B.F.A. in Dance Performance

The Division of Dance offers professional dance training within the context of a comprehensive liberal arts education. The goal is to develop the disciplined, versatile dance artist through a balanced study of ballet, modern dance and jazz dance techniques, complemented and reinforced by a broad range of theoretical studies and performance opportunities. The program provides an atmosphere in which students are nurtured and stimulated in their quest for artistic achievement, technical mastery and scholarly excellence. Undergraduate majors study dance as a performing art with the intent to become practicing artists. The core of the dance curriculum is designed with this goal in mind. The combination of performance and liberal arts education courses serves to develop the articulate dancer.

All dance majors have opportunities to perform and choreograph as an integral part of their performance studies. The Dance Performance Series includes main stage concerts in the Bob Hope Theatre, concerts in the Sharp Studio and noontime Brown Bag performances in the Owen Arts Center lobby. Other opportunities include special events, outreach programs and interdisciplinary projects within and beyond the Meadows community. Dance majors are required to participate in Dance Performance Series events as partial fulfillment of the degree program.

Southern Methodist University is an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Dance. Successful completion of this program will enhance the student’s personal growth as well as technical development in ballet, modern dance and jazz dance. The degree requires 80 credit hours in dance, of which a minimum of 44 credit hours are in technique and the remaining 36 credit hours provide students with the opportunity to develop scholarly and creative abilities in dance and related areas of interest.

Curriculum Notes: A student must be enrolled in six credit hours of dance with a minimum of three credit hours in technique class/classes in order to be a dance major in good standing and maintain an artistic scholarship. A minimum of four terms of ensemble work (DANC 3080) are required; enrollment will be processed by the division after casting is determined for each term. Three terms of dance composition (DANC 3341, 3342, 3343) are required beginning in the junior year. The capstone course is taken in the last term of the senior year.

See List of Dance Courses & their Description

Requirements for the Degree Credit Hours
UC/GEC Requirements varies
Performance Technique
To be taken during the first 2–3 years of study:
  • Ballet Courses: 12 hours
  • Modern Dance Courses: 12 hours
  • Jazz Dance Courses: 8 hours
Advanced Performance Technique
Must be at the 3000-4000 level of proficiency in at least one major area of performance technique
Ensemble Performance
DANC 3080 (four terms)
DANC 3341, 3342, 3343
Theoretical and Applied Studies
DANC 1101, 1144, 1151, 1152, 1326, 2160, 3363, 4373, 4374
Dance Electives (hours needed depends on capston choice)
Selected from advanced performance technique (4 hours of required advanced technique will also count as elective credit), theoretical and applied studies, directed studies, or other elective courses taken within the Meadows School.
Dance Capstone
DANC 4091, 4191, 4291, or 4391
Community Experience
MSA 1001 or 1101
Free Electives
Hours vary as needed to meet University residency and degree requirements

Note: DANC 2160 is required for the dance major, and it also fulfills the Univer­sity Curriculum requirement for PRWII.


The faculty expects dance majors to apply themselves scholastically and to assume responsibilities conscientiously. Students are required to maintain a minimum GPA of 2.7 in dance courses to continue in the dance major. Grades lower than C are not acceptable in any required dance course and will necessitate a repeat enrollment. If requirements are not met, the student is placed on academic probation. To be eligible for scholarship, students are required to maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.7 in dance courses and be enrolled in a minimum of six credit hours in dance. Full participation in the program and in division performances is expected of every student who receives a merit scholarship award. Performance studies and production activities take precedence over dance work outside of the division.


High standards of discipline and execution are essential for artistic growth, progress and success. Regular class attendance, attendance at auditions, classroom and theatre etiquette, punctuality and attendance at student meetings are essential. Students meet with individual faculty at midterm to receive a progress report and to establish individual goals. At the close of each term, each student receives a performance evaluation by the collective faculty. Various aspects of a student’s work are examined, including technical progress, capacity for and commitment to class work, personal growth and maturity, attitude, academic performance, production support, program participation, performance artistry, and health and fitness. When standards are not met, a student is advised that significant improvement must take place to remain in the program. Poor critiques may result in probationary measures and/or loss of dance scholarship funding. All dance scholarships are reviewed each term. Further details on the standards and requirements for the dance major are included in the Division of Dance Student Handbook, which is available online.