Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance

B.F.A. in Dance

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

Our B.F.A. degree is a professional education program designed to prepare students for careers in dance. Dance students explore the many possibilities for movement expression, along with creative and scholarly examination, in a challenging and supportive environment. The curriculum is focused on classical and contemporary dance performance, choreography, and pedagogy. This holistic approach also includes anatomy and kinesiology, music, production design, and career development. Technique classes in classical and contemporary forms are aimed at achieving an advanced 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 their first year, students are eligible to perform in our five 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.

Learning Objectives

  • Demonstrate technical and artistic achievement in the areas of classical and contemporary dance performance, teaching, and choreography.
  • Create solo, group, and site-specific choreography utilizing established and inventive devices and movement vocabulary.
  • Apply research, assessment, critical thinking, and advocacy skills to develop best pedagogical practices as a dance teacher.
  • Interpret and perform original and historic repertoire with confidence and discuss the development and significance of dance forms across cultures.
  • Explore the multitude of ways in which community engagement is embedded in dance, embracing diversity, equity, inclusion, and leadership.
  • Experience multiple facets of dance production and collaborate with colleagues in technical theatre to successfully navigate the many moving parts that contribute to dance production.

The B.F.A. in Dance consists of 120 total credits, including the following:

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 is 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 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.

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, where they apply previous and current knowledge to fully produce a dance concert featuring their choreography, performance, design, event publicity, and management.

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.

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.

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.

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.

B.F.A. in Dance Includes:

  • Performance, Technique, and Foundations
  • Performance and Repertoire
  • Choreography and Improvisation
  • Pedagogy and Teaching Methodologies
  • History and Theory
  • Technical Production and Design
  • Guest Artists and Masterclasses