The Dance program at the University of the Arts is one of the top-rated, most diverse undergraduate dance populations in the country. Our location is in the heart of Philadelphia's thriving art scene. You'll have the opportunity to study with some of the finest professional teaching artists in the world, and extend your dancing into our city and beyond into some of the most important dance and cultural centers in the world.
- Faculty & Mentors
- Visiting Artists
- Knowing Dance More
- Alumni Spotlight
Apprenticeships, internships and international study cycles will be woven into your college experience. Many choreographic and performance experiences abound right on campus, such as those available through our Thinking, Making, Doing curriculum series and Senior Projects.
Your classes will be led by passionate instructors who love dance as much as you do. From ballet to hip-hop, jazz to modern, you'll have the opportunity to learn from instructors with a variety of dance backgrounds and expertise. Click on the images below to meet faculty of the Dance program.
Click on the images below to meet visiting artists of the Dance program.
This fall, the School of Dance will also host a dynamic programming series called the School for Temporary Liveness.
Knowing Dance More Series
February 12 | Orientation
February 26 | Jasmine Johnson and jumatatu m. poe
March 25 | Rosy Simas: Sovereign Movements
April 1 | Study Hall
Knowing Dance More events take place from 11:30-12:50pm in the Y Gym Dance Theater | 401 S. Broad St. Philadelphia, PA.
Curated by Lauren Bakst
University of the Arts School of Dance
Wednesday February 12
In this orientation, curator Lauren Bakst will contextualize and introduce the Spring 2020 session of Knowing Dance More, focusing on how the invited artists and scholars situate their practices within the world.
Jasmine Johnson and jumatatu m. poe
Wednesday February 26
In this conversation, scholar Jasmine Johnson and choreographer jumatatu m. poe will discuss the ways they are coming together within, through, around Black dance and their con/divergent reflections of dance and its motivations within their respective social analyses. Together they will examine the various constellations of people and social phenomena that inform their work, and how that work was brought together.
Jasmine Elizabeth Johnson is an Assistant Professor of Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. She writes and teaches about dance, black feminism, diaspora and performance. Her work has been supported by the Ford Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and elsewhere.
jumatatu m. poe is a choreographer and performer based between Philadelphia and New York City. jumatatu's early exposure to concert dance was through African dance and capoeira performances on California college campuses where jumatatu's parents studied and worked, but jumatatu did not start formal dance training until college with Umfundalai, Kariamu Welsh’s contemporary African dance technique. jumatatu's work continues to be influenced by various sources, including recent sociological research of and technical training in J-setting with Donte Beacham.
Pelenakeke Brown and Rosy Simas
Wednesday March 25
On the occasion of the recent launch of Issue 52/53 of the Movement Research Performance Journal, Sovereign Movements: Native Dance and Performance, this Knowing Dance More will feature guest editor of the issue and choreographer Rosy Simas alongside artist Pelenakeke Brown.
Pelenakeke (Keke) Brown identifies as an immigrant and uninvited guest to Mannahatta, Lenapehoking. She hails from Aotearoa/New Zealand and is a Samoan, afakasi, disabled, queer artist. Her practice is multidisciplinary and spans drawing, writing, movement, and storytelling. Her work is rooted within the Samoan concept of the ‘va’ or 'in-between space’ and she is always interrogating the relationships amongst the in-between spaces that we each inhabit. She is a 2018 Create Change Fellow with the Laundromat Project and a founding and current member of the Alien Support Service (ASS) Collective, a collective for immigrant artists, living and working in New York City. She is a member of Dance/NYC’s Immigrant Artists Taskforce and NYFA Immigrant Artist Program alumni. She has attended residencies at the Vermont Studio Center (VT), Denniston Hill (NY) and Ana Pekapeka Studio (NZ) and exhibited her work in San Francisco, Auckland and across New York. Her non-fiction creative work has been published in The James Franco Review, Movement Research Performance Journal, Hawai‘i Review, and Apogee Journal's Indigenous #NoDAPL special edition. She is a founding member of Touch Compass, New Zealand's first mixed-ability dance company. She attended the National Academy School of Fine Art, Studio Intensive Program, NY and received a BA in English literature and Pacific Studies from Auckland University, NZ. Currently she is the Assistant Director of Culture Push, a NYC-based non-profit arts organization.
