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B.A. Dance

The B.A. in dance program offers students a solid foundation in the core areas of the discipline, as well as insights into cross-disciplinary fields of study. 

B.A. Dance

B.A. Dance

About the program

Coursework is designed to help students become skillful, articulate and expressive movers, find their own voice as creative artists and develop the ability to work effectively in a collaborative environment.

The curriculum includes foundational coursework in the first two years and coursework in a chosen area of emphasis in the third and fourth years. Foundational sequences in modern dance technique and in the creative process are at the core of the discipline. Through these fundamental practices, students gain not only necessary skills, but also embodied knowledge of the field as they integrate a conceptual understanding of dance in relation to other art forms.

Project-based learning experiences in the third and fourth years are designed to engage students in interdisciplinary and/or cross-cultural work, offering in-depth exploration of a theme from performance, choreographic and theoretical perspectives.

Students select an area of emphasis in performance and choreography, in production or in dance education.


Prospective students

Students in the School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies (TDPS) have opportunities to experiment, explore and experience — challenging themselves to reach beyond traditional boundaries.

Some factors that make our program stand out:

  • Residence in The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center (The Clarice), a multimillion-dollar, dual-purpose, state-of-the-art facility, which also houses the School of Music and Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library
  • Award-winning faculty
  • A diverse student body and opportunities to collaborate within and outside the school
  • The atmosphere of a small college within the setting of a large research university
  • Location in one of the nation's fastest growing arts regions and national epicenter for research

How to Apply: visit UMD Admissions to learn more about applying to the university.


The B.A. dance program embraces the liberal arts character of the University of Maryland and, by choice, we are not a limited enrollment major. There is no audition, portfolio presentation or interview requirement to declare the dance major.

Our faculty

Andrew Cissna

Multimedia Technologist, School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies

1920A The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center
College Park MD, 20742

(301) 405-3196

Sam Crawford

Sound and media technologies in performance, School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies

2820 Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center
College Park MD, 20742

(301) 405-6684

Crystal Davis

Assistant Professor, Dance Performance and Scholarship

1929 The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center
College Park MD, 20742

(301) 405-3198

Adriane Fang

Associate Professor, Dance Performance and Scholarship

1933 The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center
College Park MD, 20742

(301) 405-3195

Marielis Garcia

Artist-in-Residence, School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies

2815 Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center
College Park MD, 20742

(301) 405-6246

Maura Keefe

Associate Professor, Dance Performance and Scholarship
Director of the School, School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies

2811 The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center
College Park MD, 20742

(301) 405-3187

Alvin Mayes

Principal lecturer, Dance Performance and Scholarship
Head of Dance Performance and Scholarship, School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies

1931 The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center
College Park MD, 20742

(301) 405-3194

Sara Pearson

Professor, Dance Performance and Scholarship

1925 The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center
College Park MD, 20742

(301) 405-3652

Kendra Portier

Assistant professor (Maya Brin Endowed Professor in Dance), Dance Performance and Scholarship

1939 The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center
College Park MD, 20742

(301) 405-5883

Patrik Widrig

Professor, Dance Performance and Scholarship

1925 The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center
College Park MD, 20742

(301) 405-3652

The dance faculty is composed of a number of distinguished teachers, choreographers, performers and scholars, each one a specialist in their own field. Visiting artists and scholars make additional contributions to the program. Graduate students in our M.F.A. dance program also work closely with our majors.

How to declare the dance major

What do I need to know before becoming a dance major?

First, take a look at the curriculum requirements for the dance major listed below. Also take a look at the web page for academic planning at the College of Arts and Humanities and, for more general information about undergraduate requirements, fees and registration, see UMD's Undergraduate Catalog.

What’s the first step to declaring a major in dance?

All students must create an academic plan to integrate major requirements with UMD’s general education and ARHU requirements. Transfer students should ask their college advisor if they fall under the dance academic plan for general education.

When can a dance major be declared?

A dance major or double major may be declared in any semester that you are registered at the University of Maryland, but please be advised that adding the major after your freshman year may extend your time to graduation. Students who are not currently registered and are candidates for re-enrollment must contact the Registrar's Office to re-enroll before declaring dance as a major. It is strongly suggested that students be in good academic standing when changing majors or adding a second major.

How do I schedule an advising session to declare dance as a major?

  • An appointment must be made; declaring a major cannot be handled on a walk-in basis. Contact Susan Miller, the coordinator of student services and academic advisor, at

  • Review the web pages listed above, especially the curriculum requirements.

  • At the advising meeting, paperwork will be filled out and signed.

  • Turn in the Academic Plan Degree Requirement Checklist Form to a College of Arts and Humanities advisor. Call (301) 405-2108 to schedule an appointment.

Advising and fourth semester assessment

Schedule an advising appointment.

