Major Description

In our rigorous program focused on contemporary modern dance, our students learn how the body works, research our art form's expansive history, and define their own voices as performers and choreographers. Together we embrace the messiness of creation and explore how our diverse viewpoints can contribute to the evolution of dance.

There are two-degree options, the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance (130 hours, 84 of which are in dance-related courses) and the Bachelor of Arts in Dance (120 hours, 52 of which are in dance-related courses). 


Program focus at the undergraduate level is on the professional preparation of performers, choreographers, and teachers with a breadth of understanding in the discipline. The choreographic and performance emphasis is in contemporary dance; ballet is included as an integral component of training. Classes in yoga, jazz, tap, and international dance forms are offered in the major curriculum. The field of dance science is addressed through courses in movement fundamentals, Laban movement analysis, dance kinesiology, and the Alexander Technique.

The performance component of the department is housed in the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, utilizing the exceptional performing, production, and teaching resources of this world-class facility. Additional studio and classroom facilities and the faculty and administrative offices are housed in two adjacent buildings in close proximity to the Krannert Center. Four department concerts per year are produced in the theatres of the Krannert Center, including two concerts of student choreography. The resident lecture-demonstration company performs in community schools, and additional performing opportunities are provided in concerts presented in the dance studio/theatre, in operas and music performances, in University and community musicals, and in regional and national college dance festivals.

For more information on Degree Requirements, visit

The BA curriculum in dance is designed to provide an integrated and individualized approach to undergraduate studies of dance. The degree is designed for students who want to explore interdisciplinary approaches to art-making, and/or simultaneously pursue a minor or major in another discipline. Students will study three core areas in Dance: Technique, Creative Process, and Dance Academics. Students will identify at least one other key area of interest such as Theater, Music, Anthropology, Business, Art & Design, Environment, Film, Gender Studies, Cultural Studies, etc., and will choose a Major, Minor or Focused Electives in this area of study under consultation with an advisor. Under the mentorship of a faculty member, students will create a BA Capstone Project in their senior year as a synthesis of the studies within dance and another area of study.
Students pursuing a Dance degree at the University of Illinois must be admitted to the BFA in Dance (audition required). Once admitted, those desiring a broader education may apply for admittance in the BA in Dance, rather than continuing in the BFA.

For more information on Degree Requirements, visit

Courses That Introduce the Major:
  • DANC 160—Beginning Modern Tech Core
  • DANC 166—Beginning Ballet Tech Core
  • DANC 167—Beginning Ballet Tech Elect

Students should consult with an academic advisor regarding course selection prior to the advanced registration period.

Possible Career Opportunities:

With broad skills, our graduates choreograph, become artistic directors, dance on Broadway, teach, write, and thrive in body-based professions.

  • Arts Administration
  • Dance History and Criticism
  • Dance Notation
  • Dance Therapy
  • Somatics (such as Alexander Technique, Pilates, Feldenkrais)
  • Physical Therapy
  • Teaching: university, studio, and public school (K-12 certification requirements vary from state to state)
  • Ability to accept public scrutiny and criticism
  • Ability to analyze and interpret emotions
  • Ability to captivate audiences
  • Ability to demonstrate emotions/ideas
  • Ability to interact with people of differing backgrounds and personalities
  • Ability to maintain composure under pressure
  • Disciplined in an exercise program
  • Good ability to concentrate/practice
  • Imagination/Creativity
  • Proficiency in all types of dance
  • Artist-in-Residence
  • Arts Council Director
  • Ballet Mistress or Master
  • Choreographer
  • College Professor
  • Company Dancer
  • Consultant
  • Dance Designer
  • Dance Therapist
  • Director
  • General Manager
  • Grants Specialist
  • Instructor
  • Marketing Assistant
  • Personnel Manager
  • Physical Therapist
  • Press Agent
  • Private Teacher
  • Production Assistant
  • Booking Agent
  • Technician

Some careers may require education beyond an undergraduate degree.

Enhancing Your Academic Experience:
  • Participating in undergraduate research
  • Applying for a study abroad experience
  • Utilizing resources of The Career Center
  • Joining a Registered Student Organization (RSO) related to this major, such as:
    • Illini N Motion Dance Team: focuses on student-run and student-choreographed dance routines ranging from hip-hop to lyrical, including Jazz, Tap, Pointe, Ballet, and Modern
    • Legend Dance Company: provides an outlet for talented students of all majors to express themselves through choreography and performance of dance
Further Information:

There are several professional organizations dedicated to Dance.  Their websites might be able to provide a glimpse in the world of Dance.  These organizations include American Dance GuildDance USA, and National Dance Education Organization.