Rosy Simas is a citizen of the Seneca Nation, Heron clan. She is a choreographer and visual artist based in Minneapolis. Her work investigates how culture, history, and identity are stored in the body and expressed in movement. For more than twenty years she has created work dealing with a wide range of political, social, and cultural subject matter from a Native feminist perspective. Simas is a Native Arts and Cultures Foundation, First Peoples Fund, Guggenheim Foundation, McKnight Foundation, and Dance USA Fellow; as well as a Joyce Awardee. Simas' choreographic works include Weave, Skin(s), and We Wait In The Darkness which have toured extensively to venues throughout Turtle Island. Simas' visual art work has been exhibited at the Soo Visual Arts Center, Plains Art Museum, Abrons Arts Center, the Edge Center for the Arts, Gimaajii-Bino-Bimaadizimin, Mitchell Museum of the American Indian, and All My Relations Arts.
Wednesday April 1
In this Study Hall, students will generate an immediate publication that collects their reflections on the past semester of Knowing Dance More. We will also celebrate the launch of the School for Temporary Liveness publication.
Sample Courses in the Dance Major
Studio Practice: Ballet
Contemporary Art Practices
Studio Practice: Modern, Jazz & Hip-hop
First-Year Performance Workshop
Introduction to Improvisation Performance Practice
Languaging Dance, Thinking Choreographically
Sophomore Performance & Coaching Project
Studio Practice: Ballet
Studio Practice: Modern, Jazz & Hip-hop
Movement Invention & Theatricality
Expanded Field in Dance & Performance
Dance History, Theory and Criticism I
Extended Studio Practice Somatic Lab
Performance Pedagogies of Dance
Collaborative Practice and the Choreographic
Dance History, Theory and Criticism II
Senior Thesis Workshop
Performance Pedagogies of Dance
Choreography as Research
Improvisation as Research in Performance
About the Curriculum
The School of Dance’s major course of study takes the depth and rigor of a discipline-based dance conservatory while engaging students in open discussions within their own practice, valuing their voices as capable of developing new and critical perspectives in dance. These strategies give way to student driven pathways and expand the ways students can access and think about the practices and techniques of making and performing dance.
It is divided into two parts: Foundation Series (freshman and sophomore years) and Portfolio & Research Series (junior and senior).
The faculty of the School of Dance have developed five essential learning goals that help to shape the school’s curriculum and the young dance artist and professional.
- Mutuality: Students will activate relationships in dance on personal, collective, regional and global levels.
- Relationality: Students will engage with the world through multiple lenses of collaboration, exchange and difference.
- Expressivity: Students will develop tools and ideas of expression to speak, write, and dance about/with/of/alongside.
- Sustainability: Students will be immersed in anatomically sound technical training that consistently weaves and references both historical and emerging techniques, forms and styles through informed somatic practices.
- Resourcefulness: Students will develop and sharpen skills of reciprocity, relationship and network building through consistent contact with professional artists in the expanded field both within their communities and in the world.
These learning goals are mapped across courses in six different categories: Studio Practice; Body Pathways; Thinking, Making, Doing; History, Theory and Criticism; Capstone Experiences; and Performance Pedagogies of Dance.
To explore the full curriculum, click here.
Explore profiles of some of our recent graduates. Click each image below to learn more.
With the goal of educating thinking artists as world citizens, The University of the Arts in Philadelphia sets in motion a new Master of Fine Arts (MFA) program in Dance that extends the context of learning from the studio, theater and classroom to the international festival environment as a space for learning.
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