Dance majors have mandatory advising each semester. In the first semester, the director of undergraduate studies meets with incoming freshmen to establish a four-year plan and with transfer students to review transfer credits and establish a plan to graduation. At the end of the first year, students are assigned an academic advisor who will be their advisor until their final semester. Advisors meet with students each semester to approve their program, to identify students who are on track for the fourth semester assessment process and to help them navigate that process. Advisors also work closely with upper level students to help them select an appropriate area of emphasis and to help them balance the project based learning requirement, their area of emphasis and study abroad.

The fourth semester assessment gives the program a mid-course opportunity for learning outcomes assessment. In preparation for the assessment, students prepare a portfolio, which includes a resume, samples of their writing and a DVD with examples of their work in technique and choreography classes. Each student then schedules a 40-minute time slot on the assessment day to meet with two faculty members. The student is in charge of the first part of the meeting and uses that time to summarize the experiences of the first two years, addressing both successes and challenges. Faculty members then ask questions and offer feedback. Faculty members may also make suggestions about workshops, internships and other ways for the student to pursue a career path that may be suggested by the presentation. 

Dance majors are expected to complete the assessment process during their fourth semester in the program. All transfer students, as well as students who declare dance after their first semester on campus, will be assigned an assessment date when they meet with their dance advisor to develop an academic plan. Students who do not complete the assessment process in their assigned semester will not be permitted to continue in the major. The process is completed  with the submission of a portfolio and participation in a scheduled assessment meeting.

B.A. dance curriculum

Required courses for the B.A. in Dance

  • DANC 218 – “Modern Dance I” (3 credits) 

  • DANC 219 – “Modern Dance II” (3 credits)

  • DANC 318 – “Modern Dance III” (3 credits)

  • DANC 319 – “Modern Dance IV” (3 credits)

  • DANC 179 – “Movement Integration” (2 credits)

  • 4 credits of Dance Styles selected from:

    • DANC 138 – “Global Dance Forms” (currently 138W and 138C) (2 credits)

    • DANC 228 – “Ballet I” (2 credits)

    • DANC 229 – “Ballet II” (2 credits)

    • DANC 328 – “Ballet III” (2 credits)

    • DANC 329 – “Ballet IV” (2 credits)

  • DANC 109 – “Choreography I: Improvisation” (3 credits)

  • DANC 207 – “Choreography II: Creative Process” (3 credits)

  • TDPS 201 – “Introduction to Technical Production” (3 credits)

  • DANC 383 – “Dance History & Theory” (3 credits)

  • DANC 304 – “Teaching Dance” (3 credits)

  • TDPS 479 – “Production/Shop Practicums” (1 credit)

  • DANC 488 – “Project Based Learning” (3 credits)

Students must also complete 12 credits of upper level course work in an area of emphasis in performance and choreography, production or dance education. See area of emphasis below for approved courses.

Performance and Choreography Area of Emphasis (12 credits)

Students in the performance and choreography area are expected to enroll in a technique class each semester and to be actively engaged in experiences that transition them from the classroom to the stage. Opportunities for engagement include auditioning for student, faculty and guest artist works, showing works-in-progress at monthly open showings and auditioning works for performances. 


  • TDPS 479 – “Production/Shop Practicum” (required; 1 credit, in addition to the 1 credit required of all majors)

  • DANC309 - Choreography III: Dance Composition (3 credits)

  • DANC468 - Modern Repertory  (3 credits)

An additional 5 credits selected from:

  • DANC 448 – “Modern Dance V” (a maximum of a total of 6 credits of Dance 448 and 449 will count toward the 12 credit area requirement)

  • DANC 449 – “Modern Dance VI” (a maximum of a total of 6 credits of Dance 448 and 449 will count toward the 12 credit area requirement)

  • DANC 420 – “Contemporary Partnering” (2 credits)

  • DANC 466 – “Laban Movement Analysis” (3 credits)

  • DANC 371 – “Somatics” (3 credits)

  • DANC 399 – “Practicum in Choreography, Production and Performance III” (1-3 credits)

  • DANC 499 – “Practicum in Choreography, Production and Performance IV” (1-3 credits)

  • DANC 489 – “Special Topics in Dance” (includes all suffixes – 489F, etc.)

  • Additional courses approved by the program

Production Area of Emphasis (12 credits)

  • THET 479 (required; 3 credits, in addition to the 1 credit required of all majors)  

An additional 9 credits selected from:

  • DANC 310 – “Dance Lighting” (3 credits) 

  • DANC 410 – “Topics in Dance Production” (3 credits)

  • DANC 468 – “Dance Repertory” (3 credits)

  • THET 116 – “Fundamentals of Theatrical Design” (3 credits)

  • THET 284 – “Costume Construction I” (3 credits)

  • THET 371 – “Scenic Design I” (3 credits)

  • THET 383 – “Costume Design I” (3 credits)

  • THET 377 – “Lighting Design I” (3 credits)

  • THET 373 – “Rendering for the Theatre I”

  • THET 472 – “Scenic Painting”

  • THET 474 – “Advanced Stage Management”

Note: THET 284, 371, 383, 377, 373, 472, and 474 are permission-required courses.

