Bachelor of Arts in Dance

B.A. in Dance

Please note, the B.A. in Dance is currently undergoing revisions. The following description is for students already enrolled in this degree for Fall 2020 and prior.

Colorado State University offers a rigorous classical and contemporary dance program culminating in a Bachelor of Arts in Dance. This dance degree requires a strong physical and mental commitment and an eagerness to learn and improve.

The B.A. in Dance consists of 120 total credits with the following focus areas: 

  • Performance, Technique, and Foundations
  • Choreography and Improvisation
  • Pedagogy and Teaching Methodologies
  • History and Theory
  • Theatrical Production and Design

Our B.A. degree offers intensive training in dance technique and performance, choreography, and pedagogy, designed to prepare students for a variety of dance-related careers after college. Technique classes in classical and contemporary forms are aimed at achieving a high level of performance and artistry. Students have multiple opportunities to apply theoretical knowledge in tangible ways, such as performance of repertoire, supervised teaching, supervised concert direction, and choreography for concerts. Beginning freshman year, students are eligible to perform in our four, annually produced dance concerts. The School of Music, Theatre, and Dance is comprised of esteemed faculty and administrative and production staff, all dedicated to supporting student education in the arts.

Performance, Technique, and Foundations

Dance majors receive four years of daily training in ballet and modern technique. Technique classes are accompanied by accomplished musicians in piano, percussion, and a variety of other instruments. Ballet study includes investigation of classical, neo-classical, and contemporary forms as well as pointe work. In addition to learning various styles of the 20th – 21st century modern techniques, students explore the contemporary developments of the instructors and excerpts from various repertories. Additional training in jazz and musical tap forms are offered and encouraged. Individual expression and artistic development are cultivated along with strong technical foundations in guided semesters of dance techniques (D220-421 A/B/C).

Students are initially placed in the appropriate level based on an assessment of their previous training during Fall or Spring Visit and Audition Days or by video audition. Placement in technique classes for non-majors depends on space availability, technical level, and suitability.

Performance and Repertoire

Through a series of repertory courses, students learn and perform classical and contemporary dance repertoire. In addition to historical adaptations, dancers have the opportunity to perform original works created by faculty and guest artists as part of the Fall and Spring Dance Concerts. Performers also collaborate with student choreographers who are featured in these concerts, as well as the Dance Capstone Concert series. Rehearsal and performance of dance works for CSU concerts and other outreach engagements are explored throughout the dance degree program.

Auditions for roles in faculty, guest, and student pieces take place at the beginning of each semester. Any student enrolled in a dance technique class is eligible to audition.

  • D286 Performance Practicum — This course is dedicated to the study, creation, and performance of original dance repertoire. Immersive rehearsal periods emulate experience of dance artists working in professional company settings.
  • D330 Dance Repertory Ensemble — Study and performance of original and historic dance repertoire of the classical and contemporary variety. Immersive rehearsal periods emulate experiences of dance artists working in professional settings.
  • D340 Dance Repertory Outreach — Preparation of arts integration units, residencies, and lecture demonstrations based on original and/or historic dance repertoire investigated during the previous semester in D330, to be performed at local elementary, middle, high schools, and/or other community venues.

Choreography and Improvisation

Choreographic dance coursework begins by discovering organic and inventive movement through Improvisation. Students develop unique solutions for choreographic questions by exploring fundamental elements of dance composition in Choreography I. In Choreography II, compositional studies advance to include group, multimedia, and site-specific work. Graduating dance majors complete the Dance Capstone Concert in which they apply previous and current knowledge to fully produce a dance concert featuring their choreography, performance, design, event publicity and management.

  • D126 Improvisation — Discovering organic and inventive movement through improvisation including exploring the possibilities the body has for creating uniquely individual movement, exploring imagery, and exploring partner and group work.
  • D226 Choreography I — Exploration of the elements of dance composition including space, time, energy, rhythm, dynamics, form, and style. Developing unique solutions to choreographic problems.
  • D326 Choreography II — Compositional studies in advanced choreographic elements including group work, the use of text, props and other objects, music influences from the 16th – 21st century on choreography, and developing choreographic ideas in non-proscenium theater settings.
  • D471 Dance Capstone Concert — Culminating capstone course experience for graduating dance majors combining all elements of dance concert production: choreography, rehearsal, performance, publicity/marketing, audience development, management, technical production and design, etc.

