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Top 31 College Dance Programs

This list is meant to highlight some of the awesome college dance programs throughout the United States and in no way is meant to be a comprehensive list.  We here at think that if you are a dance program teaching people to dance you are doing something amazing and deserve recognition!  This is a small list of some of the dance programs that we think are going above and beyond.  However if your program isn’t on this list and you think it should be feel free to leave a comment or email and we would love to write an article about your dance program.


  1. Fordham University
    The Ailey School and Fordham University are partners in a highly innovative Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree in dance. The BFA program offers the better of two worlds: professional dance training at the official school of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and an exceptional liberal arts education rooted in the Jesuit tradition of intellectual development and personal attention. Both institutions are located in New York City’s Lincoln Center area–the epicenter of the dance world. To join their prestigious program, you must have superior talent and potential for a dance performance career, good technique training in ballet and modern dance, musicality, energy, creativity, and the ability to communicate through movement. Because you will learn more than dance here, you must also have strong academic credentials, including a competitive GPA, strong writing skills, and community activities. You will study philosophy, theology, history, mathematics, languages, science, and other performing arts through Fordham’s common core curriculum, the centerpiece of our liberal arts education.
  1. Juilliard School
    Juilliard’s Dance Division has achieved a reputation throughout the dance world for the superior quality of its education and artistic training. Under the artistic direction of Lawrence Rhodes, Juilliard Dance aims to create true contemporary dancers – trained equally in classical ballet and modern dance. Guest choreographers and teaching artists support the renowned Juilliard faculty in opening the dancer’s eyes and minds to all the choreographic possibilities that lie ahead. Graduates of the program dance with ballet and modern dance companies across the United States and abroad; they are also among the directors and administrators of respected companies worldwide. Many have gone on to successful careers as choreographers. Recent alumni are dancing in the following companies: Aspen/Santa Fe Ballet, Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet, Keigwin + Company, L.A. Dance Project, Les Ballets Jazz de Montreal, Lyon Opera Ballet, Nederlands Dans Theater (1 & 2), and many, many more. The Dance Division offers four-year undergraduate programs leading to a Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) with liberal arts requirements, or a Diploma without liberal arts requirements. In addition to dance and dance-related studies, the four-year degree program includes 24 credits in the Liberal Arts
  1. New York University Tisch School of the Arts
    The Dance Department at Tisch School of the Arts announces its new MFA Concentration in Dance and New Media. Housed in the department’s internationally acclaimed conservatory program, this concentration offers students an intensive exploration of existing and emerging technologies. Coursework provides both technical and artistic training in the creation, performance, and documentation of works. They teach courses in Dance for the Camera/Dance and New Media, Digital Production, and provide mentored independent studies, as well as media internships and fellowships with leading dance organizations such as New York City Ballet, 92Y Harkness Dance Center, Lois Greenfield Studio, Merce Cunningham Trust, and the Dance Films Association. They also partner with leading technology companies and other universities around the world. Through their faculty mentored advisement, students take courses in other NYU departments such as Tisch Open Arts, Tisch Film, Interactive Telecommunications Program, Steinhardt School of Education, and NYU’s Global Network University. Teaching students the collaborative process in media production is at the core of Tisch Dance and New Media. They help them develop partnerships, relationships, and collaborations with other filmmakers, dancers, new media artists, producers and entrepreneurs that will help them in the creation and continuation of their artistic endeavors.
  1. University of Arizona
    The School of Dance is a vital component within the College of Fine Arts as well as the University of Arizona. Their faculty has extensive expertise in both the professional and academic worlds and are in demand nationally and internationally as teachers and scholars at festivals, workshops, schools and conferences world-wide. Three of the faculty has been recipients of the prestigious Irene Putnam Award for Excellence in Teaching. The School of Dance was honored as the top program for undergraduate education within the University of Arizona, due in part to the highly interactive approach linking undergraduate students and dance faculty members. The School of Dance is unique in its equal emphasis on ballet, modern and jazz dance training. It is through performing that students are fully able to integrate and apply what they have learned in the classroom. With the extensive number of performances each season, students grow increasingly more comfortable, spontaneous and free to take risks on stage. The UA Dance Ensemble is comprised of B.F.A. and M.F.A. students, privileged to perform in the state-of-the-art performance facility: The Stevie Eller Dance Theatre. Dancers enjoy a large performance season, averaging over 30 main stage concerts a year.
