Dance (MFA)

The Dance MFA program at University of the Arts aims to rethink inherited practices and consider differently the very idea of study. The program extends the context of learning from the studio and classroom to cities and communities as spaces for learning.

Internationally Situated

Beginning each summer, the program departs from a traditional educational format by proposing instead the manifestation of temporary schools that create and enliven experimental pedagogies. Through international residencies, workshops, and symposia, UArts MFA students generate digital research catalogues, artist’s books and portfolios.  Each term, the sharing of projects, processes and practices take the form of “research as action.”  

Summer terms for all curriculums take place in various cities, including Paris and Montpellier, France.

Immersed in the dynamic relationships created by mentorships, thinking partners, study groups and residencies, students consider and develop practices, pedagogies and research models that value experimentation and continuously question the role of dance and dancing within today’s society.

Theorizing and Practicing Knowledge Production in Relation to Citizenship and Art-Making

This mentor-based program expands from a leadership faculty supported by an international group of scholars, artists, curators, writers and community members located throughout the United States and abroad. Experts from across the fields of dance, live and visual arts and social justice gather to work within the MFA curricular platforms. These affiliated artists and guest lecturers represent an intentionally diverse array of approaches to theorizing and practicing knowledge production in relation to citizenship and art-making.

Offering Distinct Curricula

For both emerging & mid-career artists


Philadelphia Residency Structure

MFA Dance
(For emerging artists)

60 credits, 15 months

Designed for young artists with a strong interest in expanding their practice and research in an experimental and uninterrupted way. Applicants should hold 3-5 years of experience beyond an undergraduate degree in dance.

Summer Term in Residence; Fall & Spring Terms in Philly
Philadelphia residency students complete intensive fall and spring terms at UArts, in the center of Philadelphia. Faculty, mentors and visiting artists support students as they develop practices, pedagogies and modes of research within the context of Philadelphia and beyond.

 

Low-Residency Structure

MFA Dance                                   
(For mid-career artists) 

60 credits, 15 months, low-res format

Designed for mid-career artists, teachers and dance professionals who seek different perspectives within their practices and career trajectories. Applicants typically hold 8-10 years or more of experience as creative practitioners in their field.

Summer Term in Residence; Fall & Spring Terms in Your Context
Coursework is completed through self- directed research of situated pedagogical practices. Each student is supported by mentors and their fellow peers, as well as the use of distance-learning tools to facilitate the delivery of coursework.

OR Explore our Flex Structure

For artists in need of more flexibility
On a case-by-case basis, Flex Structures which extend the duration of study from 15 to 22 months may be available to qualified Philadelphia or Low-Residency candidates. 

With Post-MFA Support

Once students graduate from the program, the Post-MFA structure emerges as a resource to develop new formations for exchange that may include study groups, practice residencies, fellowships and research platforms.

 

Contact dance@uarts.edu to learn more. 

The artistic and curricular leadership group includes Ric Allsopp, Donna Faye Burchfield, and Thomas F. DeFrantz. Collaborating artists and scholars include Lauren Bakst, Douglas Becker, nora chipaumire, DD Dorvillier, Beth Gill, Ishmael Houston-Jones, Iréne Hultman, HeJin Jang, Shayla-Vie Jenkins, Niall Jones, Jaamil Olawale Kosoko, Jimena Paz, Jillian Peña, Ben Pranger, VK Preston, Arkadi Zaides and Jesse Zaritt. Curricular research topics fuel the selection of faculty, mentors, advisors and resident artists/scholars each year, who form an ongoing community of exchange for all Dance graduate students.

