Five College Consortium

Five College Dance Department

[Mike Vargas]

Mike Vargas

Lecturer and Accompanist in Dance

Mike Vargas works as a freelance composer across the USA and internationally performing, teaching, recording, and improvising. He began playing music in 1959. Since then, his curiosity has led him through many contexts, from cocktail lounges in Indonesia to underground clubs in New York, from the Kennedy Center to cancer wards, from Grimm's fairy tales to Playback Theater.

In addition to his ongoing pure music work, Mike started specializing in music for dance in 1978, and since then has composed well over 100 commissioned dance scores. He has taught people of all ages about music and improvisation—privately, in colleges and universities, and in public schools. He has also worked extensively as an accompanist, improvising music for many styles of dance.

For the past 15 years, Mike has also been working closely with Nancy Stark Smith, teaching and performing in workshops and festivals around the world. He has published two articles (2003 and 2013) about composition and improvisation in the dance journal, Contact Quarterly. He has released nine CDs of his music, available online at many websites, including and iTunes. His website is