  1. Butler University
    Their dance department at Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana, is part of the Jordan College of the Arts which combines nationally-recognized, conservatory-level programs with a rich academic curriculum grounded in the liberal arts. Their intellectually curious, creative, and dedicated students receive far more than just career preparation. They also receive the professional training and life experiences it takes to succeed as they pursue their passions. The dance team at Butler, is a student led organization that is a jazz, hip hop, pom and kick-based team that is comprised of anywhere from 17 to 20 members. The team is led by three co-captains and a faculty advisor who meets with the captains and provides overall guidance. The team performs at many of the football, men’s and women’s basketball games and several other events on and off campus throughout the year. In addition to their regular performances, they also host a dance clinic for children ages 6-10. The mission of Jordan College of the Arts is to create artist-citizens that shape the community—and the world—around them. Since it’s at the heart of Indianapolis’ thriving art scene, the students are able to get real-world experience while they grow as artists.
  1. Southern Methodist University
    One of the top universities offering both conservatory dance instruction and liberal arts education, the Southern Methodist University, Meadows Division of Dance, develops disciplined, versatile artists through professional training in ballet, modern and jazz. Undergraduates can earn a B.F.A. in Dance Performance or a minor in Dance Performance. The Division of Dance offers professional dance training within the context of a comprehensive liberal arts education. The goal is to develop the disciplined, versatile dance artist through a balanced study of ballet, modern dance and jazz dance techniques, complemented and reinforced by a broad range of theoretical studies and performance opportunities. The program provides an atmosphere in which students are nurtured and stimulated in their quest for artistic achievement, technical mastery and scholarly excellence. All dance majors have opportunities to perform and choreograph as an integral part of their performance studies. The Dance Performance Series includes main stage concerts in the Bob Hope Theatre, concerts in the Sharp Studio and noontime Brown Bag performances in the Owen Arts Center lobby. Other opportunities include special events, outreach programs and interdisciplinary projects within and beyond the Meadows community. Additionally, SMU’s location close to the largest arts district in the United States allows students opportunities to perform with professional companies and productions.
  1. Oklahoma City University School of American Dance and Arts Management
    Oklahoma City University School of American Dance and Arts Management, otherwise known as The Ann Lacy School of American Dance and Arts Management, is not just about teaching dance steps or management and teaching skills. The goal of the Ann Lacy School is to instill character that will serve graduates in their professional careers and personal lives. Their faculty, staff, and administration strive to infuse all courses, performances, and activities with the following values: Respect, Reliability, Responsibility, Ethics, Motivation, Accountability, Courage, Focus, and Commitment. Employers desire Ann Lacy graduates because of their professionalism, and the fact that the graduates live meaningful lives when they embrace a value-driven journey. Oklahoma City University is a coeducational, urban private university located in Oklahoma City, in the Uptown district. The university is affiliated with the United Methodist Church and offers a wide variety of degrees in the liberal arts, fine arts, sciences and business. The only Oklahoma institution listed in the top tier of the regional, master’s-level university category by S. News and World Report, Oklahoma City University is also listed in Forbes’ “Best Christian Colleges” & “100 Best College Buys.”
  1. Boston Conservatory
    The Boston Conservatory trains exceptional young performing artists for careers that enrich and transform the human experience. Known for its multi-disciplinary environment, the Conservatory offers fully accredited graduate and undergraduate programs in music, dance and theater, and each year they present more than 600 performances by students, faculty and guest artists. The intimacy of their class settings provides a student-centered atmosphere that is uniquely intensive and supportive. Since its founding in 1867, The Boston Conservatory has shared its talent and creativity with the city of Boston, the region, and the nation, and continues to grow today as a vibrant community of artists and educators. Armed with new energy and new ambitions, the Conservatory is in the midst of revitalization from top to bottom, setting the stage for new achievements for the institution and their students. The Boston Conservatory is internationally recognized as an innovative leader among conservatory programs, focused on elevating and celebrating every aspect of the performing arts. The institution has established itself as an important voice in the movement to make all forms of performing arts a more visible and valued dimension of communities here and abroad.
