VCU Dance offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance and Choreography. The degree 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 partnering, jazz, tap, hip hop, African, contact improvisation, ballroom and other special topics courses are offered, rounding out a curriculum that also involves studies in anatomy and dance science, dance history, music, etc. Within the core there are opportunities for repertory experience and for independent study. VCU Dance is an accredited member of the National Association of Schools of Dance.
All students must satisfactorily complete the required courses in the technique/performance track, choreography track, theoretical studies and general education to graduate with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance and Choreography. Specific course descriptions can be found in the Undergraduate Bulletin.
Primary components include disciplined training and concentration in the medium of modern dance and a diverse range of technical training and performance opportunities. Within the technique track, students must acquire technical information and integrate it into performance. The primary concern in the study of technique is enhancement of student performance capacities – qualitatively, expressively and kinesthetically. Classes include modern, ballet, partnering, tap, jazz, African, ballroom, yoga and Pilates.
A wide range of performance courses and opportunities are presented to students beginning at the freshman level. All incoming students learn the basics of rehearsing and performing with a professional choreographer, and students may audition for repertory and guest artist works. Rehearsing with student and faculty choreographers on new works during the academic year provides flexible opportunities for credit and often results in performance opportunities. Solo and group works are creatively explored during the composition and choreography course sequence. Studies at VCU Dance culminate in the senior project in which students have the opportunity to choreograph, present work and perform.
Students have an opportunity to develop their choreographic potential in seven semesters of creative track work. From improvisation to the senior project, students are exposed to sources, elements and processes from which they develop their own creative voice. Both traditional and experimental processes are explored, including but not limited to: improvisation, structural forms inspired by sound, visual arts, text, kinesthetic awareness, chance forms, non-traditional spaces and music compositions. The Department of Dance and Choreography considers the creative track a highly evolved component of the B.F.A. degree.
Creative Track courses build on each other and must be taken in the following order:
Dance practice and theory are interwoven in interesting and exciting ways throughout the VCU Dance curriculum. Students physically learn examples of non-Western dance forms while studying the history and context in courses such as Dance in World Cultures and African American Presence in American Dance. Students learn about trends in dance by viewing and discussing videos in Dance Workshop and Dance History. Theories of teaching are introduced, discussed and practiced through Teaching Methods for Dance.
VCU is a large state university with three campuses: the Monroe Park (academic) campus, the Medical campus, and VCUQatar. Dance students have a profound range of academic opportunities. One of the goals of our advising program is to design each student’s curricular program with individual interests and career goals in mind. Students are able to select minors in other disciplines or choose from a variety of courses in subjects of interest.