University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee

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Dance Degrees & Admission
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Dance BFA


Performance & Choreography/Contemporary Track

The Performance & Choreography/Contemporary track in the Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Dance prepares students to perform and create original dance choreography for theatrical productions. Dance BFA students complete a rigorous technical and creative curriculum designed to develop the student's individual artistic voice. Contemporary Track majors additionally study body/mind sciences, dance pedagogy, historical and cultural contexts for dance and the interactive collaboration skills necessary to bring dance to the theatre with a high degree of excellence.

Dance Undergraduate Student Handbook

BFA Admission

Please see Dance Admissions page for the Entrance Audition information. Once accepted, students may enter the program during either fall or spring semesters, but are strongly encouraged to enter in the fall term to progress more smoothly through the BA or BFA curricular sequence. 

Each undergraduate dance major's coursework will be reviewed at the end of their sophomore year to determine continuance in the major, as part of the Mid-Program Portfolio Review. Students must maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.0 in the dance major. 

All students are expected to demonstrate a strong commitment to their health and overall conditioning in order to fulfill the department's academic requirements. Each student's ability to undertake the demands of the dance program, including his/her overall physical ability to perform in classes, auditions, rehearsals, and/or performances will be a factor in the following: grading at the end of each semester; the audition/rehearsal/performance process for departmental productions and outreach events; the Mid-Program Portfolio Review assessment; determining 'probation' status; and potentially removing a student from the program. 

Dance BA and BFA students are required to have a laptop computer after they have passed the Mid-Program Portfolio Review. The hardware and software must meet or exceed the current departmental requirements, as stated on the website (arts.uwm.edu/dance). Students are strongly encouraged to have laptops when they enter the program.

BFA Degree Requirements

Completion of 130 credits, fulfilling the following curriculum requirements: 

  • General University Core Curriculum, 45 cr. (includes Music 101 as part of PSOA credits)
  • Required Dance Courses, 85 cr. (includes Dance Foundations credits)

Students must maintain a level of personal fitness necessary to participate fully in their classes and performances.

View University Course Requirements for the BFA Degree in Dance/

BFA Curriculum

Contemporary Track: Curriculum & Course of Study  

For students entering Fall 2010: 

BFA PERFORMANCE & CHOREOGRAPHY/CONTEMPORARY TRACK DANCE CURRICULUM 

Dance Technique Courses

Modern Dance Technique: minimum of 6 semesters, 16 credits Chosen from Dance 113, 114, 213, 214, 317, 318 - 2 or 3 credits each (100-200 level technique classes taken for 3 credits; 300 level for 2 credits) 

Ballet: minimum of 6 semesters, 16 credits Chosen from Dance 111, 112, 211, 212, 311, 312 - 2 or 3 credits each (100-200 level technique classes taken for 3 credits; 300 level for 2 credits) 

Complementary Dance Technique: 4 credits (African, Jazz, Tap, Musical Thr) Chosen from Dance 115, 116, 117, 122, 123, 217, 327, 427 - 2 credits each
One Jazz or African technique class is required during sophomore year 

Somatic and Conditioning Practices: 6 credits (Yoga, Pilates, Body Sense, Alexander Tech.) Chosen from Dance 103, 220, 321, 323, 403, 421, 623 - 2 or 3 credits each 

Total Technique Credits: 42 credits

Dance Creative Courses

Dance 135 Introduction to Dancemaking Skills 3
Dance 233 Improvisation for Dancemaking 3
Dance 231 Music and Dancers  
  OR 3
Dance 331 African Percussion Ensemble  
Dance 352 Digital Media Portfolio for Dancers 1
Dance 412 Dance Composition I 3
Dance 413 Dance Composition II 3
Dance 414 Dance Composition III or equivalent 3
Dance 490* Repertoire & Ensemble 3
Total Creative Credits 22

Dance Academic Courses

Dance 110 Introduction to the Art of Dance 3
Dance 192 Dance Freshman Seminar 0
Dance 209 Dance Production 2
Dance 250 Dance Sophomore Seminar 0
Dance 251 Laban Movement Analysis 3
Dance 261 Dance Junior Seminar 0
Dance 309 Dance Production Practicum 1
Dance 313 History of Dance in the African Diaspora 3
Dance 314 Contemporary Dance History 3
Dance 350 Dance Senior Seminar 0
Dance 361 Dance in Elementary Education  
  Or 3
Dance 362 Dance in Secondary Education  
Dance 371 Applied Anatomy 3
Dance 441 History of African Dance Theory I 3
Dance 541 History of African Dance Theory II (subtitle) 3
Dance 601 Senior Project 3
Total Academic Credits 30

* Students participating in department productions must be enrolled in one ballet, modern or Africa & the Diaspora technique class per department performance criteria.