  1. Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University
    The Dance Department at Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University, fosters excellence at the intersection of dance performance, creative achievement and research inquiry. An accomplished faculty of artist-scholars works closely with students, providing mentorship and expert instruction in dance techniques, somatic studies, performance, choreography, pedagogy and theoretical studies. Their proximity to New York City offers students opportunities for master classes and workshops in world dance forms with international artists. The mission of the Dance Department is to cultivate a community of dance artists of the highest caliber who are collaborative and multi-dimensional in their view and knowledge of the dance field internationally. The faculty supports student artists’ creative and scholarly research on multiple levels, encouraging them to develop critical thinking skills as a base to career pathways in the arts, business, education, sciences, and technology. Students will attain a clear and fundamental knowledge of how their embodied experiences, including improvising, performing, choreographing, writing and teaching are investigated, integrated and ultimately synthesized through artistic and scholarly methodologies. They strive for excellence in dance performance, dance education and outstanding creative achievement allowing students to explore creative artistry in a diverse educational environment. And, believe it or not, they also have three on-line courses.
  1. Oberlin College & Conservatory
    The Oberlin College Dance Department functions within the liberal arts tradition. Though many of the students become successful dancers and choreographers, the emphasis in the department is on encouraging students to create, perform, and think about movement in a manner that is consonant with their experience in the other fine and liberal arts. They organize their dance curriculum around four areas of study, allowing students to pursue dance from different perspectives: creation and performance, critical inquiry, physical techniques, and somatic studies. Majors take courses in each of the four categories to challenge and expand their perceptions of what it is to engage in the study of dance. Students develop a personalized course of study through the process of articulating their own goals and identifying courses that allow them to achieve the highest degree of proficiency in their chosen area. From their first semester at Oberlin, students have many opportunities to create work and to perform. These are not limited to dance majors or minors; all auditions – from placement classes to get into upper level technique classes, to auditions for performances – are open to all students. First year students who have had experience in dance can step into the upper level courses. Students for whom dance is a new venture can choose from a variety of introductory courses requiring no prior experience.
  1. Indiana University
    The Department of Theatre, Drama, and Dance at Indiana University offers a major in Dance. The major includes dance technique, repertory, improvisation, composition, pedagogy, history, music, production, movement analysis, injury prevention, and Pilates certification. In addition, students take a strong academic core, completing requirements in arts and humanities. Although the program is based in modern dance, students also study ballet and world dance forms, and can elect to study musical theatre, tap, and jazz. The program is supported by three full-time faculty and several adjuncts within the Department of Theatre, Drama, and Dance; professors from the Department of African American and African Diaspora Studies, the Department of Kinesiology, and the School of Music also teach in the major. Additionally, one or more guest artists of national and international reputation work with students each year, setting choreography and teaching in the curriculum. IU Contemporary Dance has a new program, titled “Living Dance Community Partnerships.” which expands service opportunities past children. A dance course for individuals with Parkinson’s will be one of their inaugural programs, and will begin this fall in cooperation with Windfall Dance Studio. They will also launch a service-learning partnership with Crestmont Boys and Girls Club during the fall semester.
