Dance

Offering a BA degree, minor, and myriad performance groups.

Pursue Your Passion for Dance

In the AU dance program, you will complete challenging coursework and creative research while entertaining and challenging audiences with innovative dance productions. The dance program is for students who want to make connections between disciplines and forms; who want to push themselves physically, creatively, and academically; and who want to be forward thinkers and creative doers in a moving world. Whether you are pursuing a dance BA, a minor in dance, or a major in a different field, we provide dance opportunities for all American University students.

We will prepare you for a career in performance, in choreography, in education, or with non-profit, commercial, or entrepreneurial arts organizations. Through the study of dance, you will develop distinct skills in embodiment of knowledge, creative problem solving, and critical thinking. We offer a diverse catalog of courses that allow you to study movement from multiple perspectives through creative research, dance theory, and a wide range of movement forms. We also offer coursework on entrepreneurship, arts management, and marketing to introduce you to the business side of the arts.

A Flexible, Innovative Degree Program

Our curriculum is designed for students who seeks artistic and intellectual rigor, whose academic journey may include studying abroad, internships, double majoring, and/or minoring.

The 43-credit BA in Dance and the 19-credit Dance Minor include study of:

  • embodied knowledge (dance technique, movement forms, somatics);
  • critical inquiry (kinesiology, history, technology, business);
  • creative practice (creative tools, seminars, capstone projects); and
  • advanced student-driven and faculty-mentored concentrations.

 
We offer multiple levels of African dance, ballet, contemporary, improvisation, jazz, tap, and urban dance. Students explore dance scholarship, ethnography, the history of dance, and cultural diplomacy; develop skills related to technology, business, arts management, and entrepreneurship; and establish a professional network through internships, by taking master classes, and by working with guest artists.

 

Prepare For The Spotlight

At AU, you will have opportunities to perform every semester. In CHOREOLAB, student choreographers workshop their routines. The embodied knowledge classes perform on campus twice a year. Danceworks holds an annual dance concert in the spring. Casts travel to the American College Dance Association Conference each spring. In addition to the department-directed performance groups, AU sponsors a number of student-run dance clubs that perform on and off campus, including AU in Motion, the Ballroom Club, and the Bhangra Dance Club. Performance opportunities are open to all AU students regardless of major or minor.

 

Experienced Dancers Dedicated To Your Success

Our faculty members have a diverse range of artistic, scholarly, and educational experience. They have worked locally, nationally, and internationally with a variety of artists and arts organizations, including Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, GroovMekanex, Coyaba Dance Theater, the National Ballet Company of Peru, Donald McKayle, Talley Beatty, Bill T. Jones, Ballet Austin, Capitol Tap, Bmore Houseful, Kim Robards Dance, and Bring In Da Noise, Bring In Da Funk.

With our small classes and excellent student/faculty ratio, our faculty works closely with each student, providing individualized instruction and mentorship on the stage, in the studio, in the classroom, and in the community. You will also have the opportunity to experience performances by and take master classes with our guest artists. Recent guest artists have included Charles O. Anderson, Tiffanie Carson, Cynthia Gutierrez-Garner, Michel Kouakou, Christopher Morgan, Juan “Coel” Rodriguez, Zoe Scofield, and B-boy Toyz aRe Us.

 

Dance Opportunities In The Capital City

The cultural, artistic, and professional opportunities offered by the nation’s capital make American University an excellent place to study dance. The DC area is home to a vibrant dance community with many seasoned and emerging dance companies, choreographers, and artists. AU’s proximity to several leading arts organizations offers students a chance participate in internships in dance education, production, arts management, and performance with institutions such as the John F. Kennedy Center, Dance Place, Joy of Motion, the Washington Ballet, Dance Loft on 14, Dance Exchange, Urban Artistry Dance Academy, Joe’s Movement Emporium, Dance/USA, and Signature Theatre. 

 

2017-8 Auditions

All auditions are in the Katzen Dance Studio (152).

Level Placement Dates

  • August 22, 2017: 2 pm
  • December 2, 2017: 10 am
  • April 7, 2018: 10 am

Register for the Dance Level Placement audition. If you have previously auditioned, you do not need to audition again, unless you wish to be considered for a higher level than the placement you received in your last audition.

AU/DC Company Casting

December 2

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes! Please send an email to danceprogram@american.edu, with the following information:

  1. Name
  2. Current year in school, and where you are from.
  3. Date of campus visit, and time of your AU Tour (if you already have one scheduled).
  4. Current interests in Dance.

An audition is not required to become a Dance Major or a Dance Minor. If you're interested in either program of study, please make an appointment with the Dance Program Director, Britta Peterson [link: bjp@american.edu], to discuss how the Major or Minor could be a good fit for your interests and to map out your plan of study.

Students will need to participate in a Level Placement class, in order to register for a Level II or III Embodied Knowledge (technique) course. No placement or special permissions are needed for Level I courses. Level Placements occur in August, December, February (for new incoming students) and April.

Auditions for performance opportunities in AU Dance Program productions, such as CHOREOLAB and the Spring Dance Concert, happen in September and December each year.

Yes! AU’s Dance Program brings in new guest artists each year to teach master classes and/or to set choreographic work on the AU Dance Company (AU/DC). We’ve recently hosted or will soon welcome guest artists Charles O. Anderson, Tiffanie Carson, Cynthia Gutierrez-Garner, Michel Kouakou, Christopher Morgan, Juan “Coel” Rodriguez, Zoe Scofield, and B-boy Toyz aRe Us.

Yes! The Dance Program at AU encourages students to consider studying abroad and will work with students to fit a semester or year abroad into their plans for the Dance Major or Dance Minor. Many Majors and Minors are able to take courses abroad that will work into their program of study.

AU Dance offers multiple levels of African Dance, Ballet, Contemporary, Improvisation, Jazz, Tap, and Urban Dance.

Dance technique courses are capped at 18 students for safety purposes and to ensure that our classes are a great place to learn!

There is no limit per semester — you’re limited only by what you can fit in your overall course schedule.

The primary dance studio, in the Katzen Arts Center, is equipped with a Harlequin fully sprung, marley-covered floor (installed 2016), portable barres, multifunction stereo, projection, and wireless internet connection. Classes and rehearsals may also occur in the Katzen Studio Theatre, a black box theater space. Performances are generally held at the Harold and Sylvia Greenberg Theatre, and the Abrahamson Family Recital Hall.

Yes. AU students can request time in the Katzen Dance Studio by emailing dancestudios@american.edu with the student’s name, AU ID number, times/dates requested, and purpose of the request.

There are several student-run dance clubs that students can participate in throughout the year, including AU in Motion, Ballroom Club, and Bhangra Dance Club.

Two figures dance in an empty room

Still have questions? Contact danceprogram@american.edu.