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

60 credits, 15 months, low-res format

Designed for midcareer artists, teachers and dance professionals who want to question their own work and re-evaluate their career trajectories. Applicants typically hold eight to 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 Structure, which extends 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

James McGinn headshot
James McGinn

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)
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)
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

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.

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. 

Low-Residency Structure

Low-Residency Structure 

60 credits, 15 months, low-res format

The Low-Residency structure is designed for midcareer artists, teachers and dance professionals who seek different perspectives within their practices and career trajectories. Applicants should have a minimum of eight to 10 years of professional experience.

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.

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 three to five years of experience beyond undergraduate study.

The Low-Residency Structure is designed for mid-career artists, teachers and dance professionals who seek different perspectives in their practices and career trajectories. Applicants should have a minimum of eight to 10 years of professional experience. Low-Residency students complete the summer term in residence, while fall and spring terms are completed through self-directed work with support from mentors and peers.

The Flex Structure options are available to qualified 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 Jan. 14, 2022.

Application Requirements

  • Start or resume your application.

  • $60 nonrefundable application fee

    • If the cost of the application fee is a barrier, contact Admissions to request a fee waiver code.

  • Official undergraduate transcript

    • Official transcripts must be sent directly from the college where you have earned, or will earn, your undergraduate degree by mail, email or a secure electronic document-delivery service. 

    • If you have earned, or will earn, your undergraduate degree outside the U.S., see our transcript requirements for international graduate applicants below.

    • MFA in Dance applicants are expected to have an undergraduate degree in dance or an undergraduate degree in another area with comparable professional experience. In exceptional circumstances, exemplary professional experience might be accepted in lieu of an undergraduate degree. Those prospective applicants are advised to contact the MFA program at dance@uarts.edu in advance of submitting an application.

  • Two letters of recommendation

    • Two letters of recommendation from professors or professionals in your field, who are familiar with your capabilities, are required. In the case that these recommenders are not available, you may request letters from colleagues, collaborators or peers, if necessary.

    • Applicants must enter contact information for their recommenders on the application. An email will be sent to recommenders providing a link for them to upload their letter. Letters of recommendation may also be submitted by the recommender via email to gradcredentials@uarts.edu.

  • Statement of intent

    • 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?

      • 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 in the same document as your statement of intent. 

    • Your statement of intent may be uploaded during the application process or added after submission via your applicant status portal. 

  • Résumé

    • Your résumé should highlight all your professional accomplishments, including employment, internships, honors, exhibitions and publications.

    • Your résumé may be uploaded during the application process or added after submission via your applicant status portal. 

  • Portfolio 

    • MFA applicants should submit a portfolio of at least three recent choreographic and/or performative works from the past five years. Documentation of works may take a variety of formats, from short videos (no longer than five minutes), images, links to external websites, writings and/or project briefs. In addition, provide a text document titled “List of Works” that provides an overview of all works, a short description of each and the type of documentation you are submitting for each. Works that are not contextualized or adequately described may not be evaluated.

    • The portfolio may be uploaded during the application process or via your applicant status portal after submission. You must confirm when your submission is complete via the linked electronic form before your portfolio can be reviewed for admission. 

  • Interview

    • After the application has been processed, applicants might be contacted for a personal interview conducted by the program leadership team and faculty. Interviews may be conducted on campus or by phone or Zoom.

 

International Applicants

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

  • Official undergraduate transcripts

    • Applicants who have academic documents from institutions outside the U.S. are required to provide original, attested or certified true copies of academic records from the institution where they have earned, or will earn, their undergraduate degree. These records should be in the original language in which they were issued.

    • For postsecondary school records that are not in English, applicants must also submit an official translation of all their academic documents. Translations must be a complete, literal, word-for-word translation in the same format of the original academic document. Transcripts cannot be translated by the student or any members of their family. Acceptable translators include English teachers or other school officials, professional translators, or a local EducationUSA office

    • Admissions might request that students obtain a course-by-course credential evaluation if we are not able to confirm the equivalent level to a U.S. undergraduate degree.

  • Proof of English proficiency

    • For international applicants whose primary language is not English, and who have not completed two semesters of college-level English in a college/university where the language of instruction is English, proof of English proficiency is required. 

    • Recommended minimums for English proficiency exams are as follows. 

    • Applicants who meet the academic and creative requirements for admission but whose scores do not meet the English proficiency requirement for degree study might receive an offer of conditional admission that requires enrollment in the university’s 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 do not have access to the TOEFL, IELTS or Duolingo English tests can request a waiver of this requirement. The request should be submitted by email to admissions@uarts.edu. Requests will then be reviewed on a case-by-case basis and might require an interview.

  • I-20/F-1 international student visa information: Upon acceptance, students will be contacted by 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 of international student programs, with any questions regarding your I-20 or F-1 visa.

Apply Now

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. 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. U.S.-based students must also submit a FAFSA.

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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