Dance is a beautiful and expressive art form that has been around for centuries. Many colleges and universities offer dance majors for students interested in pursuing a career in dance. In this article, we will be exploring 16 of the top colleges with dance majors in 2023.
These colleges are known for their comprehensive dance programs, world-class facilities, and outstanding faculty. Whether pursuing a career as a performer, choreographer, or dance educator, these colleges offer the training and resources you need to succeed in the competitive dance world.
From small liberal arts colleges to large state universities, these schools offer diverse dance programs to suit every student’s needs and goals.
Table of contents
- How to Become a Professional Dancer
- Is Dance a Real Major?
- Is A Dance Career Worth It?
- What to Study If You Want to Be a Dancer
- What Degrees are in Colleges with Dance Majors?
- How Much Does a Professional Dancer Make?
- Best Colleges with Dance Majors
- 1. Chapman university department of dance
- 2. USF School of Theatre and Dance
- 3. Commercial Dance BFA Program at Pace university
- 4. Towson University Department of Dance
- 5. CalArts School of Dance
- 6. Center for Dance at Ailey School and Fordham university
- 7. The contemporary Dance program at Indiana university
- 8. Dance Division at the Juilliard School
- 9. The Barnard College Department of Dance
- 10. Montclair University
- 12. Point Park University
- 13. Purchase college
- 14. UNCSA School of Dance
- 15. Butler University
- 16. NYU Tisch school of Arts
- FAQs – Colleges with Dance Majors
- We Also Recommend
Dancing is fun, therapeutic, and enjoyable but that is not the only benefit dancing has to offer. There are many benefits associated with this activity, both health-wise and career-wise. The activity is good for your physical and mental health, and some of these health benefits include better brain health, improved flexibility, reduced depression, reduced stress level, promoted weight loss, improved cardiovascular health, boosted self-confidence and esteem, better coordination of strength and balance and increased energy levels.
Dance is an art that involves movements and steps to express and demonstrate a culture or art. It is considered an expression of joy and pleasure when performed. Dance can also be considered as a theatrical form of art with an elaborate choreography accompanied by planning multiple levels such as stage design, scenery, costume design, and many more so that a product can be created. This means that to make a career in dancing, you have to learn a particular form and master it.
If you are considering taking dancing as a career path or have chosen it, but you need to know the process and requirements of what it takes to be a professional dancer.
You are in the right place. This article will help you with all the information you need to know about becoming a professional dancer if only you read to the end of this article.
How to Become a Professional Dancer
To become a professional dancer, you must attend dance school training programs and master their dance form through a diploma and degree courses. A long collection of programs are available in dancing at diploma, bachelor, and master’s levels which you can choose from based on your interest and preferences.
Becoming a professional dancer requires training, dedication, and hard work. The first step is to gain a strong foundation in dance technique through formal training in a reputable dance school or program. It’s important to study multiple dance styles, including ballet, contemporary, and jazz, and take anatomy and injury prevention classes.
As your training progresses, it’s essential to build a strong performance resume through participation in dance competitions, recitals, and other performance opportunities. Networking with other dancers and industry professionals is also crucial for getting your foot in the door.
Finally, it’s crucial to stay in good physical shape, be prepared for auditions and be ready to work hard, and be persistent.
Is Dance a Real Major?
Yes, dance is an actual major. Many colleges and universities offer dance majors as part of their performing arts programs. These majors typically include a comprehensive curriculum of dance technique, choreography, performance, dance history, and classes in related subjects such as music, theater, and anatomy.
Dance majors also have the opportunity to participate in performances, workshops, and masterclasses with professional dancers and choreographers. A degree in dance can lead to a wide range of career opportunities, including performing, choreography, dance education, and arts administration.
Is A Dance Career Worth It?
A dance career can be gratifying, but it can also be challenging and competitive. Like any career, weighing the potential benefits and drawbacks before committing to it is essential.
On the one hand, a dance career can be incredibly fulfilling. It allows you to express yourself creatively and share your passion for the art form with others. It can also provide the opportunity to travel and perform on stage in front of large audiences. Many dancers also find that dance keeps them physically and mentally fit.
On the other hand, a dance career can be physically demanding and take a toll on the body. It can also be very competitive, with many dancers vying for a limited number of professional opportunities. Additionally, many dancers need help to make a steady income and may have to supplement their income with other jobs.
