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.
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.
Knowing Dance More Series
Gershman YGym Dance Theater | 401 S. Broad St.
Presented by the School of Dance, "Knowing Dance More" is a series of lectures, conversations and informal showings led by visiting artists and scholars in the international field of dance. Curated by Lauren Bakst, this series seeks to bring into focus current issues within the production, performance and practice of dance works and will hopefully foster ongoing conversations about knowing dance (more).
Visit our vimeo page to view a select archive of video documentation from previous Knowing Dance More events.
September 19 - Introduction
Knowing Dance More Curator Lauren Bakst will introduce the Fall series, situating our work of "knowing dance more" within the framework of critical phenomenology. Bakst uses critical phenomenology to posit that the works of Isabel Lewis and nora chipaumire are live, enacted critiques of the conditions of performance. Re-animating the theatrical within the social, and the social within the theatrical, their works each generate new forms of spectatorship and relation, compelling us to rethink how it is that we look at, feel, and know dance (more).
The Fall 2018 series of Knowing Dance More is in conversation with, and a precursor to, The School for Temporary Liveness, a project featuring the work of Isabel Lewis and nora chipaumire that will take place at the Philadelphia Arts Alliance in September 2019. The School for Temporary Liveness has been supported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.
October 3 - Isabel Lewis
Isabel Lewis is a Berlin-based choreographer born in the Dominican Republic and raised on a man-made island off the coast of southwest Florida. From 2003-2009 Lewis lived in New York City during which she danced for many choreographers such as Ann Liv Young, Miguel Gutierrez, David Neumann, Levi Gonzales, and Christal Brown as well as showed her own choreographic works at The Kitchen, Dance Theater Workshop, New Museum, Danspace Project at St. Marks Church, Bronx Academy of Arts & Dance (BAAD!), and PS122. She has also worked as a programmer for the Body Blend series at Dixon Place, as curator for Movement Research Festival Improvisation is Hard (2004) and Reverence (Irreverence) (2007) and as an editor and contributor for the Movement Research Performance Journal. With a background in dance and cultural criticism Lewis works in multiple and hybrid formats such as lecture performances, workshops, activations of public spaces, and what she has named "hosted occasions." Her works have been presented by Creative Time and Art Basel, Berliner Festspiele-Gropius Bau Berlin, Tate Modern London, Dia Art Foundation, Tanz Im August Berlin, and Impulstanz International Dance Festival among others. Lewis has created works around such topics as open source technology and dance improvisation, social dances as cultural storage systems (Mountain Grass, Mountain Hare: bodily imprinting and social dances, 2012), collaborative creative formats (Communal EPIC Fiction, 2010), future bodily techniques (BALLISTIC BODY, 2011), and rapping as an embodied speech act (FLOW PLAY: Sensualized Speech and Hip Hop, 2013). Lewis works with an expanded notion of the choreographic and explores composition in heterotopic space, with long-flow dramaturgical developments that can last hours, days, or even weeks. Lewis is a lead artist participating in The School for Temporary Liveness, a UArts School of Dance project taking place at the Philadelphia Art Alliance in Fall 2019 that has been supported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.
October 17 - nora chipaumire with Shamar Watt
Born in Mutare, Zimbabwe and based in NYC, choreographer and performer nora chipaumire’s work challenges and embraces stereotypes of Africa and the black performing body, art, and aesthetic. Her newest work is a three-part live performance album inspired by her formative years in Zimbabwe and the energy and rebellion of punk and 1980s New Wave music. Each part explores one of three sonic ideologies: punk, pop and Congolese rumba (in that order), which are confronted and celebrated through music artist Patti Smith, supermodel Grace Jones and musician Rit Nzele. Her other recent work includes portrait of myself as my father (2016). In it, she is joined by the specters of her estranged father. The stage transforms into a boxing ring, and together, they teeter between combat and play, challenging and exploiting stereotypes of black manhood. chipaumire is a lead artist participating in The School for Temporary Liveness, a UArts School of Dance project taking place at the Philadelphia Art Alliance in Fall 2019 that has been supported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.
She is a three-time Bessie Award winner. She received the 2016 Trisha Mckenzie Memorial Award for her impact on the dance community in Zimbabwe. Her many awards include a Foundation for Contemporary Arts grant (2016), a Doris Duke Artist Award (2015), a Herb Alpert Award in the Arts (2012) and a United States Artist Ford Fellowship (2011). She has been supported by MAP Fund, National Performance Network Creation Fund, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Jerome Foundation and The Joyce Theater Foundation (with support from the Rockefeller Foundation’s Cultural Innovation Fund). Her many commissions include Brooklyn Academy of Music, JACK and Peak Performances @ Montclair State University, among others.
She is a graduate of the University of Zimbabwe’s School of Law and holds an MA in Dance and MFA in Choreography from Mills College. She has studied dance in Africa, Cuba, Jamaica and the USA and her work tours internationally.
nora chipaumire with Shamar Watt, #PUNK, 2018. Photo: Ian Douglas
November 7 - Study Hall
Knowing Dance More Study Hall is a platform facilitated by Lauren Bakst through which the UArts School of Dance students become the series experts—reflecting on and responding to the ideas that have been proposed throughout the Fall series. The KDM Study Hall will employ models inspired by Hannah Hurtzig/MobileAcademy's "Blackmarkets for Useful Knowledge and Non-Knowledge," setting up a situation for students to generate new knowledges through conversations with and among each other.
Sample Courses in the Dance Major
Studio Practice: Ballet
Contemporary Art Practices
Studio Practice: Modern, Jazz & Hip-hop
Freshmen 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 Project & Critique
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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