MANCHESTER – Saint Anselm College has announced the creation of “The Aaron Tolson Institute of Dance at Saint Anselm College.” The new Institute will begin its work in December and serve as an avenue for the development of young dancers by offering opportunities such as dance intensives, workshops, and student performances with seasoned and prominent dance instructors. 

Aaron Tolson juggling shoes

Specialized training, workshops, and masterclasses led by renowned professionals will offer unique opportunities to students and people in the local community. For more advanced dancers, festivals and regional dance competitions will be hosted by the Institute, which will be housed within the college’s Dana Center for Arts and Humanities

The Institute's annual multi-day dance intensives and tap competitions will offer opportunities for the Dance Team to showcase their talents and possibly compete on a national stage while fostering camaraderie and excellence within the team. In addition to the Institute, there are proposals in development for undergraduate minor and major programs in dance in collaboration with the Fine Arts Department.

Currently an associate professor of dance at the Boston Conservatory at Berklee, Tolson is an internationally known tap-dance authority, choreographer and producer who starred for six years in Riverdance, co-created and was the assistant producer of Imagine Tap!, and is currently the director of the pre-professional tap company “Speaking in Taps.” 

Tolson attended Memorial High School in Manchester, N.H. where he competed in track and field. Throughout his four-year high school career, he set school records in every event in which he competed, qualifying for the 1992 U.S. Olympic Trials. 

The establishment of “The Aaron Tolson Institute of Dance” is a unique opportunity for Saint Anselm to forge new partnerships with art and theater programs, including those on campus, in addition to building relationships with commercial theaters, entertainment venues and organizations. 

“There is tremendous interest and growing career opportunities in dance. I believe this Institute will fit well within our liberal arts identity, will extend the reputation and reach of the college, and will grow enrollment of students, staff, and faculty of diverse backgrounds,” said Dr. Joseph A. Favazza, president of Saint Anselm College.