Course of Study:

Freshman Year (includes Foundations Curriculum)

Fall Semester    
Dance 111 Ballet I 3
Dance 113 Modern Dance Technique I 3
Dance 135 Intro to Dancemaking Skills 3
Dance 192 Dance Freshman Seminar 0
Dance 209 Dance Production 2
University Core   6
     
Spring Semester    
Dance 110 Introduction to the Art of Dance 3
Dance 112 Ballet II 3
Dance 114 Modern Dance Technique II 3
Dance 233 Improvisation 3
Dance 309 Dance Production Practicum 1
University Core   3
Total Freshman Year 33

Sophomore Year

Fall Semester    
Dance 103, 321, Intro to Iyengar Yoga, Alexander Tech, or 2
323 Body Cond: Pilates  
Dance 122, 115 African Dance & Diaspora Tech I, or Jazz 2
  Dance I  
Dance 211 Ballet III 3
Dance 250 Dance Sophomore Seminar 0
Dance 412 Dance Composition I 3
Music 101 Fundamentals of Music (PSOA GER req.) 3
University Core   3
     
Spring Semester    
Dance 213 Modern Dance Technique III 3
Dance 231 Music and Dancers 3
Dance 371 Applied Anatomy 3
Dance 490** Repertoire and Ensemble 1
University Core   3
Total Sophomore Year 29

Junior Year

Fall Semester    
Dance 103, 321, Intro to Iyengar Yoga, Alexander Tech, 2
323 Body Cond: Pilates  
Dance 212 Ballet IV 3
Dance 214 Modern Dance Technique IV 3
Dance 251 Laban Movement Analysis 3
Dance 261 Dance Junior Seminar 0
Dance 352 Digital Media Portfolio for Dancers 1
Dance 413 Dance Composition II 3
Dance 490 Repertoire and Ensemble 1
University Core   3
     
Spring Semester    
Dance 311 Ballet V 2
Dance 317 Modern Dance Technique V 2
Dance 314 Contemporary Dance History 3
Dance 414 Dance Composition III 3
University Core   6
Total Junior Year 35

Senior Year

Fall Semester    
Dance 103, 403, Intro to Iyengar Yoga, Int Yoga, 2
323, 623, or 421 Body Cond: Pilates, or Alexander  
  Technique Practicum  
Dance 312 Ballet VI 2
Dance 350 Dance Senior Seminar 0
Dance 361 Dance in Elementary Education  
  OR 3
Dance 362 Dance in Secondary Education  
University Core   9
     
Spring Semester    
Dance 115, 116, Jazz Dance I or II, African Dance & 2
117, 122, 123, Diaspora Tech I or II, Tap I or II, or Dance  
217, 327 or 427 for Musical Theatre I or II  
Dance 318 Modern Dance Technique VI 2
Dance 490 Repertoire and Ensemble 1
Dance 601 Senior Project 3
University Core   9
Total Senior Year 33

** Per departmental policy, any time a student is cast in a faculty or guest artist work, he/she must enroll in Dance 490 for a minimum of 0 or 1 credit during the appropriate semester.

TOTAL REQUIRED DANCE CREDITS: 85
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BFA Degree Opportunities

Performance Opportunities

The Dance Department presents four concerts each year: Winterdances and Summerdances, which showcase the work of faculty and guest artists, performed by students; and New Dancemakers and Dancemakers, which feature choreography by undergraduate and graduate students, respectively. Recent guest artists have included Susan Marshall, Ronald K. Brown, Laura Dean, and Daniel Gwirtzman.

Guest Artists

Special workshops and residencies are scheduled throughout the academic year. These events are intended to provide students with opportunities to train with well-known guest artists and emerging choreographers. Included in these residencies are performances, technique and repertory classes which provide opportunities to learn excerpts from both renowned and experimental choreographers’ works. 

More information at: arts.uwm.edu/dance/guestartists

American College Dance Festival Association (ACDFA) 

The Dance Department sends two works annually for adjudication at the regional ACDFA festival. In 2004, "Zoom Out," a piece by Long Zhao featuring student dancers Edwin Olvera and Roberto Olvera was chosen to represent the region at the national festival at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. 

Terpsichorean People 

Our student organization promotes the activities of the Department. Through T-shirt sales, concessions at all performances, and advocacy for resources from the UWM student government, Terpsichorean People enhances the student experience by providing support for production activities, travel opportunities, and guest artist fees.

For More Information

(414) 229-2571
dance-prosp@uwm.edu