Majoring in Dance: Discover Your Artistic Voice
Dancers at Western engage in a rigorous physical and intellectual understanding of movement art. Today’s dancers are making and changing history as they reflect on the role of dance in our society through a multi-faceted lens.
Dance majors are contributing to contemporary thinking about dance and art making through in-depth study of dance technique and performance, somatic practices, anatomy and kinesiology, choreography and creative process, dance history, career preparation and entrepreneurial skills, and interdisciplinary study.
The BA degree in Dance offers comprehensive training in dance technique, choreography, dance science, somatics, dance history, arts activism, and pedagogy. The B.A. allows students to tailor their course work to further their individual interests and is designed to prepare students for a variety of dance-related careers after college. This degree is constructed for students wishing to double-major in dance and another discipline.
The BFA degree in Dance is a selective program that supports exceptional students interested in pursuing a professional career as a performer or choreographer. BFA students engage in numerous creative opportunities related to dance making and performing including working with guest artists and interdisciplinary collaborations. Coursework includes advanced study of contemporary technique, dance science, somatics, dance history, arts activism and pedagogy.
Dance at Western
Western’s varied curriculum provides learning opportunities in technique, choreography, partnering, contact improvisation, pedagogy courses, dance history, cultural dance forms, dance technology, functional alignment, and anatomy for dancers. Class sizes are designed for high quality instruction and interaction with faculty. Dance faculty come from diverse professional backgrounds to teach a variety of technique styles and are devoted to giving students the best possible dance education.
The Dance faculty give so much of themselves to the dancers. They have such an innate ability to help their students that is quite inspiring – I hope to be that way with my students one day.
In the course of their Dance studies, students will learn to understand and evaluate contemporary thinking about dance and related arts, while nurturing a physical and intellectual understanding of the language of movement as an art form. Western Dance majors develop multiple skills that are essential in all fields, including self-discipline, collaboration, patience and problem-solving.
Dance majors at WWU are celebrated for their individuality and varied interests within the field of dance and beyond, and are challenged to discover their own artistic voice as performer, choreographer, and scholar.
DNC 100 - Hip-hop Level 1
DNC 211 - Ballet II - Level 1
DNC 232 - Movement and Culture
DNC 340 - Anatomy for Dancers
DNC 421 - Contemporary Dance IV - Level 1
DNC 442 - Advanced Choreography
Dancing Though 2020–2021
There were many challenges for all types of performance artists during the pandemic. Western Dance adapted in a number of ways, holding classes virtually, collaborating over Zoom, and finding new ways to use recorded and live performance.
Dance majors are eligible to apply for departmental scholarships including two freshmen awards of $1000, CFPA scholarships awarded each Spring Quarter, and for juniors and seniors, the Tabetha Fox Clark and the Monica Gutchow Scholarship.
Dance majors participate in two Mainstage performances each year and a variety of informal shows including New Music New Dance and creative process showings, and contact improv jams.
Each year, WWU Dance brings in a nationally recegonized choreographer to create a work for the spring Dance in Concert performance. Recent guest artists include Liz Gerring, Quinlan Arnold, Cameron McKinney, Noelle Price, and restagings of work from the Doug Varone Dance Company, Trisha Brown Dance Company, Martha Graham Dance Company, and Susan Marshall and Company.
Students pursuing their BA in Dance at Western benefit from many performing opportunities, in both large and intimate theaters. Our faculty members —who are rotated through the various technique levels—are unique in that they not only have academic resumes, they have also been extensively involved in professional dance as dancers, choreographers, and teachers. Our students are encouraged and supported throughout their growth in our program and graduate with a variety of career opportunities from performance to teaching.
all photographs on this page taken by Clinton James Photography
What can you do with Dance?
The Dance BFA program prepares students for leading graduate, conservatory, or MFA programs, or to directly enter one of the areas of the dancing profession.
- Professional Dancer
- Dance Therapist
- Arts Management
- Dance Educator
- Dance Notation
- Dance Teacher
- Community Dance Worker
At Western, we are encouraged to become the best dancers we can be, and through a focus on efficiency and injury prevention, the program ensures that we'll be able to do anything thrown at us and continue dancing for the rest of our lives.