Leadership Team

Donna Faye Burchfield Headshot
Donna Faye Burchfield

Ric Allsopp
Ric Allsopp

Thomas DeFrantz
Thomas DeFrantz

Faculty, Mentors & Guest Artists

Lauren Bakst headshot
Lauren Bakst

Douglas Becker headshot
Douglas Becker

Headshot of nora chipaumire
nora chipaumire

DD Dorvillier Headshot
DD Dorvillier

Headshot of Lauren Downing
Lauren Downing

Ishmael Houston Jones headshot
Ishmael Houston-Jones

Iréne Hultman headshot
Iréne Hultman

Headshot of He Jin Jang
He Jin Jang

Niall Jones
Niall Jones

Shayla-Vie Jenkins headshot
Shayla-Vie Jenkins

Jaamil Kosoko headshot
Jaamil Olawale Kosoko

Headshot of Claudia La Rocco
Claudia La Rocco

Jimena Paz headshot
Jimena Paz

Jillian Pena
Jillian Peña

Ben Pranger headshot
Ben Pranger

Headshot of VK Preston
VK Preston

Headshot of Esther Siddiquie
Esther M. Siddiquie

Headshot of tyroneisaacstuart
tyrone isaac stuart

Headshot of Gee Wesley
Gee Wesley

Headshot of Chang Yuchen
Chang Yuchen

Arkadi Zaides headshot
Arkadi Zaides

Jesse Zarritt headshot
Jesse Zaritt

Low Residency Structure

A headshot of Reid Bartelme
Reid Bartelme

Dance (MFA)
Nicola Bullock
Nicola Bullock

Dance (MFA)
Dinita Clark
Dinita Clark

Dance (MFA)
A headshot of Kyle Clark
Kyle Clark

Dance (MFA)
A headshot of Da'Von Doane
Da' Von Doane

Dance (MFA)
Jacquelyn Elder headshot
Jacquelyn Elder

Dance (MFA)
Aura Fishbeck
Aura Fischbeck

Dance (MFA)
Headshot of Anne H. Goldberg
Anne H. Goldberg

Dance (MFA)
Courtney Henry
Courtney Henry

Dance (MFA)
Headshot of McIntosh Jerahuni
McIntosh Jerahuni

Dance (MFA)
A headshot of Cici Kelley
CiCi Kelley

Dance (MFA)
Erick Montes
Erick Montes

Dance (MFA)
Oran Nahum
Oran Nahum

Dance (MFA)
Kaolack Pape Ibrahima Ndiaye
Pape Ibrahima Ndiaye (Kaolack)

Dance (MFA)
headshot of Katherine Orloff
Katherine Orloff

Dance (MFA)
Joya Powell
Joya Powell

Dance (MFA)
A headshot of Aguibou Bougobali Sanou
Aguibou Bougobali Sanou

Dance (MFA)
supernova
estrellx supernova

Dance (MFA)
Laurie Taylor
Laurie Taylor

Dance (MFA)
A headshot of Katie Vickers
Katie Vickers

Dance (MFA)
Uwazi Zamani
Uwazi Zamani

Dance (MFA)

Philadelphia Residency Structure

Blakeney Bullock headshot
Blakeney Bullock

Dance (MFA)
Cameron Childs
Cameron Childs

Dance (MFA)
A headshot of Ann Corrao
Ann Corrao

Dance (MFA)
Imani Griffith headshot
Imani Griffith

Dance (MFA)
Su Guzey headshot
Su Güzey

Dance (MFA)
Sara Ingel headshot
Sarah Ingel

Dance (MFA)
Alice Nardi headshot
Alice Nardi

Dance (MFA)
A headshot of Ushini Niwetu
Ushindi Niwetu

Dance (MFA)
Sabrina Rahman
Sabrina Rahman

Dance (MFA)
Headshot of Arabia Richardson
Arabia Richardson

Dance (MFA)
Melvin Sutton
Melvin Sutton

Dance (MFA)
A headshot of Jessie Thornton
Jessie Thornton

Dance (MFA)
Jason Vu
Jason Vu

Dance (MFA)
A headshot of Can Wang
Can Wang

Dance (MFA)

Study Cycle 

Gain insights into our last Study Cycle.
 

June 15 – 19, 2020

 

A series of daily situations for collective study
 

Watch, listen, speak, practice and reflect with Morgan Bassichis, Tina Campt, rile*, Rebecca Schneider, Julie Tolentino, Simone White, Wilmer Wilson IV and Arkadi Zaides

Co-Curators: Lauren Bakst and Niall Jones

Students of the School for Temporary Liveness gather in and around the stairwell of the Philadelphia Art Alliance for Study Hall with nora chipaumire and Isabel Lewis, 2019. Photo: Constance Mensh.
Photo: Constance Mensh.

On the closing day of the first School for Temporary Liveness in October 2019, we found ourselves assembled on a staircase. Spilling from steps onto landings and into hallways, this was where we had to be. Inhabiting architectures of transition opened other possibilities for thinking together. In those spaces between and alongside, collective assembly became an occasion to exchange knowledge, share experiences, and continue dreaming of the world’s futures.

We are coming back to school, even though we never left. As the third annual Study Cycle for the University of the Arts MFA in Dance program, the School for Temporary Liveness, Vol 2. continues our investment in experimental pedagogies within and alongside dance and performance. Imagining ourselves together in liminal spaces as we gather virtually from bedrooms, living rooms, bathrooms, kitchens, closets, basements, porches and fire escapes, how might we propose and enact models for living in and with the world? 

