This is the preliminary (or launch) version of the 2024-2025 VCU Bulletin. Courses that expose students to cutting-edge content and transformative learning may be added and notification of additional program approvals may be received prior to finalization. General education program content is also subject to change. The final edition and full PDF version will include these updates and will be available in August prior to the beginning of the fall semester.

The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance and Choreography requires a total of 120 credits, with 81 of those credits as the major core curriculum. Alongside general education courses, dance-focused academics and creative process classes (i.e. composition and choreography), dance majors are typically required to take two technique classes daily throughout the majority of their studies. The continuous study of modern/contemporary dance and ballet is a strong component of the curriculum. In addition, elective courses in partnering, jazz, hip hop, West African, contact improvisation, yoga, Pilates and other studio experiences are offered, rounding out a curriculum that also involves studies in anatomy and dance science, dance history, and music, among other areas. Within the major core there are opportunities for repertory experience and for independent study.

The dance major program is rigorous. Students’ technique placement within the required major courses is determined through departmental assessment and placement processes. Formal evaluation procedures include a placement class for entering students, juried examinations at the end of the first semester of the freshman and sophomore years and every semester of the junior and senior years. In the second semester of the freshman and sophomore years the jury is folded into a comprehensive career evaluation called the Freshmen Review and the Sophomore Readmittance Exam, respectively. These career evaluations are to assess each student’s progress in relationship to the standards of the program and progress toward degree completion. Students in the major program may be notified of probationary status after the Freshmen Review. All majors must pass the Sophomore Readmittance Exam in order to continue in the major. This exam stands on its own as a separate evaluation from course grades.

The VCU dance program provides abundant opportunities for students to interact with faculty and guest artists in academic, professional, creative and performance contexts. Within the School of the Arts, dance students have frequent opportunities to work collaboratively with other students in the arts. Possibilities include the visual arts, participation in multimedia events and productions outside the dance department. Any dance major or minor can perform in numerous formal concerts, informal showings and lecture-demonstrations produced by the department. Opportunities also are available for training in teaching, but students interested in earning state certification should consult their advisers.

Student learning outcomes

Upon completing this program, students will know and know how to do the following:

  • Students should achieve proficiency in improvisation, composition, choreography and related art forms that encourage creativity and an individual point of view.
  • Students should become proficient in modern dance technique and performance and a diverse range of other dance techniques in order to maximize their potential to become versatile dancers of technical excellence.
  • Students should demonstrate a global and historical perspective of dance as an art form, with an emphasis on diverse contemporary approaches to dance making, research and performance.
  • Students should demonstrate writing and critical-thinking skills.
  • Students should demonstrate comprehensive and theoretical understanding of the field of dance.