Ultimately, whether a dance career is worth it depends on the individual and their personal goals, motivations, and priorities. If you are passionate about dance, are willing to work hard and persist through the challenges, and are aware of the realities of the industry, then it could be worth pursuing a career in dance.
What to Study If You Want to Be a Dancer
If you want to become a professional dancer, it’s essential to study dance at a reputable institution. Various dance programs are available, ranging from two-year associate’s to four-year bachelor’s degrees. Some programs may also offer graduate-level study.
The curriculum of a dance program typically includes classes in:
- Technique: Ballet, contemporary, jazz, hip-hop, and other styles of dance
- Choreography: Creating and developing your own dance pieces
- Performance: Opportunities to perform in student and professional productions
- Dance History: The study of the evolution of dance and its cultural influences
- Anatomy and Kinesiology: Understanding the mechanics of the body and how to prevent injury
- Music: Understanding the relationship between music and dance
- Theater: Understanding the stage and how to perform in front of an audience
In addition to formal training, it’s crucial to build a strong performance resume by participating in dance competitions, recitals, and other performance opportunities. Networking with other dancers and industry professionals is also vital for getting your foot in the door. Finally, staying in good physical shape and preparing for auditions is essential.
What Degrees are in Colleges with Dance Majors?
Post-school education is not a necessary or compulsory to build a career in dancing. Degree courses allow students to experience different dance genres or focus on a particular discipline. Students also gather practical experience and learn about contemporary dance trends, choreography, rhythm, dynamics, ballet, jazz, movement analysis, composition, and dance history.
If you arec looking to further your education by planning to go for a graduate degree, you can pursue an MFA program in dance. This program allows you to study advanced dance theory and performing arts in your chosen dance style under the mentorship and guidance of a highly skilled faculty.
If you are interested in learning such type of course, we have listed various degrees in dancing at different academic levels:
Diploma- Diploma in dance performing Arts, diploma in dance education, diploma in dance certificate course in dance performance, diploma in fine arts.
Bachelor’s level- bachelor in fine art in dance, bachelor of Arts in dance and performance studies, Bachelor of Fine Arts in dance performance, bachelor of arts in dance, bachelor of science in dance, bachelor of arts in dance, and movement studies.
Master level- Dance in professions, pedagogy master of arts in teaching, master of fine arts in dance, MA in teaching dance, All Grades, initial certification, master of fine arts in choreographic inquiry, master of fine arts in dance: Embodied interdisciplinary praxis, master of fine arts in dance, master of arts in dance education, teaching dance in the professional and ABT ballet.
Pre-K–12 dancing, master of fine arts (dance) (research), master of education (M.Ed) certification, master of arts in teaching dance, Grades k–12, initial certification, master of arts in teaching dance, Grades k–12 professional certification.
Also, see: 7 Top Universities in South Korea in 2023
How Much Does a Professional Dancer Make?
The salary of a professional dancer can vary widely depending on the type of work, location, and experience. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for dancers was $25,850 in May 2020. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $19,180, and the highest 10 percent earned over $74,480.
In a performing arts company, dancers usually start out with a lower salary, and as they progress in their careers and gain more experience, they may earn higher salaries. Dancers in major companies, such as the New York City Ballet or American Ballet Theatre, may make a higher salary than those in smaller regional or community companies.
Dancers who work in touring companies, theme parks, cruise ships, or other non-theater venues may have different pay scales. They may earn a weekly salary rather than a yearly salary and may also receive per diem or other benefits.
It’s also important to note that many professional dancers have multiple sources of income and may supplement their income by teaching dance classes, choreographing, or working in other related fields.
Best Colleges with Dance Majors
Here are our top picks on the colleges with dance majors in 2023:
- Chapman university department of dance
- USF School of Theatre and Dance
- Commercial Dance BFA Program at Pace university
- Towson University Department of Dance
- CalArts School of Dance
- Center for Dance at Ailey School and Fordham university
- The contemporary Dance program at Indiana university
- Dance Division at the Juilliard School
- The Barnard College Department of Dance
- Montclair University
- Point Park University
- Purchase college
- UNCSA School of Dance
- Butler University
- NYU Tisch school of Arts
1. Chapman university department of dance
Being one of the best colleges with Dance majors in 2023 and located in Orange, California, the department of dance at Chapman university provides students a solid professional training program with high-quality productions. Students can choose from a pre-professional Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in dance performance or the more broad-based Bachelor of Arts degree in dance. These both degrees give outstanding preparation for individuals looking to get into the professional dance world and attend graduate school.
