitement for dance, but a greater sense of community at Columbia.

Each semester, Orchesis puts on an evening-length performance, showcasing the different skill levels and dance styles of approximately 13-15 student choreographers and over 150 dancers. You can choose to participate in Orchesis as a dancer, choreographer, and/or board member!

Choreographer Applications

Choreographer applications are usually released one week before the start of each semester. Orchesis board then reviews the applications and selects 13-15 pieces to be performed in the show that semester.

In the application, choreographers are asked to describe the style, level, and intention behind their piece, as well as their approach to teaching choreography. Choreographers will also be asked to submit a short video of them dancing their piece.

When reviewing choreographer applications, our board selects students with varying backgrounds, levels, and styles to showcase their work. Our goal is to ensure a large variety of pieces are selected in order to ensure there is a place for all kinds of Orchesis dancers! Selectiveness is dependent on the number of applications we receive, and if board does not select your piece you are highly encouraged to apply again in a future semester!

Dancer Auditions

Dancer auditions typically take place the second weekend after school begins.

At auditions dancers will see each choreographer perform a snippet of their piece and have an opportunity to rank the choreographer’s pieces in order of preference. No dancing will be required by dancers during auditions.

All who audition for Orchesis are cast in a piece! (Audition information, as it is released, can be found on our Facebook and Instagram pages)

All of the pieces performed in our shows are choreographed by students. It’s up to the choreographers selected for that semester to decide which style they would like to showcase. All styles are welcome in Orchesis!

The Orchesis Board helps to produce our semesterly performance, as well as coordinate the organizational aspects of our club. We have board meetings each week for one hour, and our elections happen at the end of every fall semester. Orchesis board positions turn over each calendar year.

You may apply to be on the General Board after participating in Orchesis for one semester.

You may apply to be on the Executive Board, which consists of the Chair, Producer, Treasurer, and Administrator after completing one calendar year on General Board.

Meet our current board here!

Like what you see? Orchesis Board applications are available in December on the Applications & Forms page.

With the exception of tech week and a “Works in Progress” showing, each piece rehearses one hour per week. A dancer may participate in up to three pieces. Worried you won’t have the time to boogie? The “Works in Progress” showcase last roughly one hour and we provide bagels! Orchesis also hosts activities throughout the semester, such as cast bonding and our post-performance cast party, which are not required, though they are lots of fun!

No. In accordance with our mission for inclusivity, there are no financial barriers to joining our club. No dancer in Orchesis will ever be required to pay for anything, as we cover all costumes and show related fees.

Our wonderful Costume Coordinators! Under the leadership of our Treasurer, Costume Coordinators liaise between choreographers and board members to ensure that all costumes are ordered, allocated, and distributed to the dancers in each piece. Our Costume Coordinators work to ensure every choreographers creative vision can be brought to life, and that every dancer is comfortable with what they are wearing onstage. They also gather, wash, and fold all of the costumes before and after each show.

Every year, a show title is selected from submissions sent to us by members of the Orchesis community via Google form. After an intense and often spirited debate, our board votes on each of these submissions, eventually narrowing it down to one title. It’s a tradition for our show title to be a playful pun on “Orchesis”, which means “the art of dancing in the Greek chorus.”

Some past winners include (but are not limited to): DiscOrchesis, Gimme Gimme MOrchesis, New York New YOrchesis, Versace on the FloOrchesis, Juicy CoutOrchesis, Dance Moms: Living on the FloOrchesis, and our most recent show… RodeOrchesis! Want to suggest a title? When our show title nomination form goes live, choreographers will send the form to their casts.

Check out our available merchandise and fill out this form to order! The form is updated regularly with size inventories. We also sell Orchesis and show-specific gear at Orchesis events including the "Works In Progress" showcase and throughout the entirety of tech week each semester.

None. Zero. Zilch. While a background in dance is helpful, it is not at all required. Many of our dancers have had previous training, but for many Orchesis is their first dance experience EVER.

Sure they can! Swipe access is required to rehearse in dance spaces on campus, so any student with swipe access is welcome. While alumni cannot dance in our show, alumni are always welcome to get involved in Orchesis through teaching masterclasses! If you want more information on how to get involved as an alumni, email [email protected].

Yes! We are always looking for ushers for our show, as well as photographers, videographers, and graphic designers to help create promotional materials. Email [email protected] or [email protected] if you're interested (or if you have ideas of your own to work with Orchesis).