VCU Bulletins

Dance and Choreography, Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.)

Special requirements

An audition is required for acceptance into the dance program. Applicants must follow the admissions guidelines for arts students as described in the “Admission to the university” section of the bulletin.

To be eligible for graduation, dance majors must meet the proficiency requirements of having completed two semesters of level IV technique (DANC 401-402) or achieved an equivalent through departmentally approved summer study. In order to graduate, students must also complete a senior project, which is a practical presentation in both performance and choreography. Senior projects are approved in multiple stages by a review committee composed of full-time faculty members. Eligibility is based on the student’s overall academic record (credits earned, requirements met). Approval in stage one is based on the quality of the student’s written proposal; in stage two it is based upon evaluation/review of the student’s completed project proposed for presentation.

The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance and Choreography requires a total of 120 credits, with 90 of those credits as the major core curriculum. Alongside courses outside of the department, dance-focused academics and creative process-oriented classes (i.e. composition and choreography), dance majors are typically required to take two technique classes daily throughout the majority of their studies. The continuous study of modern dance and ballet is a strong component of the curriculum. In addition to modern dance and ballet, elective courses in jazz, tap, hip hop, improvisation, ballroom and other special topics courses are offered, rounding out a curriculum that also involves studies in kinesiology and anatomy, dance history, music, etc. Within the core there are opportunities for repertory experience and for independent study.

The dance major program is rigorous. Students’ technique placement within the required major courses is determined through departmental assessment and placement processes. Formal evaluation procedures include a placement class for entering students, juried examinations at the end of the first semester of the freshman and sophomore years and every semester of the junior and senior years. In the second semester of the freshman and sophomore years the jury is folded into a comprehensive career evaluation called the Freshmen Review and the Sophomore Readmittance Exam, respectively. These career evaluations are to assess each student’s progress in relationship to the standards of the program and progress toward degree completion. Students in the major program may be notified of probationary status after the Freshmen Review. All majors must pass the Sophomore Readmittance Exam in order to continue in the major. This exam stands on its own as a separate evaluation from course grades.

The VCU dance program provides abundant opportunities for students to interact with faculty and guest artists in academic, professional, creative and performance contexts. Within the School of the Arts, dance students have frequent opportunities to work collaboratively with other students in the arts. Possibilities include the visual arts, participation in multimedia events and productions outside the dance department. Any dance major can perform in numerous formal concerts, informal showings and lecture-demonstrations produced by the department. Opportunities also are available for training in teaching, but students interested in earning state certification should consult their advisers.

Degree requirements for Dance and Choreography, Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.)

Learning outcomes

Upon completing this program, students will know and know how to do the following:

  • Students should achieve proficiency in improvisation, composition, choreography and related art forms that encourage creativity and an individual point of view.
  • Students should become proficient in modern dance and a diverse range of other dance techniques. The objective is to maximize students’ potential to become versatile dancers of technical excellence.
  • Students need to experience a range of opportunities for performing, presenting original choreography and working behind the scenes in a professionally oriented production or a season of dance events presented to the public.
  • Students should gain a global and historical perspective of dance as an art form with an emphasis on contemporary approaches to dance making and performance.
  • Students need to develop writing and critical-thinking skills.
General Education requirements Credits
University Core Education Curriculum (minimum 21 credits)
UNIV 111 Focused Inquiry I 3
UNIV 112 Focused Inquiry II 3
UNIV 200 Inquiry and the Craft of Argument 3
Approved humanities/fine arts 3
Approved natural/physical sciences 3-4
Approved quantitative literacy 3-4
Approved social/behavioral sciences 3-4
Additional General Education requirement (9 credits)  
DANC 103 Survey of Dance History (ballet) 3
DANC 104 Survey of Dance History (modern dance) 3
DANC 313 Dance in World Cultures or DANC 413 African American Presence in American Dance 3
Major requirements (81 credits)  
DANC 101-102 Modern Dance Technique I and Workshop 6
DANC 105 Improvisation 2
DANC 107 Music and Dance Forms 2
DANC 111-112 Ballet Technique I 4
DANC 162 Rehearsal and Performance 2
DANC 201-202 Modern Dance Technique II and Workshop 6
DANC 205-206 Composition 6
DANC 207 Studies in Music for Dance 3
DANC 211-212 Ballet Technique II 4
DANC 260 Dance Production Workshop 2
DANC 301-302 Modern Dance Technique III and Workshop 6
DANC 303-304 Choreography/Performance 6
DANC 311-312 Ballet Technique III 4
DANC 317 Anatomy for the Dancer 1
DANC 318 Dance Science 3
DANC 401-402 Modern Dance Technique IV and Workshop 6
DANC 407 Teaching Methods for Dance 3
DANC 411 Ballet Technique IV 2
DANC 490 Senior Project (capstone) 3
DANZ 111 Ballet Technique I Laboratory 1
DANZ 112 Ballet Technique I Laboratory 1
DANZ 211 Ballet Technique II Laboratory 1
DANZ 212 Ballet Technique II Laboratory 1
Technique elective (see list below) 3
Dance career elective (see list below) 3
Open electives (9 credits) 9
Total 120


Technique electives:
DANC/AFAM 121, 122 Tap Technique I
DANC 126-127 African-Caribbean Dance
DANC 141, 142 Ballroom Dancing
DANC 251 Jazz Technique II
DANC 255, 256 Hip Hop Dance
DANC 315 Contact Improvisation
Approved topics courses (such as Pilates and yoga)

Dance career electives:
DANC 319, 320 Video/Choreography Workshop
DANC 360 Lighting Design for Dance
Approved topics courses such as dance management

Click here to download a sample outline. [PDF]



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