The curriculum for dance majors includes dance history, acting music for dancers, ballrooms, semantics, tap, and exhaustive pre-professional training in modern, jazz, and ballet technique, choreography, dance production, hip-hop, and dance science.
2. USF School of Theatre and Dance
Located in Tampa, Florida, the University of South Florida dance program’s goal is to prepare and inspire students for a life in dance. A conservatory-based program with a liberal arts environment focused on rigorous training in ballet and modern technique. The dance program is housed in its state-of-the-art dance center on a large liberal arts campus.
USF is accredited by the National association of schools of dance (NASD). Students will need to apply for admission and be accepted to the university of South Florida before being accepted as a dance major in the school of theatre and dance.
3. Commercial Dance BFA Program at Pace university
Also one of the best colleges with dance majors and located in New York, The Bachelor, The Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in commercial dance in the Pace School of Performing Arts is the only one of its kind in New York City offering comprehensive dance training that bridges the gap between classical dance technique and the professional world of dance.
The Commercial dance major blends the highest quality of dance and theater training, preparing student3 for diverse careers in the stage, film, television, and entertainment industry. Commercial Dance students train with professionals in jazz, modern, theater, dance, hip-hop, ballet, contemporary and aerial work, singing, acting, and technical theater.
4. Towson University Department of Dance
Founded in 1866 and located in Maryland, the Department of Dance at Towson University is a center of excellence in artistry and dance education. Towson provides professional dance training within a comprehensive liberal arts education. Majors experience rigorous preparation to dance and create dance at all ages and stages of life and work in professional companies as arts advocates and educators.
5. CalArts School of Dance
Also one of the best colleges with dance majors in 2023, Cal arts is a private art university in Santa Clarita. The comprehensive MFA and BFA programs build high-level proficiencies in performance technique, choreography, dance production technology, and critical understanding of the art form, all within a global cultural context. Their programs include dance and choreography.
6. Center for Dance at Ailey School and Fordham university
Located in the Lincoln Center area of New York, The Ailey School and Fordham University are partners offering a highly innovative Bachelor Of Fine Arts (BFA) degree in dance. This BFA program provides the best of two worlds: The artistic pre-eminence of the official school of the world-famous Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, paired with an exceptional liberal arts education rooted in the Jesuit tradition of academic excellence.
7. The contemporary Dance program at Indiana university
The Indiana university contemporary Dance program offers a collection of experiences readily accessible to students who seek a severe study of the art of dance. The program’s core offerings comprise a curriculum with the highest quality of training and instruction, strengthens and refines dance techniques, , and provides a scholarly inquiry into history, creative practices, and science.
The BFA in dance offered by the theater, contemporary dance, and drama is a department rich in artistic integrity and disciplined dance training, which is essential in producing wholly integrated artists and successful dance professionals.
8. Dance Division at the Juilliard School
Julliard is also located in Lincoln Center, New York, and was founded in 1905. The Julliard school offers a four-year Bachelor of Fine Arts degree program in dance as an art form that reaches across centuries and cultures. In this university, you will be encouraged to become versatile and nuanced in performing through equal emphasis on ballet and modern techniques.
You will also learn the history and works from the past that continue to inform today’s dance markers, and you will also be challenged to create and celebrate choreographers. Julliard empowers and encourages the next generation of exceptional artists and creative voices in the dance world through its rigorous classes, performances, and compositional opportunities.
9. The Barnard College Department of Dance
This is a private women’s liberal arts college located in Manhattan, New York. The Barnard college department of dance offers an interdisciplinary program that integrates the study of dance within a liberal arts setting of intellectual and creative experience.
This major centers on studio courses, the department’s productions at Miller Theater, New York Live Arts, and other venues, as well as a rich array of dance studies courses, permitting student’s creative work to develop in dialogue with a critical inquiry into the history, culture, theory, and forms of nonwestern and western performance, specially enhanced by study in other disciplines.
The student will work with accomplished and successful artists who enrich contemporary American dance. They also study with exceptional and outstanding research scholars. The dance department offers technique courses for students of all levels of expertise.