Pedagogy and Teaching Methodologies

Each dance major completes three pedagogy courses as part of the degree requirements. Students gain practical experience in planning and teaching lessons for children in an elementary school and studio setting utilizing the Colorado Department of Education Dance Standards. Students also experience dance instruction in higher education as they plan, prepare and serve as student teaching assistants for beginning level ballet and modern technique dance coursework.

  • D324 Creative Movement for Children with Practicum Teaching — In depth exploration into teaching dance for children in the studio and academic setting, (Pre-K – 5th grade), utilizing the Colorado Department of Education Academic Dance Standards. Students will gain practical experience in planning, developing and teaching lessons in the classroom, learning about physical and cognitive developmental stages as well as evaluation and assessment strategies.
  • D424 Ballet Pedagogy with Practicum Teaching — Academic and practical methods of teaching classical ballet technique at the beginning college level including syllabus material, planning/construction of lessons and exercises, demonstration/correction, working with an accompanist, etc. Students will plan, prepare and teach classical ballet technique classes to students at the beginning level under faculty supervision.
  • D434 Modern Pedagogy with Practicum Teaching — Academic and practical methods of teaching modern dance technique at the beginning college level including syllabus material, planning/construction of lessons and exercises, demonstration/correction, working with an accompanist, etc. Students will plan, prepare and teach modern dance technique classes to students at the beginning level under faculty supervision.

History and Theory

Incoming students participate in a first-year seminar course, which surveys a variety of dance topics including anatomy/kinesiology, injury prevention, library resources, and possible career paths. Ballet and Modern history dance coursework offers dynamic learning through writing, research, discussion, video resources, and embodied experiences. Students develop interview and networking skills and a detailed portfolio comprised of commonly requested documents and work samples. Dance internships may be available for students seeking professional experience within the community.

  • D192 Dance First Year Seminar — Knowledge and skills to prepare for post-graduate applications, interviews, auditions, and professional orientation for careers in dance.
  • D292 The Dancing Body – Through a combination of theory and practice, explore inside the dancing body to discover structures and functions of the bones, joints, muscles, and more. Specifically geared towards dance practitioners; basic principles of anatomy, kinesiology, and somatics.
  • D392 Dance Seminar – Knowledge and skills to prepare for post-graduate applications, interviews, auditions, and professional orientation for careers in dance.
  • D427 Dance History I: Ballet — History of classical ballet to modern times from its origins in the late Middle Ages and the early Renaissance.
  • D428 Dance History II: Modern — History of modern dance and related contemporary dance forms of the 20th century.

Technical Production and Design

As part of the dance concert production running crew, students gain practical experience including light, soundboard, video/projection, curtain/rail, and backstage operations. Dance majors have their choice of courses from Costume Design, Lighting Design, Stage Management, or Digital Media for Live Performance. Dance majors engage with an incredible production team comprised of professional, faculty, and student designers and directors.

  • D286 Production Practicum – Practical experience on the CSU Dance Concert production running crew including light and sound board operations, video/projection operations, curtain/rail operations, and backstage operations.
  • Students choose from Stage Management I (TH262), Costume Design I (TH263), Lighting Design I (TH264), and Digital Media for Live Performance (TH266).

Guest Artists and Masterclasses

Students engage with accomplished dance professionals through our annual guest artist residencies and masterclasses. These nationally and internationally renowned artists teach, choreograph, mentor, and form valuable connections with our students. 

Previous artists and companies have included: the Taipei Artists Village International Residency, David Dorfman Dance, Diavolo Dance Company, Yunyu Wang, Tommy Parlon, Gabriel Masson, Katie Elliott, Viktor Kabaniaev, Salli Guitterez, Andrew Skeels, Pilobolus, Ailey II/Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, Ballet Hispanico, BODYTRAFFIC, Colorado Ballet, Koresh Dance Company, Smuin Ballet, Catherine Cabeen, Larry Keigwin, ABT II, Robert Moses’ Kin Dance Company, Hannah Kahn Dance Company, Hubbard Street 2, IMPACT Dance Company, MOMIX, Northwest Dance Project, Lily Cai Chinese Dance Company,  Ormao, River North Chicago, Taylor 2, and Verb Ballets.