We invoke hallways—those transitory spaces of sociality and encounter—to hold our collective and experimental study. In this critical movement between before and after, how do we learn? We will let ourselves not know so that we might more accurately feel what we already knew. We attend diligently and effortfully to the inquiries and practices that call us toward our experiences of liveness. This is school and study is an activity best done together, with all of the pleasures and difficulties. We are all students.
 

Original support for the School for Temporary Liveness was provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, Philadelphia.

Notes on the School for Temporary Liveness is out now!

A preview animated GIF of the Notes on The School for Temporary Liveness

This publication gathers reflections on and responses to The School for Temporary Liveness, Vol. 1—a week-long event that brought performances, workshops, talks, conversations, and new formats for study together within the poetic frame of a school. It includes contributions by Lauren Bakst, Jon Baldwin, Donna Faye Burchfield, Thomas F. DeFrantz, VK Preston, Rebecca Schneider, Andrew J. Smyth and Connie Yu. Their reflections offer glimmers of what the School for Temporary Liveness was, and have embedded within them tools and inquiries for ongoing collective study.

View the publication online here or email lbakst@uarts.edu to order yours in print for $10.

Notes on the School for Temporary Liveness has been supported by the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.

Curriculum

Both expansive and intensive, our approach relies on situational pedagogies and the gathering of relational communities. The program moves against conventional thinking about academic learning environments utilizing the University of the Arts School of Dance’s long standing relationships to and connections with world-recognized artists, scholars and cultural institutions. With the challenge to examine the role of dance and dance-making in the community at large, the lab and study group components of the program are built on the need for critical practices and collective thinking that challenge and destabilize disciplinary thinking. 

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Philadelphia Residency Structure

Philadelphia Residency Structure
60 credits, 15 months, low-res format

Designed for young artists with a strong interest in expanding their practice and research in an experimental and uninterrupted way. Applicants should hold 3–5 years of experience beyond an undergraduate degree in dance.

Summer Term in Residence; Fall & Spring Terms in Philly

Philadelphia residency students complete intensive fall and spring terms at UArts, in the center of Philadelphia. Faculty, mentors and visiting artists support students as they develop practices, pedagogies and modes of research within the context of Philadelphia and beyond.

Low-Residency Structure

60 credits, 15 months, low-res format

Designed for mid-career artists, teachers and dance professionals who want to question their own work and re-evaluate their career trajectories. Applicants typically hold 8–10 years or more of experience as creative practitioners in their field.

Summer Term in Residence; Fall & Spring Terms in Your Context

Coursework is completed through self- directed research of situated pedagogical practices. Each student is supported by mentors and their fellow peers, as well as the use of distance-learning tools to facilitate the delivery of coursework.

Flex Structure

For artists in need of more flexibility

On a case-by-case basis, Flex Structures extend the duration of study from 15 to 22 months and may be available to qualified Philadelphia or Low-Residency candidates. 

How to Apply

Who Should Apply

The MFA in Dance is designed with specific creative practitioners in mind:

The Philadelphia Residency Structure is designed for highly motivated emerging artists with a strong interest in expanding their knowledge and experience in an uninterrupted way. Applicants should have 3-5 years of experience beyond undergraduate study.

The Low-Residency Structure is designed for mid-career artists, teachers and dance professionals who want to question their own work and re-evaluate their career trajectories. Applicants should have a minimum of 8-10 years of professional experience.

The Flex Structure options are available to qualified Philadelphia or Low-Residency applicants who seek a completion path with more flexibility by extending their study over a longer duration. 

Contact dance@uarts.edu to learn more. 
 

Application Deadline

The deadline to apply for the MFA in Dance 2022 academic year is January 14, 2022.