Education Area of Emphasis (12 credits)

  • TDPS 479 – “Production/Shop Practicum” (1 credit)

  • DANC 405 – “Dance Education and Policy” (3 credits)

  • DANC 371 – “Somatics” (3 credits)

  • DANCE 338 – “Global Movement Practices” (2 credits)

  • DANC 466 – “Laban Movement Analysis” (3 credits)

A grade of C- or higher must be attained in all courses taken in fulfillment of the dance major requirement. Students matriculating into the dance major must earn a cumulative GPA of 2.0 within their dance major requirements in order to graduate. Completion of the fourth semester assessment is a benchmark and a requirement in the curriculum. Dance course offerings are listed in the University of Maryland’s Undergraduate Catalog.

Performance opportunities

There are performance and choreographic opportunities for all dance students, ranging from informal workshops to fully mounted concerts both on and off campus. Dance majors also have many opportunities to participate in master classes and workshops with visiting artists, sponsored by the School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies and the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center.

Scholarships and Awards

Creative and Performing Arts Scholarships (CAPA)

A small number of Creative and Performing Arts Scholarships (equivalent to in-state tuition) are awarded each year for gifted and talented freshman/transfer dance majors. Applicants must be enrolling for the first time on this campus. Auditions are held each winter for the following academic year.

Audition Date: Friday, December 18, 2020, 11:00AM

Applications Due: Wednesday, December 4, 2020 for Fall 2021 Applicants

Interviews will be virtual.

CAPA awards may also, on occasion, be made to students currently in the program.

*Please note that an audition is not required to declare dance as your major and your participation in the audition does not guarantee admission to the University of Maryland. The UMD Admissions Office will contact students with official admission decisions by the dates indicated on the admissions website.*

For more information about the audition and the online application, visit this page.

TDPS Scholarship Award Funds

When financial circumstances allow, the School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies provides additional scholarships and other educational opportunities for current dance and theatre students. These are merit-based awards granted to dedicated majors based on the strength of their application.

Study abroad and campus programs

Study abroad can be a uniquely transforming experience for undergraduate students. For more information, see UMD’s Education Abroad website.

Opportunities at the University of Maryland:

Student organizations

Get involved! There are many dance-related student organizations on campus. Visit our student organizations page for more information.


What is an overview of your curriculum?

See above for a list of degree requirements and a sample academic plan for the B.A. in dance.

Is an audition required to declare the dance major?

No, we do not require an audition to declare the dance major. We do require auditions/interviews for theatre performance classes, upper level dance technique classes, Main Stage productions and the Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA) award.

Can I double major?

Yes! Many of our students choose to double major. Students are welcome to double major in any other major offered at UMD. Popular double majors include communication, kinesiology, computer science, english, biological sciences, government and politics, business, psychology, etc.

Do you have a dance or theatre minor?

We do not offer a minor in dance or theatre.

Are there opportunities to be involved in dance or theatre without declaring the major?

Yes! All UMD students are welcome to audition for TDPS productions, get involved with student groups and take some TDPS classes.

Contact/visit us: Theatre and dance prospective student meetings and tours

On-Campus Appointments

Tours of the School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies and the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center are offered most weekdays, Monday through Friday at 10 a.m., by appointment. Please note: Prospective student tours will not be available during the first two weeks of the fall semester.

To schedule a prospective student visit, please contact undergraduate academic advisor Susan Miller at Please include the prospective student’s full name, email address, phone number, date(s) of interest and interest in B.A. in theatre or B.A. in dance. It is best to schedule a visit at least one week in advance.

Interested in visiting the School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies? Discover TDPS Day is held each year over Columbus Day weekend. Observe our classes and rehearsals, tour our beautiful spaces at The Clarice and ask our current students your questions about life as a theatre or dance major at a panel discussion.

"My Maryland Information Sessions" for prospective undergraduates and "Terrapin Tours" of the UMD campus are offered most weekdays through the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. For details, call 1-800-422-5867 or consult the Visiting UMD webpage.

Visits to Local High Schools

If you are a high school dance director in the Maryland, D.C. or Northern Virginia area, you may request a visit to your school by contacting undergraduate academic advisor Susan Miller at

The University of Maryland can be reached by air (Washington Dulles, Baltimore Washington International and Reagan Washington National), train (Metrorail, MARC and Amtrak) and automobile. Once in the Washington area, College Park is easily accessible by Metro and Shuttle-UM will take you to the campus. For driving directions to the campus call (301) 314-MAPS. Visits to the campus can also be arranged through the Visitor's Center.