Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts



History

VCU Dance became a BFA program in 1981, moving from the Physical Education Program into the VCU School of the Arts. Compared with many of the nation’s most acclaimed and well-established dance programs which have been developing since the 1950s, VCU Dance has created and refined an exceptional BFA Degree Program in a relatively short amount of time. Over the last fifteen years, VCU Dance has soared into national visibility and recognition with the success of its BFA program and of its students, faculty, and alumni, as well as the celebrity of its guest artist program.

  • The percentage of VCU Dance students from outside of Virginia has grown from 11% in 1996 to nearly 50% in 2013.
  • The application pool has grown, making the program more competitive. In 1996, the program accepted 80% of those who auditioned. In 2013 the department accepted 35% of the dancers who auditioned.
  • VCU Dance maintains a high level of student diversity, with 49.74% of VCU Dance majors self-identified as non-White, and 82.10% female in 2012-2013. Diversity is also demonstrated in our student population with regard to open sexual orientation. Students see VCU Dance as a place where they can come and be themselves.
  • VCU Dance is a fully accredited member of the National Association of Schools of Dance.
  • In 1996, VCU Dance students primarily performed in Richmond. VCU students are now being invited to perform in major dance venues such as the Kennedy Center and Danspace Project at St. Mark’s in New York; VCU Dance alumni are joining major dance companies such as the Urban Bush Women, Shen Wei Dance Arts, Jose Limón Dance Company, Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, Liz Lerman Dance Exchange, Tere O’Connor Dance, Chuck Davis, and Hubbard Street 2.
  • VCU Dance faculty and chair have become leaders in dance in higher education. For example, Dr. James Frazier, Chair 2001-2012, received CODA’s 2006 Alma Hawkins Award for Emerging Excellence in Leadership in Dance in Higher Education. Martha Curtis, Professor and former Chair, is currently serving as President of the Council of Dance Administrators (CODA), an invited forum of executives from the nation’s leading 25 dance programs.

Over the years VCU Dance has had a commitment to bringing breadth and depth to the curriculum. The curriculum now includes extensive education in modern dance and choreography with additional curriculum in ballet, dance history, pedagogy, somatics, African dance, jazz, tap, contact improvisation, video choreography, dance management, kinesiology, and yoga. We also offer weekly workshops in a variety of dance areas not covered in the regular curriculum. Guest artist have included the Kate Weare Company, Stephanie Martinez, Ballet Hispanico, Rick McCullough, Stephen Petronio Company, Stefanie Batten Bland, Heidi Weiss, Daniel Gwirtzman, Miguel Gutierrez, Tania Isaac, Meisha Bosma, Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, Urban Bush Women, Monica Bill Barnes, Robert Battle, Gerri Houlihan, Limón Dance Company, Tere O’Connor, Doug Varone and the Doug Varone Dance Company, The Martha Graham Dance Company, Paul Taylor, Garth Fagan Dance Company, Joe Goode and The Joe Goode Performance Company, David Dorfman and David Dorfman Dance, Ralph Lemon, and Bebe Miller.