10. Montclair University
Located in New Jersey, The Bachelor of Fine arts in dance program combines a conservatory-based approach to training with liberal arts curriculum to prepare students for their lives and careers as professional dancers. Their intensive course of study is rooted in anatomically sound, sequential techniques to train dancers in modern ballet, jazz, modern dance, African dance, and hip pop.
12. Point Park University
Point park university is a private university located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. This university offers intensive training in ballet, modern dance, and jazz. Point park university is an accredited institutional member of the National association of schools of dance. The department of dance with a concentration in ballet, jazz, or modern. The department of dance at Point Park University attracts highly skilled and motivated dancers ready to engage the world around them and advance in the dance field.
13. Purchase college
Purchase college is a public liberal arts college in New York. The conservatory of dance in the school of the Arts at purchase college (SUNY) is one of the best schools in the world where you can learn what it entails to be a dance professional. The opportunity is given to individuals committed to fully realizing themselves as exceptional and incomparable artists.
The conservatory of dance BFA program provides students a comprehensive entry into the universe of professional dance. They teach, direct and choreograph major productions, dance on Broadway, and perform many of the foremost international contemporary modern and ballet dances, producing and nurturing the next generation as professors in higher education. Purchase college has also founded companies across the globe.
14. UNCSA School of Dance
At the University of North Carolina, you can choose to concentrate on classical or contemporary dance, but you will have to train and perform extensively in both disciplines. You will also get to explore a diverse, world-class repertory that emanates talented young performers into technically sound, artistically sensitive, and versatile professional dancers through this school’s rigorous and nurturing conservatory experience.
15. Butler University
Butler university has consistently been listed as one of the US’s top five collegiate ballet programs. The dance department offers a rich and nourishing environment for the professional development of the highest caliber of dancers in the nation. Students get conservatory-level instruction from a faculty of highly recognized and respected artists and teachers. Butler university is a private university in Indianapolis, Indiana, founded in 1855 and named after Ovid butler.
16. NYU Tisch school of Arts
Located in New York and founded on the 17th of August 1965, this school is a training ground for artists and scholars of arts. It is considered the cinematic, performing, and media arts school in New York City. The Tisch dance department seeks to develop and fully prepare dance artists to be fearless leaders, critical thinkers, and excellent performers. Their BFA and Dual Degree master’s ( MFA/MA) programs emphasize the technique of ballet and contemporary dance with equal emphasis on performance and choreography.
FAQs – Colleges with Dance Majors
Chapman university department of dance
USF School of Theatre and Dance
Commercial Dance BFA Program at Pace university
Towson University Department of Dance
CalArts School of Dance
Center for Dance at Ailey School and Fordham university
The contemporary Dance program at Indiana university
Dance Division at the Juilliard school
The Barnard College Department of Dance
Point Park University
UNCSA School of Dance
NYU Tisch school of Arts
Although many schools and universities provide undergraduate and graduate dance programs, formal schooling or an academic degree is only sometimes necessary to become a professional dancer. Sometimes years of dancing training or experience are required before admittance into these programs.
Technically speaking, to succeed as a professional, one needs to be adaptable, quick, and knowledgeable about music and rhythm. They will have an advantage by being able to adjust to various moves and dancing styles if they are a versatile dancer.
Some many colleges and universities offer dance majors in 2023. These 16 colleges are known for their comprehensive dance programs, world-class facilities, and outstanding faculty. Whether pursuing a career as a performer, choreographer, or dance educator, these colleges offer the training and resources you need to succeed in the competitive dance world. From small liberal arts colleges to large state universities, these schools provide diverse dance programs to suit every student’s needs and goals. It’s worth mentioning that, when choosing a school, it’s essential to visit the campus, speak with current students and faculty, and consider factors such as location, cost, and resources offered, as well as the curriculum and the school’s reputation in the dance industry. The right school aligns with your interests, goals, and preferences.
- danceus.org – BEST COLLEGES DANCE PROGRAM USA
- collegefactual.com – MAJOR, VISUALS AND PERFORMING ARTS, DANCE, RANKINGS, AND TOP RANKED.
- ziprecruiter.com – PROFESSIONAL DANCER SALARY
- leverageedu.com – CAREER IN DANCING
- prudential.co – 10 HEALTH BENEFITS OF DANCING