Sandra L. Burton

Sandra Burton, Chair

Lipp Family Director of Dance and Senior Lecturer in Dance

'62 Center for Theatre & Dance Rm 290
At Williams since 1983


B.A. City College of New York (1983)
M.F.A. Bennington College, Choreography/Dance (1987)



Foundations in Dance (not offered 2024/25)

DANC 330 / AFR 330 / MUS 330 STU

Modern Folklore: Postcolonial Dance and Music in Africa (not offered 2024/25)

Current Committees

  • Arts Strategic Planning Committee
  • Ad Hoc Committee on Inquiry and Inclusion
  • Arts Council
  • CenterSeries

Honorary Degree

  • Doctor of Fine Arts (honoris causa), Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts

At Williams

  • 1983-2009: Director, Dance Program
  • 1986-present: Co-Artistic Director and co-founder of Kusika
  • 2004-present: Lipp Family endowed Chair of Dance
  • 2009-present: Chair, Department of Dance


Sandra L Burton is a dancer, choreographer, educator and arts presenter. Her choreography for theater includes six seasons at Williamstown Theater Festival as well as productions at PlayMakers Repertory Theater (Salome), Goodman Theater (Joe Turner Come and Gone), Henry Street Settlement (Duet) and five seasons with Williams College Theater Department.  She choreographed composer Craig Harris’ productions of Gods Trombones (two seasons at the Apollo Theater and additional performances at MASS MoCA, Harlem Gate House and Teatro Manzoni Milano, Italy).  Burton’s choreography has also been performed at Dance Theater Workshop, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival Inside/Out, Judson Memorial Church, MASS MoCA and at venues in Brazil, Nicaragua and the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.  She toured nationally for eleven years as a member of the Chuck Davis Dance Company and also performed with the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange and the Horse’s Mouth Project during the 2004-2005 seasons.

She performed in and contributed choreography for Comin Up for Air , a film by visual artist Carrie Mae Weems and has choreographed two of  artist Nick Caves’ Sound Suit parades. Burton researched and co-curated “African Americans and the American Scene 1929-1945” with Mellon Curatorial Fellow Dalila Scaggs. This was an exhibition of visual art, media and performance for Williams College Museum of Art, January-April 2012.

Current projects include producing a documentary film, Out SomeWhere Dancing on the life and work of choreographer/humanitarian Chuck Davis, and collaborating with other Berkshire County, Massachusetts residents to create Lift Ev’ry Voice, a festival celebrating African American culture and history since 2011. Burton serves on board of Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, The Clark Art Institute and is co-chair of the New England Foundation for the Arts Advisory Council. She is Trustee Emertitus of MASS MoCA and the New England Foundation for the Arts, appointed to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Education’s Arts Curriculum Framework Committee from 1993-96 and selected by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) as a dancer/educator serving nationally in the Artist in Education program from 1978-83. Burton has continued to serve the field as a panelist and consultant to the NEA, Surdna Foundation, LEF Foundation, Doris Duke Foundation and numerous state arts councils from 1982 to the present.