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The UW Department of Dance prepares the next generation of performers, educators, arts advocates, and cultural leaders. At its core lies the recognition of art as the confluence of theory, practice, and creativity. With a commitment to respecting the individual, the Department of Dance fosters inquiry and engages the community in open-minded exchange.
The award-winning UW Department of Dance offers a learning environment that promotes creativity, critical thinking, and excellence. We offer a diverse and stimulating educational experience, rooted in the liberal arts, and dedicated to connecting theoretical inquiry to experiential learning. Students considering careers in performance and choreography, education, medicine, arts administration, physical therapy, or a myriad of graduate programs may choose from a variety of options culminating in a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in dance.
The undergraduate curriculum provides rigor and a breadth of experience in courses combining practice and theory. We offer dance classes such as (in alphabetical order) African dance, anatomy, capoeira, composition/creative process, contemporary ballet, dance history, ethnography, improvisation, modern, music for dance, research methods, salsa, somatic practices, street and club dances, swing, tango, and teaching methods. Many of our students double major. Our BA enables students to use a broad range of electives in order to help support particular interests and career goals. Dance majors have the opportunity to graduate with Honors.
Undergraduate alumni are employed at some of Seattle’s most influential local arts organizations such as TeenTix, Pacific Northwest Ballet, On the Boards, and VelocityDance Center. Graduates also work as private studio, public school, and university-level educators, choreographers, and performers with locally and nationally recognized companies and artists, such as Spectrum Dance Theater, Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company, Dani Tirrell, Miguel Gutierrez, and Svi Gotheiner, and as physical and occupational therapists, videographers, photographers, somatic practitioners, physicians and lawyers.
The Department of Dance offers one of the most respected and innovative Master of Fine Arts degree programs in the country, developed to serve professional dancers seeking to transition into higher education positions. MFA candidates receive full financial support during the two-year course of study. In exchange, they teach an array of studio and theory courses to majors, minors, and general education students at the UW. We boast an outstanding job placement record, with alumni in tenure track teaching and upper administration positions at colleges and universities across the nation. Graduate alumni have also garnered prestigious awards as choreographers, performers, company directors, and filmmakers, including the Bessie Award, Fred Astaire Award, the Guggenheim Fellowship, and NEA and National Dance Project grants
- 60 Undergraduate majors
- 75 Undergraduate minors
- 6 Graduate students
- 19 Bachelor of Arts degrees
- 3 Master of Fine Arts degrees
- Mary Gates Leadership Scholars
- Mary Gates Research Scholars
- A&S Dean’s Medalist in the Arts
- Presidential Award
- Irene Dickson McFarlane Endowed Scholarship
- Dallas & Doleshy Endowed Scholarship
- Peeler & Horan Endowed Scholarship
- George and Barbara Akers Endowed Scholarship
Department Student Scholarships
- Evelyn H. Green Endowed Scholarship
- Department of Dance Scholarship
- Mary Aid de Vries Endowed Scholarship
- James Vamenta Fesalbon Endowed Dance Scholarship
- Dance Student Association Scholarship
- Summer Study Scholarship
- 3 Professors
- 2 Associate Professors
- 1 Assistant Professor
- 1 Artist in Residence
- 1 Affiliate Assistant Professor
- 2 Emeritus Professors
- 10-12 Part-Time Lecturers
Recent Department of Dance faculty and staff honors and grants include:
- Bogliasco Foundation Fellowship
- CityArtist Grant by the Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs
- Distinguished Staff Award
- Donald E. Petersen Endowed Professorship (2)
- Erasmus + Erasmus Mundus Grant for Visiting Scholars
- Floyd and Delores Jones Endowed Chair in the Arts
- Floyd and Delores Jones Endowed Professorship in the Arts
- John and Joyce Price Award of Excellence
- Kreielsheimer Research Grant (3) and Travel Grant
- Mellon Foundation Fellow (2)
- NEA Artworks grant for $10,000
- Research Mentorship Award
- Seattle Dance Crush Award (2)
- Simpson Center for the Humanities Conferences and Colloquia Grant
- SmART Ventures Grant, Seattle Office of Arts & Culture
- USArtist Fellowship nomination (for 2020)
The department produces four concerts annually for the campus community and the greater Puget Sound community:
- Chamber Dance Company
Contemporary and historical modern dance works performed by the UW’s resident professional dance company
- UW Dance Presents
Performance and choreography by UW Dance faculty and guest artists
- Dance Majors Concert
Choreography by undergraduate dance majors
- MFA Concert
MFA candidates choreograph on our undergraduate students, often in collaboration with graduate students from other disciplines
Dance Department graduate students and faculty provide pre-performance lectures for Meany Center for the Performing Arts Dance audiences.
The department hosts elementary school students in our classes and provides a venue for them to perform their choreography informally each year.
The bst Residency program provides Seattle artists with free space without the pressure that accompanies commissioned works or performance deadlines.
In collaboration with Velocity Dance Center, the department provides an alum 45 hours of rehearsal space annually for The Bridge Project, which supports emerging artists.
The department hosts numerous guest artists throughout the year and makes this opportunity available to other departments and the Seattle community.
The (Glenn) Kawasaki Guest Artist residency enables selected artists each year to conduct outreach as part of their time in residence.
Faculty are regularly asked to volunteer to curate, moderate for post- performance talks, teach master classes, and sit on boards and committees locally and nationally.
The department provides space for special projects such as a recent On the Boards film project involving local artists, Dani Tirrell and Zoe Scofield.
Faculty choreograph and perform nationally and internationally, and present research at scholarly conferences, including the International Association for Dance Medicine and Science, National Dance Education Organization, and the Dance Studies Association. Recent faculty scholarship includes articles and essays in Dance Research Journal, The Journal of Dance Education, Dance Research, TDR: The Drama Review, Theatre Research International, International Dictionary of Modern Dance, Ballet Review, and in The Oxford Handbook of Dance and Competition, The Oxford Handbook of Dance and Ethnicity, The Routledge Dance Studies Reader, Writing About Dance, Glamour Addiction: Inside the American Ballroom Dance Industry, Experiential Anatomy in Dance Technique (DVD), and Spinning Mambo into Salsa: Caribbean Dance in Global Commerce, as well as the Chamber Dance Company Archive Collection (DVD Documentary Series).
Areas of Scholarship
- African Dance
- Afro-Latinx Dance
- Choreography and Performance
- Community Dance Practice
- Cultural Studies
- Dance Ethnography
- Dance History, Theory and Criticism
- Dance and Writing
- Dance Pedagogy
- Dance Preservation and Reconstruction
- Experiential Anatomy and Biomechanics
- Interdisciplinary and Site-Specific Performance
- Performance Aesthetics
- Social Dance
Fact sheet last updated: December 2020