The BFA program in the University of Utah Department of Modern Dance integrates the rigors of intellectual exploration, technical discipline, and creative investigation in order to prepare dancers for the opportunities and challenges of the profession. The undergraduate curriculum is the foundation of the department upon which the graduate program rests. The department is a contemporary dance community which is distinguished by its sense of excellence, professionalism, humanism, and a proud commitment to a lively spirit of creative inquiry. Diversity is welcomed, respected and encouraged; creative and intellectual integrity is required; professional discipline is expected. The quality of faculty instruction, the rigors of the curriculum, the facilities available to the students, and the national/international reputation of the program all contribute to the high standards set by the department. As is noted in Dance Teacher Now, November 1997, the Department’s undergraduate program is ranked third nationally and the graduate program is ranked first.
Coursework is designed to prepare dancers for a professional career in performance, choreography, and teaching. The BFA is a four-year degree program requiring completion of 79 semester credit hours of approved course work in the dance major, in addition to University general education requirements. A teaching major in dance with secondary school certification is also available.
All incoming undergraduate students (including both incoming freshman and transfer students) must audition for admission into the Department of Modern Dance as well as comply with regular University admission procedures. Incoming students must be aware that the faculty of the Department of Modern Dance presumes that majors have professional aspirations and the physical stamina, coordination and appetite to successfully meet the rigors of the majors program.
Students are evaluated each semester with regard to:
1. Technical facility
2. Choreographic ability
3. Academic performance
4. Motivation and commitment
The mission of our BFA Program is to promote the growth and development of students as dance artists, critical inquirers, and community members. The students’ technical training and creative investigation are aligned with coursework in the theoretical, pedagogical, and scientific parameters of the art form. Through the breadth and depth of the curriculum, the students develop competencies in artistic expression, somatic literacy, critical thinking, empirical knowledge, self-esteem, collaboration, and problem solving
Undergraduate Coursework Overview
Beginning in the fall semester of the freshman year, the BFA Program focuses on the students’ technical, creative, and theoretical development. This integrated development is achieved through the sequential progression of the entire undergraduate curriculum. In the beginning level studio work (workshop and technique courses), emphasis is placed on the acquisition of basic locomotor skills, movement sequencing, problem solving techniques, and improvisational abilities. During the freshman year, students are also introduced to body conditioning, somatic training, musical theory, and cultural dance forms. The intermediate level studio work focuses even more specifically on dance technique and conditioning, on individual/group performance, and on abstraction and thematic development in choreography. In the kinesiology courses, sophomore students pursue an in-depth scientific understanding of the mechanics and workings of the human body along with a clear and detailed understanding of the prevention and care of dance injuries. In the advanced level studio work, students continue to work on technique but focus more intensively on the creative process. During this time, students are more deeply involved in the production of their creative and/or scholarly research.
During their junior and senior years, students expand their critical thinking abilities by investigating dance within a contextual framework that incorporates history and cultural practice, philosophy, aesthetics, and musical theories. During this same time, students are given pedagogical experiences in the elementary and secondary public schools through the teaching methods courses (Children’s Dance and Secondary Teaching Methods). Our pedagogy supports the very basis of the BFA Program– improvisation, choreography, and performance with theoretical, pedagogical, and scientific support. Because of this integrated curriculum, the students experience and utilize interactive, relational, and process-oriented pedagogy. The program is both teacher-directed and student-centered.
Upon graduation from our undergraduate program, our students are fully prepared for the demands and expectations of the dance profession as future performers,choreographers, teachers, scholars, dance artists, and dance advocates.
Course Description & Requirements (University Catalog Links)
- Modern Dance, BFA
- Modern Dance, HBFA – Honors
- Modern Dance Teaching, BFA
- Modern Dance Teaching, HBFA – Honors
- Modern Dance Minor