  1. State University of New York at Purchase
    The Conservatory of Dance at Purchase College offers a BFA program that prepares students for careers in the professional dance world. Purchase alumni perform with many of the foremost contemporary modern and ballet dance companies in the world. They also teach, direct, dance choreograph major productions, and have founded their own companies all around the globe. The program offers professional training for serious and dedicated dance students, with daily classes in classical ballet and contemporary modern dance. These are followed by modern and/or ballet partnering, pointe/variations (optional), men’s classes, modern repertory workshops, improvisation, somatics and rehearsals for performances. The program emphasizes both performance and choreography and assures an artistic foundation through the four-year composition program and studies of music for dance, dance history, dance production, anatomy for dance, and core curriculum courses. Performance is an integral and required part of the professional training program. The Purchase Dance Company (selected students in the Conservatory of Dance) performs major concerts in the Performing Arts Center; student and faculty concerts in the Dance Theatre Lab; lecture demonstrations; and tours in New York City, New York State, and abroad.
  1. Point Park University
    Point Park University’s dance and theatre programs were established in 1968 as part of the Department of Performing Arts, which was later renamed the Department of Fine, Applied and Performing Arts. The department evolved into the Conservatory of Performing Arts (COPA), which became one of the institution’s schools in 2003 when Point Park received university status. COPA currently consists of three departments: dance, theatre and cinema arts. Admission to COPA’s dance and theatre programs is among the most competitive in the nation. In addition to a full-time faculty that possesses outstanding credentials, COPA students also have the opportunity to work with and learn from guest artists, such as , founder and manager of Mosaic Media in Los Angeles, New York Post dance critic Clive Barnes and performance legend Elaine Stritch. Marvin Hamlisch was the 2011 Distinguished Master Artist in Residence. Playhouse Jr. brings children and young adults into the world of imagination through live theatre with fairy tales, modern, and timeless stories adapted for young audiences and classics from children’s literature. The productions are crafted to be family friendly for children of all ages. The second oldest continually running children’s theatre in the nation, Playhouse Jr. is now performing for third generations of Pittsburgh families.
  1. University of the Arts
    The School of Dance at the University of the Arts is one of the top undergraduate Dance programs in the United States, with a community of exceptionally creative and talented students, taught by award-winning faculty and visiting artists who offer intensive, personal attention to each young artist. Under the direction of Donna Faye Burchfield, the School has developed an innovative curriculum that prepares students for the 21st century world of professional dance, offering the depth and rigor of a discipline-based dance conservatory while engaging students in open discussions within their own practice, valuing their voices as capable of developing new and critical perspectives in dance. Dancing is what you want to do with your life and you enjoy every aspect of it: from ballet, improvisation and hip-hop to staging works both casual and formal. If you want to join one of the largest, most diverse undergraduate dance populations in the country – for whom the rigors and discipline of a conservatory are blended with intellectual life – then look no further than the Dance program at the University of the Arts. heir location in the heart of Philadelphia’s thriving art scene provides ample opportunities for students to work with professional dance companies like the Pennsylvania Ballet, Philadanco!, Zero Moving Dance Company and others.
  1. Northwestern University
    The Virginia Wadsworth Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts at Northwestern University produces and manages the performing arts productions of the School of Communication, Department of Theatre, and Department of Performance Studies, and has programmatic responsibility for theatre, music theatre and dance. Each year, as many as forty productions are mounted in their performance venues – the Ethel M. Barber Theater, the Josephine Louis Theater, the Hal and Martha Hyer Wallis Theater and the Mussetter-Struble Theater, as well as in the University’s 1,000-seat Cahn Auditorium. The Center adheres to and reflects the academic mission of the University along with the curricular and educational priorities of the University. They are firmly committed to offering their audiences a view of the world on their stages that is as enlightening as it is entertaining; a place to come together to laugh, cry and be profoundly moved by some of the greatest writers, composers and choreographers from around the world, created and presented by some of the most exciting artists of tomorrow. As they seek to entertain at the highest artistic level, they strive to create a place where both their artists and their audiences relish the excitement of exploring differences and discovering similarities, of learning more about others as a means to learning more about themselves.
