About the Program

Psychosis by Elijah Gibson Photo credit: Natalie FiolBroad Curriculum

Our program is dedicated to dance techniques, choreography, and performance. The required coursework in dance history, theory, kinesiology and anatomy, mind-body practices, music theory, production, and teaching are designed to provide a comprehensive view of the field. Not simply a studio-based practice, our program encourages you to dance, watch, write, create, travel, discuss, and perform. The culminating experience of the BFA program is a self-produced collaborative concert.

Technical Training

A minimum of seven technique classes per week is a requirement throughout your college career, and some students take two classes per day. Your foundation will be in contemporary modern dance and ballet with opportunities to learn forms such as jazz, hip hop, and capoeira. Study in mind-body practices including the Alexander Technique, the Feldenkrais Method, Pilates, and yoga will enhance your technical skills and develop your versatility.

Creative Process

At Dance at Illinois, our studios are laboratories for discovery where we encourage student-empowered learning, rigorous inquiry, and an entrepreneurial spirit. With our 7:1 student-faculty ratio, we offer one-on-one mentoring from faculty members and guest artists to help students progress as dance makers. Improvisation and choreographic process classes lead to a culminating senior thesis project. In addition to having ample performances and chances to present original choreography at our Studiodance II concerts, our students engage in interdisciplinary work with collaborators in fields such as music, theatre, architecture, the visual arts, and engineering.

Mission

The mission of the BFA degree program in Dance is to provide students with a range of skills necessary to excel in a broad variety of contexts as professional performers, choreographers and teachers. The curriculum aims to expand student awareness through a diversity of perspectives, supporting their continued growth and equipping them to contribute to the ongoing innovation of the art form.  

Objectives

The overall objective of the BFA program in dance is for students to take agency in their learning, as evidenced by their ability to attain maturity in their physical training, to conduct rigorous academic and creative inquiry with thoughtful reflection, and to synthesize the resulting information in order to situate themselves in the larger context of the dance world.

Upon graduation the BFA student will be able to:

  • Dance with substantial physicality, exhibiting technical and performance skill, musicality, and creativity.
  • Utilize knowledge of anatomical and somatic approaches in theory and practice.
  • Locate a creative process, conduct choreographic inquiries, and produce a well-conceived dance work for a performance event.
  • Teach a well-structured movement class with an understanding of pedagogical principles.
  • Employ diverse modes of thinking, both verbally and in writing, to communicate ideas relating to dance.
  • Understand basic technology and its application to dance making, teaching, research, and public relations.
"I feel so lucky to have received the training both physically and mentally from this department. The department opened my eyes to a whole new world of dance. The faculty pushed me to understand myself as a dancer and as an individual. Upon graduation I had goals, self-discipline, and drive, and I knew what I wanted to do with my life. But also, I was given the ability to be open to any possibility."

—Stephanie Azzaretto (BFA 2010), dancer with Piel Morena Contemporary Dance