Colleges with Dance Majors: How to Choose

Becoming a dancer requires determination and hard work, and schools help each student realize his or her potential through a rigorous curriculum. Graduates may pursue performance careers or open a dance studio upon completion of a bachelor's degree program.

How to Select a Dance School

Most schools combine a core of general education courses with daily technique classes, usually in ballet or modern dance. Bachelor's degree programs in dance are typically offered at 4-year colleges and universities.

Summary of Important Considerations

  • Types of available study
  • Faculty and guest members
  • Hands-on practice
  • School reputation

Types of Available Study

In addition to a technical foundation, schools allow students to choose from an array of dance styles and topics, such as choreography, Labanotation (a notation method for analyzing movement), world dance, tap, jazz, hip hop and Gyrokinesis (a yoga form for dancers). Students may wish to select a program that offers the most instruction in their desired style.

Faculty and Guest Members

To supplement a student's training, schools may invite guest artists to hold master classes or work in-residence. This allows students to experience different techniques and make connections with professionals in the dance industry. Students may also wish to research the careers and accomplishments of regular dance faculty, since some schools employ well-known dancers, producers and choreographers.

Hands-On Practice

Because dance is a performing art, schools generally show commitment to the entire performance process. Many schools boast state-of-the-art rehearsal spaces that transform into performance venues. Class, group and school-sponsored performances provide a dancer with opportunities to improve technique while showcasing talents and aptitude to the public and potential employers. Some students may wish to attend a school that offers ample opportunities to perform publicly through a program or with a student-organized, extracurricular dance troupe.

School Reputation

Postgraduate students face heavy competition for jobs and roles in professional productions. Researching the achievements and performances of a school's graduates may reveal the effectiveness of a program or reputation of the school. In addition to selecting a school with a high success rate, potential students may benefit from one that offers career services, such as resume and audition preparation.

Dance Program Overviews

Bachelor's Degree in Dance

Students pursuing a performance career in dance may attain a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. Students who are interested in entering graduate school or working in other dance careers can choose to earn a Bachelor of Arts in Dance. Whichever degree students select, they usually must pass an audition for entrance into the program. In addition to a general liberal arts education, students may concentrate their studies in a specific form of dance through professional core and elective courses. The classes covered in a bachelor's degree program might include:

  • Ballet technique
  • Elements of performing
  • Dance history
  • Kinesiology
  • Modern dance
  • Choreography

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