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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 Program fosters inquiry and engages the community in open-minded exchange.
Students entering the award-winning UW Department of Dance discover a learning community where artists/scholars thrive in an environment that promotes access, inclusion 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, dance education, dance related fields such as arts administration and physical therapy, or those interested in pursuing graduate studies in dance 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), anatomy, African, 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 recent BA revision 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 Pacific Northwest Ballet, On the Boards, and Velocity Dance Center. Graduates also work as private studio and public school instructors, choreographers, and performers with nationally recognized companies, as well as physical and occupational therapists and somatic practitioners.
The Dance Department 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, including Dance 100, a course that has set the bar for transformative online instruction. 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
- 16 Bachelor of Arts degrees
- 3 Master of Fine Arts degrees
*July 2017 - June 2018
- Mary Gates Leadership Scholars
- Mary Gates Research Scholars
- A&S Dean’s Medalist in the Arts
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
- 2 Professors
- 1 Associate Professor
- 1 Assistant Professor
- 1 Acting Assistant Professor
- 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
- John and Joyce Price Award of Excellence
- Kreielsheimer Research Grant (3) and Travel Grant
- 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 provide 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 with 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 Tirrel 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, Theatre Research International, International Dictionary of Modern Dance, Ballet Review, and in the books I See America Dancing, The Routledge Dance Studies Reader 2nd ed., Writing About Dance, Glamour Addiction: Inside the American Ballroom Dance Industry, Experiential Anatomy in Dance Technique (DVD), Spinning Mambo into Salsa: Caribbean Dance in Global Commerce, and the Chamber Dance Company Archive Collection (DVD Documentary Series).
Areas of Scholarship
- Experiential Anatomy and Biomechanics
- Community Dance Practice
- Dance Pedagogy
- Ballroom and Latin Dance
- Choreography and Performance
- Interdisciplinary and Site Specific Performance
- Cultural Studies
- Dance History, Theory and Criticism
- Dance Ethnography
- Dance Preservation and Reconstruction
- Performance Aesthetics
- Dance and Writing
Fact sheet last updated: February 2019