  1. Ohio State University
    The Ohio State University’s Department of Dance is a community of diverse individuals trained on a common nexus of inquiry, the rich and complex phenomenon of dance. At the heart of the OSU Dance experience is the notion of embodied scholarship, embracing the intertwining areas of physical practice, creative activity, and theoretical inquiry. As one of the premiere dance programs in the United States, the Department is at the forefront of contemporary modern dance through choreographic and performance exploration, creative use of technologies, and reimagining the documentation of dance traditions. Visiting artists and scholars enrich all dimensions of the program and regularly augment the resident faculty. The students also benefit from institutional relationships with Dance/USA, BalletMet Columbus, Movement Research, Inc., of New York City, OhioDance, growing exchange programs with universities and centers in Europe, Asia, Central and South America, and Africa, and the Dance Notation Bureau Extension housed in the department. The department’s facilities in historic Sullivant Hall at the gateway of the university’s campus recently underwent a renovation.. The roof was raised to provide natural light during the day and a dynamic black-box performance environment by night. In addition, the new space includes six studios, a costume shop, and a media lab.
  1. University of Wisconsin
    The Dance Department is a leader and innovator in the field of dance, with a diverse, world-class faculty and state-of-the-art dance facilities, including its own theatre. The curriculum is designed to develop well-rounded dance artists living and working within a global and technological community. Contemporary dance is foundational to the degree programs, and is enhanced by the study of somatic practices, ballet and cultural dance. Students have prolific performance opportunities, interactions with nationally renowned guest artists and master class instructors including the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, Pilobols, Meredith Monk, Elizabeth Streb, David Parsons, and Tim Miller. Degree programs emphasize individual growth through creative investigation, innovation, and rigorous dance training. The Dance Department offers scholarships to talented students in need as well as summer awards, which have most recently been awarded for travel to Brazil and Taiwan to study and perform abroad over the summer. The Dance Department creates, investigate ad practices dance as a dynamic and integrative process of self-awareness, interdisciplinary learning and engagement with local and global communities. Through teaching, performance, and scholarly research, they illuminate those aspects of self and culture that are uniquely manifested in human movement. Their students are challenged to navigate risks, think critically and live creatively.
  1. California Institute of the Arts
    The programs of The Sharon Disney Lund School of Dance at California Institute of the Arts give equal importance to technical excellence, choreographic creativity, artistic production and intellectual understanding. These four branches of study meet to create a deep mastery of the elements of dance as a fine art within the context of contemporary society. All faculty members are renowned professionals actively working in the field of dance. Their real-world experience gives students a realistic perspective on the artistic and professional challenges of careers in dance. Students benefit from a strong one-to-one relationship with an individual faculty member who serves as an artistic and academic advisor, mentoring the student in his or her progress for the duration of the program. The school performs 8-10 productions a year including the Open House Dance Concert, the BFA II Solo Dance Concert, the Winter Dance Concert, the Student Choice Concert, the MFA Thesis concerts, the Spring Dance Concert, Next Dance Concert, and Last Dance Concert. This rigorous schedule provides students with real-life performance experience at each stage of his/her development, and prepares students for the demands of professional dance productions. Over the course of the four year undergraduate program, students gain repertory experience with faculty, professional guest artists and fellow students.
  1. University of Michigan
    The University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance educates the artists, scholars, educators and entrepreneurs of the future. Students are prepared with expert skills, instilled with passionate enthusiasm, and emboldened to challenge and inspire the world through the power of the performing arts. Founded in 1880, the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance is one of the finest performing arts schools in the United States. Encompassing programs in dance, music, musical theatre, and theatre, they are consistently ranked among the top performing arts schools in the country when compared with performance oriented conservatories or with prestigious academic departments of music. They offer a wide variety of programs, from traditional to cutting-edge, from primarily performance-based-to-those that are more academic, giving students huge resources to draw from in completing their education. Michigan students are exceptionally talented, and are consistently competitive at the highest levels of their chose fields. In addition, they have access to the vast resources of a major research institution allowing them to greatly enhance their performing arts training. The Department of Dance has its own company, which performs annually in the Power Center for the Performing Arts and sponsors numerous smaller concerts choreographed by faculty and students.
