Deborah Goffe

Associate Professor of Dance and Performance Curation
Deborah Goffe
Contact Deborah

Mail Code DB
Deborah Goffe
Music and Dance Building 2
413.559.5581

On Sabbatical Fall 2021 and Leave of Absence Spring 2022


Deborah Goffe is a performer, dance maker, dance educator, performance curator and intermittent video artist. She is founder of Scapegoat Garden, a Hartford-based collaborative dance theater company, which has served as a primary vehicle and creative community through which Deborah has explored the intersection of dance with other media. A graduate of the University of the Arts (B.F.A., modern dance) and California Institute of the Arts (M.F.A., dance performance and choreography), Deborah earned a professional certificate from Wesleyan University's Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance in 2013 where she explored curatorial practice as a way to nurture the health and vitality of local dance eco-systems.

In 2012, the Connecticut Dance Alliance honored Deborah for Distinguished Achievement in Dance. In service to her work with Scapegoat Garden, Deborah has granted artist fellowships from the Connecticut Office of the Arts (2005, 2013), the Greater Hartford Arts Council (2007), and the Surdna Foundation (2008). In 2010, Deborah was invited to participate as New England Emerging Choreographer at the Bates Dance Festival in Lewiston, Maine. In that same year, she served as a yearlong Artist-in-Residence at Hartford’s Billings Forge Community Works.

From 2011-2012, Deborah served as dance coordinator at Charter Oak Cultural Center, working closely with area dance-makers to re-envision the Greater Hartford dance community through the Homegrown Dance initiative. As an educator, Deborah has taught dance and related courses in a several institutions, including California Institute of the Arts; CREC Center for Creative Youth; Trinity College; CulturArte, a youth arts summer residency program in Cape Verde, Africa; and was for ten years a faculty member of the dance department at CREC Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts. In the fall of 2013 Deborah served as a visiting assistant professor of dance at Wesleyan University. Deborah is thrilled to have joined the Five College Dance Department as assistant professor of modern/contemporary dance at Hampshire College.

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Recent and Upcoming Courses

  • This course will build on students' previous study of modern dance technique, continuing the practice of employing the studio as a laboratory for semester-long exploration. This semester will include special attention to the ways Horton technique can be imagined as a release technique of sorts. This paradox will support ongoing focus on deepening sensation, clarifying points of initiation in the body, expansive use of space, connectivity, the development of strength and stamina, and increasingly complex phrase work. Further, we will begin to consider the ongoing evolution of "modern" and "contemporary", as they relate to dance "training". What habits are you dismantling and what seemingly divergent histories are you weaving together in your quest to develop a unique dance voice all your own? The hope is that this will form the basis of a sustainable and deeply engaged movement practice-one that may inform a lifetime of embodied creative process. Variable Credit (keywords: dance technique, dance)

  • Through this course, students will develop processes that expand their capacities to see, engage, and support artists, their processes and their resulting work; examine histories and functions of curatorial practice as applied to performance and time-based arts, and correlate existing field-wide practices with larger systemic concerns that have shaped the current arts ecosystem. Students will assess their existing and emergent proficiencies in relationship to curatorial functions and the ways those skills can be offered in service to artists in our campus community, across the valley, and more broadly. As part of this process, students will engage with arts professionals and cultural organizers who are building and administering such systems of support, as well as artists who can share their strategies and processes. As the semester unfolds, students will apply their accumulated knowledges to their co-curation of a mini-performance festival that will take place at the conclusion of the spring semester. (keywords: arts ecologies, arts entrepreneurship, curation, arts administration)

  • No description available

  • This beginning-level course invites students to develop movement, making, and performance practices as vehicles for thinking about and supporting new beginnings. The course will function as dance class, rehearsal, and research seminar where we will examine assumptions about whose bodies are afforded the opportunity to be expressive, and learn to trust what our bodies already know. We will also work to expand our capacities for embodied play, experimentation, meaning-making, physical and intellectual rigor, and employ a range of creative modalities (including use of the written word, video and digital media) to contextualize and process embodied experience. Our work will be bolstered by study of theoretical underpinnings of contemporary dance, artmaking and performance practices. We will share our work informally sharing at the conclusion of the semester, with possible performances (live or virtual) early in February 2021. No previous dance experience is necessary.

  • "Desire lines" refer to the well-worn, yet unruled paths made by bodies finding their way. What bodily pathways are prescribed by dance and movement training, and where do our bodies really want to go? How might individual and shared making processes activate tensions between what has been prescribed and the movement(s) we most desire? What do concepts of home teach us about the contours of our interior worlds? How might we map and choreograph home space? In this course, we will activate the intersections between embodied, performance, and site-based practices to consider our bodies as home, and home as intimate and personal spaces where care, and safety might be nurtured. These processes will unfold, first, in home spaces. Culminating work(s) will then develop and be presented through physical and virtual platforms in semester-long collaboration with our partners in "Desire Lines: Theatre/Text/Movements through Space and Place."