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The Master of Fine Arts in dance program provides qualified graduate students with opportunities to acquire and develop skills and knowledge needed to participate significantly in the field of contemporary dance. Through the development, implementation and expansion of individual artistic vision and goals the successful candidate for the M.F.A. in Dance will excel in critical engagement while exploring innovative formats, venues and creative processes as a choreographer, performer, researcher/writer and arts leader.

Perspective of the Professional in the Field of Dance Guiding the M.F.A Program

The current state of affairs for dance in our culture creates a critical need for dance artists to stretch their thinking about where and how to reach audiences. Leaders in the field require an understanding of contemporary dance practices that acknowledges the development of individual somatic engagement and the implementation of emerging artistic visions in shifting professional landscapes. In addition, the ability to use and adapt a variety of technologies that will enable the artist/leader to expand the notions of "venue," "context ," and "format" are of particular importance as the field seeks to find new ways to reach audiences.

· “Venue” refers to the variety of physical locations in which dance performance can be realized.

· “Context” refers to the aims and purposes of artistic endeavors and the theoretical arenas in which such endeavors acquire meaning. These contexts might include the pedagogic, the interventionist, the social activist, or the aesthetic.

· “Format” refers to the form that such endeavors take, such as live performance, digital media and web-based performance as well as verbal and written forms of communication.


The objectives of the M.F.A. Program are:
1.      To acquire the knowledge and ability to function in the role of the practicing artist in a professional and/or academic environment.
2.      To develop the artistic process skills and conceptual understanding necessary for the attainment of a high level of dance artistry.
3.      To develop the creative thinking and problem-solving skills that are necessary for the conception and creation of dance works.
4.      To engage in extensive choreographic and performance exploration leading to the development of a body of work.
5.      To develop the ability to describe, analyze, interpret, and evaluate works of art in various media; to relate dance to these forms; and to draw from them concepts that will enrich the creative process and enhance the understanding of dance as an art form and social phenomenon.
6.      To become proficient in communicating artistic conceptions and creative intentions in written and verbal form.
7.      To acquire an understanding and appreciation of dance as an expression of culture and the trends in dance history that have shaped the nature of choreography and performance.
8.      To develop the leadership skills to design, implement and evaluate projects for diverse artistic, academic and community contexts and be mindful of socially responsible artistic practices.


I. Dance Making

M.F.A. students will demonstrate the artistic process skills necessary to create a significant body of work, articulate a well-developed personal aesthetic and explain how this aesthetic informs scholarly and pedagogical work.

M.F.A. students will be able to demonstrate advanced performance/ technique skills supported by the development of personal autonomy, agency, and initiative in a variety of performance contexts and movement styles.

M.F.A students will be able to demonstrate the pedagogical skills necessary to coach, guide and communicate artistic intentions to other creative participants verbally and through performative processes (i.e., teaching, coaching and rehearsing).

 II. Production

M.F.A students will be able to negotiate their emerging artistic visions with production and performance contexts appropriate to individual, artistic and professional agendas.

M.F.A students will be able to implement creative initiatives by taking appropriate and direct action that leads to the realization and production of dance performance in contexts appropriate to one‘s artistic vision.

M.F.A students will be able to design effective strategies for managing, publicizing, marketing and developing audiences for artistic and professional agendas.

 III Understanding and Theorizing

MFA students will be able to articulate relevant cultural, political, social, historical and philosophical threads of thought and implications of these ideas for their creative work and professional contexts.

M.F.A. students will be able to demonstrate the knowledge and research competencies to design and carry-out an original creative project resulting in the writing of a scholarly paper, the making of a professional presentation to a public audience and responding substantively to questions.

M.F.A. students will be able to develop pedagogical/content knowledge and articulate a personal teaching philosophy grounded in their scholarly visions and apply this pedagogical theory in appropriate studio and theory teaching contexts at the college/university and/or professional level.

 The Integrated Professional Profile

The following is a diagram illustrating how the three content areas of our program overlap to support the development of a dance professional who is able to integrate diverse ways of knowing and engage in dance praxis. The depth and richness of the program of study rests upon the way the individual synthesizes the three content areas to develop her or his own unique body of work.

The center area where the three content areas intersect is the potential space where the identity of the dance professional emerges. A variety of different profiles may develop depending on individual students‘ unique agendas and professional goals. For example, a student may work to develop original choreography (Creating) to be produced for a venue or format specific to the goals of the overall project (Professional Context/Production), and then write a paper or make a professional presentation that illuminates the theoretical, historical and cultural underpinnings of the endeavor (Understanding/Theorizing).

Program Details

page last updated 8/15/2014 9:40 AM