  1. Barnard College
    The Barnard College Department of Dance, located in a world dance capital, in Manhattan, New York, has been a distinguished leader in higher education, offering a rigorous liberal arts foundation to young women whose curiosity, drive, and exuberance set them apart. Theirs is a diverse intellectual community in a unique learning environment that provides the best of all worlds: small, intimate classes in a collaborative liberal arts setting dedicated to the advancement of women with the vast resources of Columbia University just steps away—in the heart of vibrant and electric New York City. The major builds upon studio courses, the Department’s productions at Miller Theater, New York Live Arts and other venues, as well as a rich array of dance studies courses, allowing students’ creative work to develop in dialogue with critical inquiry into the history, culture, theory and forms of western and non-western performance, typically enhanced by study in other disciplines. Students work with accomplished artists whose work enriches contemporary American dance; they also study with outstanding research scholars. The Department of Dance offers technique courses for students of all levels of expertise, while opening its other courses to majors and non-majors alike, who may also audition for its productions.
  1. Cornell University
    Cornell University’s Department of Performing and Media Arts offers opportunities for students with varied interests — in criticism, film production, theatre, acting, directing, theatre and media history, screenwriting, dancing, film, media, sound design, lighting, costumes, multimedia work or international media and theatre work. At the same time, our faculty are involved in leading-edge initiatives ranging from theatre and media production and design to the study of cinema/media and theatre/performance. Faculty members in the Department of Performing and Media Arts work collaboratively within the department and across campus as they lead students in critical study of performance and media. Along with distinguished publication and editing credits, Cornell faculty have directed on Broadway, written Pulitzer Prize-nominated plays, received Emmy nominations, worked with the Actor’s Gang in Los Angeles, choreographed and toured with international dance companies, designed scenes for theatres across the country and founded international theatre companies. The Department of Performing and Media Arts provides opportunities for students to explore theatre, film, and dance as distinct art forms, or to combine these disciplines in exciting ways. Whether students choose to major, minor, or enroll in select classes, they can integrate work in acting and film, theatre and television, dance and light, new media and sound.
  1. University of South Florida
    The University of South Florida Dance Program’s goal is to prepare and inspire students for a life in dance. A conservatory-based program within a liberal arts environment, we are focused on rigorous training in both ballet and modern technique. We are committed to the creation and production of original contemporary choreographic works by students, faculty and guest artists. The Dance Program is housed in its own state-of-the-art Dance Centre on a large liberal arts campus. USF is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Dance (NASD). The University of South Florida School of Theatre and Dance is committed to facilitating creative and academic artists and scholars though rigorous training in the studio, the classroom, and in performance. Through this website we want to offer a brief glimpse of who we are and what we do – our students, faculty and staff, academic programs, productions, guest artists and facilities. Our commitment to artistic expression and training will open incredible opportunities for you as you engage the outstanding education available at the University of South Florida. The School of Theatre and Dance is one of four academic units in USF’s College of The Arts, where you will discover a wealth of interdisciplinary possibilities and exciting events in Architecture, Art and Music.
  1. Arizona State University
    The Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts School of Film, Dance and Theatre at Arizona State University is a collaborative community of artists and scholars comprising students, faculty and staff. Driven by student demand and community interest, the ASU School of Film, Dance and Theatre is dedicated to enriching the lives of students, educators, artists and the communities in which they live. And seeks to promote the integration and creation of artistic expression into everyday life as well as challenge those around us to rethink the possibilities creative solutions bring to real-world concerns. The ASU School of Film, Dance and Theatre is widely recognized as one of the most innovative producers of performing arts and artists in North America. The highly experienced international faculty and staff offer a broad approach to developing artists, educators and scholars who are actively engaged with the rapidly expanding range of global contexts for artistic practice; from performance to education, from community to online contexts. They recognize and value the creativity and meaning that each student brings to the program. Their dance programs are nationally recognized as some of the best in the world, and their annual slate of guest artist faculty represents a collection of the most influential artists from the world of dance culture.
