Modern Dance Discipline

The Department of Modern Dance at the University of Utah has a long, distinguished history of excellence that unites the world of academia with the world of professional dance. Ranked as one of the top programs in the country, our alumni have gone on to work internationally and nationally as dancers, choreographers, artistic directors, teachers, videographers and administrators.

We are committed to creating an educational community in its finest form: one which invites diversity, embraces ambiguity, welcomes creative conflict, practices honesty, honors risk and experiences humility. Both our Bachelor and Master Degree programs offer a rigorous, in-depth inquiry into dance as a physical, aesthetic, intellectual and cultural practice.

Our Students

Many alumni are working with international, national and regional dance companies as dancers, choreographers, and artistic directors. Others are teachers and administrators in high schools, universities and professional studios.

Students from the University of Utah Department of Modern Dance have been chosen to appear on many of the American College Dance Festival’s National Gala Concerts. The department’s performers and choreographers are also consistently recognized for excellence at the regional festivals and have performed in Hong Kong, France, Panama, Berlin (Germany) and New York City.

This recognition is the result of an experienced, dedicated faculty, with standards of professional excellence, nurturing and challenging talented students through a rigorous and demanding program of study. In addition to daily technique classes and an extensive composition program, students receive training in dance kinesiology, dance history, philosophy, criticism, theater and video production, music for dance, teaching skills, dance repertory and improvisation. The undergraduate program leads to a BFA degree and an MFA degree is offered at the graduate level.

Performances & Presentations

An average of five fully produced performances and numerous informal presentations each year give dance majors substantial performance and choreographic opportunities. A variety of renowned guest artists are regularly invited to teach and choreograph for our dance majors. In addition, students and faculty are encouraged to collaborate with artists in other departments providing a rich creative environment. The department’s Performing Dance Company provides a taste of the professional dance world within the university setting. Members are selected by audition twice a year and participate in a touring program that has taken them across the United States, to Britain, to Asia, and to Australia.

Dancers from all parts of the nation and from many foreign countries are drawn by the faculty’s philosophic commitment to the development of kinesthetic awareness, theoretical understanding, creative ability and aesthetic sensitivity in addition to technical accomplishment. It is the faculty’s conviction that such training not only prepares students to be vital and exciting artists but also creative human beings committed to the enrichment of society.

Why Utah?

The University of Utah is situated in the foothills of the Wasatch Mountains overlooking Salt Lake City, providing easy access to spectacular outdoor environments to explore and exceptional recreation activities to enjoy including hiking, skiing, snowboarding, rock climbing and camping.

  • The University has approximately 31,000 enrolled students.
  • The Department of Modern dance includes 100 undergraduate majors and 15-25 graduate students.
  • The Department is housed in the beautiful Marriott Center for Dance, which features six large studios (one of which may be converted into a black box theater), classrooms, Pilates facility, and a 330-seat theater used for student and faculty productions including the Department’s Performing Dance Company.
  • The Department of Modern Dance shares the building, theater and production staff with the Department of Ballet.Residing within the College of Fine Arts, the Department maintains close associations with the Departments of Music, Theater, Visual Arts, Film Studies and Ballet.
  • Salt Lake City has a vibrant professional dance community including: two major contemporary companies—Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company and Repertory Dance Theatre; Ballet West, and numerous smaller groups, independent choreographers and teachers, offering students and professional dancers opportunities to engage in a wide variety of practices including somatics, aerial work and contact improvisation.
  • The University of Utah is a member of PAC-12.
  • The Modern Dance Program is consistently ranked as one of the top in the country.
  • The University of Utah is a Research One institution ranked in the top 100 universities worldwideInternational student touring – Panama, Germany, France, Hong Kong, Australia.
  • Host of the Bi-annual International Dance for the Camera Festival and Workshop and the only official MFA certificate and emphasis in Screendance in the United States.
  • Frequent host of the American College Dance Festival Association Conference.
  • Host of the annual SaltDanceFest, one of the only dance festivals in the US devoted to the creative process. Students throughout the US travel to SaltDanceFest to study the choreographic methods and create new work with nationally and internationally renowned guest artists.
  • Regular in-Department performing opportunities including Performing Dance Company.
  • Host of the Integrated Movement Studies Certification Program (Laban/Bartenieff Studies) with Peggy Hackney and Janice Meaden.

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