American University Dance Program

Be a forward thinker and a creative doer in a moving world.

Forward Thinking, Creative Doing

The Dance Program provides dance opportunities for every American University student. Diverse course offerings allow students to study movement from multiple perspectives: through a wide range of movement forms (Ballet, African, Contemporary, Urban etc.), creative research and dance theory, students are dancing daily at Katzen Art Center.

Through studying dance, majors and non-majors alike develop distinct skills in embodiment of knowledge, creative problem solving, and critical thinking that students can carry with them into a multitude of careers.

Dance Faculty work closely with each student, providing individualized instruction and mentorship in the studio, classroom, stage, and community. Creative research and performance opportunities simultaneously prepare students, while entertaining and challenging AU audiences with innovative dance productions.

The Dance Program is for the innovative AU student who wants to make connections between disciplines and forms, who wants to push themselves physically, creatively, and academically, who wants to be a forward thinker and creative doer in a moving world.

2017-18 Level Placement

All level placements are held in the Katzen Dance Studio (Room 152).

Level Placements

April 7, 2018: 10 am

Register for the level placement. 

If you have previously done a placement test, you do not need to do another one, unless you wish to be considered for a higher level than your last placement.

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.

The Dance Program also works closely with Musical Theatre students, who take a minimum of four dance courses to fulfill their program of study.

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 D.C. Metro area is home to a vibrant dance community with many seasoned and emerging dance companies, choreographers, and artists. AU's close proximity to several leading arts organizations offers students a chance participate in internships in dance education, production, management, and performance.

A few of these organizations include 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, Signature Theatre, and more.

Pathways Between Fields

The Dance Program's dexterous curriculum prepares students for careers in performance, choreography, education, non-profit, commercial, and/or individual enterprises. The experienced faculty seek to educate innovators who will utilize traditional skill sets within new contexts to develop art/business models and design new pathways between fields.

Students may:

  • discover potential careers in physical therapy and movement therapy by taking Principles of Movement.

  • explore dance scholarship, ethnography, and cultural diplomacy interests in Histories of Dance.

  • develop skills related to technology, business, and entrepreneurship through the Studies in Innovation requirement.

  • establish a professional network by taking master classes and working with guest artists.

Dance News

Student standing in front of blackboard with math equations in the background.

Achievements ·

Next Steps: AU Graduate Finds Herself Through Math and Dance

Read More

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes! Please send an email to, 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, 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 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.

Yes! At AU you can perform every semester! Performance opportunities include:

  • CHOREOLAB: a workshop for student choreographers.

  • AU Dances: a twice-a-year performance of the work happening in our Embodied Knowledge classes.

  • DANCEWORKS - Annual Spring Dance Concert: Mainstage performance featuring the American University Dance Company (AU/DC).

  • American College Dance Association Conference: Each spring, some of the casts from AU/DC also travel to perform at the American College Dance Festival.

  • Student Clubs: student-led dance clubs at AU that perform on and off campus including AU in Motion and the Ballroom club.

Performance opportunities are open to all students regardless of major or minor. The majority of performance opportunities require an audition, held throughout the year, or registration in a dance course.

Two figures dance in an empty room

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