  1. Washington University in St Louis
    The Dance Program at Washington University in St Louis emphasizes the study of dance as an independent and collaborative art and as a global phenomenon expressed in a wide variety of contemporary and traditional forms. You may major in dance or minor in modern dance, ballet, or world music, dance and theater. Course topics include dance history and ethnology, theory and techniques of modern dance and ballet, composition, improvisation, applied anatomy, music resources, somatic practices, jazz, musical theater, and world dance forms such as West African and bharata. Dance Program classes and performing opportunities are inclusive and open to all Washington University Students. One of the dance program’s greatest strengths is its faculty, distinguished by its accessibility and the broad range of experience and interests reflected in its work. Dance seminars and studio courses are limited in numbers to facilitate individual attention. All full time faculty have both academic credentials and background as professional dancer-choreographers. They choreograph for WU students as well as for professional colleagues and pursue specific research interests such as somatics, African diasporic dance forms, ballet pedagogy, and contemporary and traditional Asian dance.
  1. University of California, Irvine
    Students in the University of California, Irvine’s Dance Department discover that performance opportunities, creative projects and theoretical studies complement and reinforce each other. This is a supportive educational environment for students to create, perform, analyze and study dance from historical, philosophical and scientific perspectives. Today, the life of the UCI Dance Department reflects the research and preservation of dance history, the exploration of choreography in the present, and the cutting edge technology of the future. With fourteen full-time and a number of part-time faculty, the Department of Dance at the University of California, Irvine is one of the most comprehensive university dance programs in the United States. The department has a strong technical base, offering multiple levels of ballet, modern/contemporary, jazz, tap, and Spanish Dance. Social Dance, Pilates, pointe, and a changing array of additional dance forms are also offered each year. The graduate program offers courses in choreography, teaching, dance and video, dance and technology, lighting for dance, music, critical issues, dance history, Laban Movement Analysis, research methods, dance science, and other topics. Graduate students may also choose from a large selection of upper-level undergraduate dance courses, including repertory, improvisation, partnering, dance management, performance, and more. Studio, theory, history, and technology courses support and reinforce each other.
  1. University of Kansas
    The study of Dance at KU did not gain full academic visibility until 1985 when it was officially encompassed within the Department of Music and Dance. However, Dance had played an important role in the university’s educational and artistic life for many decades prior. The academic study of Dance at KU has a tradition of being guided by artistic visionaries, beginning first in the 1920s with the leadership of Elizabeth Dunkel. Dunkel, a 1923 KU graduate, created an honorary dance society in 1921 named Tau Sigma. Tau Sigma served as the university’s dance performance group until the University Dance Company formed in 1977, after which Tau Sigma remained a student club, providing master class opportunities for all KU students interested in dance. During her teaching career at KU, Dunkel worked with Elizabeth Sherbon, an undergraduate at KU who later earned a Bachelor of Science degree in physical education. In 1932 after studying at the Denishawn School in New York City, Sherbon received her master’s degree from the University of Iowa. Following a successful, twenty-year career in professional dance, Sherbon returned to KU to teach in 1961.
  1. University of Nevada, Las Vegas
    The College of Fine Arts houses the Department of Dance. Eight full-time professional dance faculty, a rotating guest artist-in-residence dance position, and 16 part-time dance specialists compose the Dance faculty. The department offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) in Performance/Choreography or a Bachelor of Arts in Dance Production. A unique feature of the program allows students to train with equal emphasis in ballet, modern and jazz dance technique, as well as other areas of dance including: ethnic, tap, ballroom, and musical theatre. A wide variety of courses in pilates, improvisation, composition, choreography, music theory, accompaniment for dance, production, history and criticism, post- modern concepts, educational methods, labanotation, theory and philosophy, kinesiology and injury prevention are required offerings for serious study of dance. Numerous opportunities for student performances are provided with a yearly concert series. Faculty concerts, Artist-in-Residence Concert, Student Choreographer’ Showcase, and the Annual Spring Concert make up this concert calendar series of seven production. In addition, the Dance Company provides a professional performance environment for student performers. Students in this company perform choreography by internationally known guest artists and dance faculty. All dance students are invited to audition for all performance companies.
