Undergraduate Contemporary Dance

School of Dance

Undergraduate Contemporary Dance

The Contemporary Dance conservatory prepares talented young dancers for careers in professional companies throughout the world. Performance opportunities are numerous, with concerts throughout the year, many of which feature student choreography. Recent repertory choices feature a strong mix of the classic and cutting edge, with pieces by Robert Battle, Merce Cunningham, José Limón, Darrell Moultrie, Grady Bowman, Igal Perry and Twyla Tharp. Contemporary students will also be able to “taste” a variety of different styles during workshops, such as ballroom dance, hip-hop, African and jazz. The School of Dance is open to college-age students, as well as a program for high school students.

Contemporary Dance Bachelor of Fine Arts

Our unique and comprehensive Contemporary Dance degree affords students a solid foundation in the fundamentals of dance, while also expanding the students’ creativity, versatility and understanding of the art form of contemporary dance. The program emphasizes the importance of performance in the development of the dancer, so numerous opportunities are available to our students to perform in major productions.

First-Second Years

Classes in your first two years focus on the fundamentals of contemporary dance, as well as ballet technique to create a well-rounded dancer. You will be required to take courses on contemporary partnering, dance composition and improvisation, rhythmic theory and movement, and the history and evolution of the art form. You will also take part in a repertory course to develop your skills through a range of choreography with faculty or guest artists. As part of your degree, you will take liberal arts courses.

Third-Fourth Years

In addition to more challenging and demanding courses on contemporary and ballet technique, dance composition and improvisation, and contemporary repertory, you will be introduced to practical career and business issues such as unions, agents and managers, audition strategies, companies, contract negotiations and developing a digital portfolio. You will also study the history of modern dance, as well as approaches and styles in contemporary dance instruction. In your final year, you will be expected to choreograph a short work, selecting dancers and music, scheduling rehearsals and having an open showing as part of the Emerging Choreographers performances.

In your third year, you will participate in the M3 Spree program as part of your Dance Composition and Improvisation course, which includes original choreography performed at the M3 Spree concert. In your fourth year, you will participate in the Pluck Project, a school-sponsored group of graduating dancers who choreograph solos and perform original works in New York City for professional choreographers and directors.


Graduates of our Contemporary Dance program are enjoying careers as dancers and choreographers for companies such as the Paul Taylor Dance Company, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and the Martha Graham Ensemble, along with their own companies. Some graduates have even started careers in Broadway productions and as commercial dance performers for the likes of Lady Gaga, Janet Jackson and Beyonce.

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