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Bachelor of Fine Arts in Contemporary Dance Performance

Program Description

The Dance Division curriculum honors the classical traditions in both ballet and modern dance, while embracing current directions in the field of comtemporary dance. The curriculum encourages students to make connections between theory and practice, between history and the present moment, and to have a broad awareness in the field in combination with depth of understanding and experience. The program develops fully realized dance artists with the potential of lifelong careers not only as performers, but also as choreographers, teachers, and scholars.

All students in the Dance Division graduate with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Contemporary Dance Performance. The program includes a four-year core curriculum, which consists of courses required of every dance major, complemented by intensive study in one of our five Areas of Emphasis. During the freshman and sophomore years, students will primarily focus on fulfiling the core requirements, with additional elective choices each semester. The Area of Emphasis is chosen by the student at the end of the sophomore year, and shapes the student's elective choices during the junior and senior years. The Emphasis promotes greater depth of learning in an area of specific interes or skill for the student.

The Core Curriculum is composed of four areas, each of which supports and reinforces the others:

  • Movement Training gives students the technical skills to dance at the highest level, combined with an embodied understanding of the aesthetic traditions, somatic approaches, and choreographic approaches explored in the other three areas.
  • The Academic Component creates context, develops arwareness in the field, strengthens skills in writing, speaking, analysis, and critical thinking, and values innovation equally with tradition.
  • The Creative Component develops the individual artistic voice, an understanding of choreographic theory and process, collaborative skills, communication skills, and leadership skills.
  • The Body Knowing Component supports deep awareness and investigation of the body as an essential aspect of the dance artist's training and lifelong practice.
  • The Cross-Conservatory Studies bring elements of the performing arts studied in the other Divisions into dance training, leveraging the unique opportunities of a Conservatory education.

Area of Emphasis include Ballet, Modern Dance, Jazzdance, Creating Performace (Composition and Improvisation), and Dance Pedagogy. Students gain an in-depth understanding of their particular area of emphasis, while still engaging with each of the other areas through the Core curriculum.


Program Outcomes

Students graduating with a B.F.A. in Contemporary Dance Performance will be able to:

  • Demonstrate a high level of technical skill in both ballet and modern dance, complemented by trainning in other dance forms, through the completion of a four-year course sequence in movement techniques and regular participation in mainstage productions;
  • demonstrate artistry and skill in performance developed through participation in the creation of new works by accomplished artists as well as the reconstruction of a wide range of both classical and contemporary masterworks;
  • exhibit a unique artistic voice hones through the completion of courses in composition, improvisation, and an individualized senior seminar/capstone project;
  • demonstrate a broad knowledge of the field by completing academic coursework that provides the history, context, and theory which informs their work as dance artists;
  • draw from a wide range of skills (in addition to performance) to support a lifelong career by completing coursework that includes pedagogy, choreographic practice, and movement analysis;
  • demonstrate a deep understanding of the human body and the development of a personal movement practice by completing coursework that includes somatic theory, anatomy and kinesiology, and idividualized movement research; and
  • show self-direction and commitment through the seccessful identification and completion of an area of emphasis.
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