  1. California State University, Long Beach
    The Department of Dance at CSULB is a rigorous program that provides training in dance with a strong foundation in modern and ballet technique and choreography. Physical practice interfaces with theoretical study, placing dance in a historical, pedagogical, scientific, and cultural context. The varied degrees offered in the Department of Dance challenges challenge students to grow and contribute to society as artists and individuals. California State University, Long Beach was the first university within the California State University system to offer a B.A. in Dance degree. Today it is the only CSU campus to grant the Master of Fine Arts and Bachelor of Fine Arts (professional degrees), as well as a Master of Arts degree specifically designed for dance educators. The Department of Dance has enjoyed steady growth since its inception in 1970, and has approximately 140 undergraduate dance majors, 15 M.A. candidates and 9 M.F.A. candidates. CSULB Dance is driven by the wealth of expertise of their faculty and staff. A highly valued group of staff and part-time faculty complete the picture by enhancing curricula in areas of performance and technique, choreography, design, research, technology, and teaching.
  1. Emory University
    The Emory Dance Program emphasizes performance and choreography, based on the primary tenets of modern dance, which value individualism, innovation, and interdisciplinary approaches to the arts. Below you will find links to key components of their program. The study of dance is perhaps the most unique and all-encompassing pursuit in the fine arts. It involves the total exploration of the self – emotional, intellectual, and kinesthetic. The program develops students’ awareness and appreciation of movement in all its diverse forms and their ability to communicate through non-verbal expression. Dance develops insights into a broad range of studies; therefore it plays a viable role in the liberal arts education. Since dance is so multi-faceted, it enhances the student’s preparation for a variety of careers. As the oldest and largest division of Emory University, the College of Arts and Sciences has provided sound instruction to talented, highly motivated students for 175 years. The college combines the personal attention and involvement of a small liberal arts setting with the rich diversity of a major urban university. Emory College seeks students with strong academic qualifications, outstanding personal qualities, civic engagement, and demonstrated capacities for leadership and creativity. The total enrollment is 7,600 students within a university of over 14,200.
  1. Marymount Manhattan College
    The Marymount Manhattan College Dance Club of Representatives is a group of motivated dance students who strive to make the experience at the College fulfilling and positive for all. Their missions are many. They strive to create a dialogue between the dance students and the dance faculty in an effort to foster direct communication and establish mutual goals for the betterment and integrity of the Department. They bring issues of concern to the Student Government and the College at large that have direct impact on the quality of student life in regards to academic and student events’ scheduling, course offerings, and facilities management.  They work to increase opportunities for the dance students and/or dance faculty to convene and socialize outside of the classroom experience through Dance Department functions. They raise funds that will benefit Dance Department student events/projects and students in financial need. The Dance Club believes this can be accomplished by applying the values of respect, honesty, humility, dedication, and hard work. The Club is an organization designed to improve the quality of life for the MMC dance major.
  1. University of Utah
    The Department of Modern Dance at the University of Utah has a long, distinguished history of excellence that unites the world of academia with the world of professional dance. NASD accredited and ranked as one of the top programs in the country, their alumni have gone on to work internationally and nationally as dancers, choreographers, artistic directors, teachers, videographers and administrators. They are committed to creating an educational community in its finest form: one which invites diversity, embraces ambiguity, welcomes creative conflict, practices honesty, honors risk and experiences humility. Both their Bachelor and Master Degree programs offer a rigorous, in-depth inquiry into dance as a physical, aesthetic, intellectual and cultural practice. The mission of the University of Utah Department of Modern Dance is to promote student and faculty growth as professional dance artists, critical inquirers, and community members. The department is dedicated to contributing to the growth of the discipline of modern dance through research, teaching, and service of the highest caliber. Excellence, creativity, and professionalism are the department’s keywords to igniting the imagination of this dance community. The dance department is contemporary dance community distinguished by its sense of excellence, professionalism, humanism, and a profound commitment to a lively spirit of creative inquiry.


  1. Have you checked out George mason University? Right outside of Washington DC.

  2. Samantha Allen says:

    A real omission not to include Florida State University in this list