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Dance Degree & Certification
Dance is the area of study and practice that utilizes the human body as an artistic medium, often set to music in order to convey information and emotion. Dancers will work as or under the supervision of choreographers, performing rehearsals until a given sequence or performance is ready for viewing. Some dancers may work professionally as back up to stage performers or in conjunction with other performances.
What is Involved in a Dance Program?
A college degree in dance will look different from school to school but there are similarities across programs that can help you understand what is involved in a dance degree. A common set of expectations from dance program to dance program include:
- Investing time in class to learn dance techniques, composition, production, rhythmic analysis, history, choreography, and dance theories
- Helping to organize and produce dance performances including stage set-up, music, lighting, and costumes
- Spending time in the studio dancing and rehearsing
- Training your body and mind to adapt to different dance techniques
- Devoting time to learn about nutrition & injury prevention
- Developing a healthy self-image on and off stage
What Can I Do with a Dance Degree?
College dance majors are often associated with the creative, physical expression of dance; however, students will spend substantive time learning much more than just how to dance. Dance majors will study the history of dance, theories of dancing, and the science of dance. By investing in more than studio time dancing, students will be prepared to extend their passion from dance to choreography, dance therapy, dance notation, administration, kinesiology, ethnochoreology, and dance education. Dance students working towards a degree will likely earn a BA (Bachelor of Arts) or BFA (Bachelor of Fine Arts) at the completion of the program.
Most Popular Types of Dance Forms
There are dozens and dozens of different types, genres, and styles of dance. As a dance aficionado, you will recognize most of the styles on the list but understand that each style or type will have variations based on interpretation and regional flair. The list below is intended to be a primer of dance genres and not an exhaustive list for prospective college dance students.
Country / Line Swing
Traditional Jazz Freestyle
Ethnic (Irish, Latin, Indian, Greek, Native American, African, etc.)
Education and Dance Schools
Individuals typically begin an education in dance at an early age that continues into post-secondary study, including bachelor and master level degrees, often as a fine art degree. Individuals will study a variety of topics related to the field, including styles, choreography, traditions, history and more. Some individuals may choose a secondary area of study to allow for employment after one’s dance career may have ended.
A curriculum may include:
- Exercise and Flexibility
- Stretches and Warm Ups
- Types of Dance
- History of Dancing
Schools for dance are available throughout the country, though some programs have a higher amount of prestige than others due to particular instructors or connections to dance programs and opportunities outside of the school. Individuals should consider what kind of career they wish to pursue, including the type or types of dance that they intend to study, and find the school that has the best program for that chosen field.
The National Dance Association is a an organization dedicated to the advancement of dance education in the United States, as well as advocating the healthier aspects of dance for individuals of all ages.
Employment Opportunities in Dancing
Growth in the field of dance is expected to remains steady over the next decade, with most positions coming from replacement and retiring of older dancers. Current trends in dance companies has resulted in reduced growth in that field, though the increase in dance opportunities outside of such companies has increased resulting in the creation of new opportunities. Older or more experienced dancers may choose to enter the field of choreography as well, where experience as a dancer can prove particularly useful.