To apply, the following materials are required.
  • Application fee of $60 (nonrefundable; submitted with your application)
  • Undergraduate degree in Dance or equivalent experience 
    • Official transcripts from all prior undergraduate and graduate schools attended are required. Transcripts should be issued directly by the Registrar's Office at the college(s) attended and sent to the Office of Admissions, The University of the Arts, 320 South Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102 or via email to gradcredentials@uarts.edu. For transcripts from outside the United States, please refer to the instructions provided below for international students.
    • In exceptional circumstances, exemplary professional experience may be accepted in lieu of an undergraduate degree. Applicants are advised to contact the MFA Program at dance@uarts.edu in advance of making an application. 
  • 3 letters of recommendation
    • Letters of recommendation may either be requested through the online application form, or mailed to the Office of Admissions. At least two must come from professors or professionals in your field familiar with your capabilities and credentials. The third may be from a colleague, collaborator or a peer.
  • Statement of intent & resume
    • Your Statement of Intent and your resume are uploaded and submitted as part of your online application. Statements should be a minimum of one- to two-pages and detail your professional plans, interests and goals. What do you hope to gain by your studies at the graduate level? Your resume should highlight all of your professional accomplishments including employment, internships, honors, exhibitions and publications.
    • Tuition Fellowship essays - students who wish to be considered for Tuition Fellowship awards must also submit an additional essay that further describes their professional goals and how a fellowship will facilitate attaining them. This essay should be included within the same document as your statement of intent, and uploaded online when you complete the online application.
  • Portfolio
    • Applicants are required to submit a portfolio via SlideRoom ($10 fee applies) of recent choreographic and/or performative works from the past 5 years. Complete instructions and format guidelines are available on our SlideRoom portal page. 
  • Personal interview
    • After the application has been processed, applicants may be contacted for a personal interview conducted by the leadership team and faculty. 

International Applicants

In addition to the requirements listed above, international applicants or those with foreign credentials must submit:

  • Official transcripts
    • All transcripts from outside the United States must be in English and must be official. The Office of Admissions may request that international students obtain a transcript evaluation from a third-party credential evaluation service (such as World Education Services or Educational Credential Evaluators) in cases where further information is required to assess international credentials. 
  • Proof of English language proficiency
    • Students must demonstrate English language proficiency to engage in advanced studio, lecture and seminar coursework. International students whose native language is not English should submit the results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), or the Duolingo English Test. A minimum TOEFL score of 79, IELTS score of 6.0, or Duolingo English Test score of 100 is required for admission. 

Applicants who meet the academic and creative requirements for admission but who do not yet meet the English proficiency requirement may receive an offer of conditional admission that first requires enrollment in the University of the Arts' English as a Second Language Institute (ESLI). Applicants who successfully complete Level 9 of ESL study in ESLI will then be able to begin their degree program studies.

In special circumstances, applicants who have not taken the TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo English Test can request a waiver of this requirement. The request should be submitted in writing and include the reason for opting not to take the exams. Requests will then be reviewed on a case-by-case basis and may require an interview. A waiver may be considered for those applicants who enrolled full-time in an accredited college or university in the U.S. and successfully completed two semesters of college-level English, not taken in conjunction with ESL study, and earned a minimum GPA of 3.0 in those classes.

I20/F-1 International student visa information: Upon acceptance, students will be contacted by the University of the Arts International Student Programs Office, regarding visa counseling and all materials required to create an I-20 in order to obtain an F-1 visa. Contact Mara Flamm, director, International Student Programs, with any questions regarding your I20 or F-1 visa.

Scholarships & Grants 

Travel Assistance Grant 

All MFA Dance students are eligible for a $500 travel assistance grant awarded each summer, for a maximum of two summers (total award not to exceed $1,000) to help defray the costs of travel.

Tuition Fellowships

Tuition Fellowships are competitive awards that range in amount. Awards are based both on the applicant's creative merit and demonstrated financial need. All MFA Dance applicants are eligible (both low-res and year-res cohorts). Interested students must submit an additional essay that further describes their professional goals and how a fellowship will facilitate attaining them. This essay should be included within the statement of intent document uploaded online when you complete the online application. US based students must also submit a FAFSA.

Life Experience Scholarships (for low-residency students only)

Mid-career artists who hold 8-10 or more years of experience who are successful in their application for admission to the low-residency cohort are eligible for Life Experience Scholarships. Life Experience Scholarships are generous awards applied to the tuition costs of the program. No additional application is required; students are considered for the Life Experience Scholarship at time of admission.

Post-MFA Support

Once students graduate from the program, the Post-MFA cohort emerges as a resource to develop new formations for exchange that may include study groups, practice residencies, fellowships and research platforms.

Financial Aid

All applicants are reviewed for merit-based awards during the admissions process. In addition, most US citizens and permanent residents qualify for federal, need-based financial aid. You will need to file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in order to be evaluated for eligibility. Once you are admitted and we have received your FAFSA, you will receive a financial aid notification letter. For full details please visit fafsa.ed.gov or contact the Office of Student Financial Services at UArts. 


Tuition & Fees

Learn more about graduate tuition and fees.

 

 

 

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