Dancers on stage Dancers on stage Dance (Major)

Dance Studies

Dance Program Overview

Turn your passion for dance into a career in performance, choreography, administration, scholarship, film, performance review, or teaching. Classes in our dance program partner technical dance training with administration, composition and teaching methods to provide varying paths for career exploration and employment.

Program Snapshot

Program Type: Full-Time
Location: On Campus
Program Length: 4 years
Credit Hours: 52

Why our dance program?

As the only dance studies major offered in Michigan, our goal is to train and mentor dance-based performers, critical thinkers, writers, choreographers, production technicians, administrators, educators, and scholars.

You'll graduate prepared to contribute to the field of dance in various professional careers. While dance technique courses will be a significant portion of your required course work, critical thinking, writing, and rigorous scholarly exploration will partner with the physical training to deepen your understanding of dance in a global context.

In our dance program, you'll complete an internship in your study area and minor in business or entrepreneurship to maximize your career opportunities.

You'll learn from faculty with recent experience in major dance productions and initiatives. Our dance program also regularly hosts guest artists, which exposes students to diverse and emerging trends in dance.

You can put your learning on display in our 500-seat proscenium, Bush Theatre, and/or the 1,200-seat Plachta Auditorium. Plus, you'll have the opportunity to be in two major performances each year — the University Theatre Dance Company spring concert and the Student Choreography Showcase in the fall.

You can even produce, direct and/or choreograph your productions under the guidance of faculty. This offers a unique opportunity to tailor your academic experience to your career aspirations.

What will you learn in Dance Studies?

As a dance student here, you'll:

  • Have the opportunity to lead dance classes for people with Parkinson’s Disease in collaboration with the CMU physical therapy program.
  • Learn from visiting artists — recently, artists from Natya Dance Theatre (classical Indian dance) and Amy Piantaggini (former principal dancer for the Martha Graham Dance Company) have visited.
  • Produce, direct, or choreograph productions with guidance from faculty.
  • Complete an internship as part of your program and earn a minor in business, making yourself more marketable as you enter the workforce.
  • Starting your very first year, you will have several opportunities to perform. We hold the Student Choreography Showcase in the fall and the University Theatre Dance Company Concert in the spring. In addition to faculty-choreographed dances in the spring concert, two pieces from the Student Choreography Showcase will be entirely produced in the mainstage concert.
  • In addition to the concerts, you can make dance films, site-specific performances, choreography projects, and studio productions. We even have a summer touring company you can audition for to learn how to tour as a professional performer/technician. We are excited about your creativity and curiosities!
  • Be a part of the University Theatre Dance Company. The University Theatre Dance Company performs in the spring as part of the University Theatre Main Stage Season in Bush Theatre. The dance company features 15 to 30 talented university students in professionally choreographed jazz, ballet, modern, hip-hop, ballroom, and tap dance works. University Theatre Dance Company membership is awarded through auditions, which occur yearly in early to mid-January.

Interested in a dance minor?

The minor in dance provides performance experiences and a well-rounded curriculum for students who wish to combine the study of dance with a degree in another discipline. After you earn a minor in dance at CMU, you may pursue a career in the professional dance industry. CMU's program will help you further develop your dance technique, production, history, and choreography skills.

Careers for a Dance Major

With a degree in dance studies, you can pursue careers in choreography, criticism, teaching, performance, music theatre and more.

Career Projected Salary
Choreographer $42,931
Entertainer/Performer $46,072
Art, Drama, and Music Teachers (Postsecondary) $75,940
Producer/Director $85,320

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