'Dance Studio Life' Magazine Profiles University's New Dance-education Program

Debut of BA in Dance Education, Studio-teaching Concentration, this fall is heralded by educators and professionals in the field

Photo by Mike Peters

Montclair State's new dance education-studio program, which debuted this fall, got some glowing press from Dance Studio Life in the magazine's August issue.

"Professional dance-educator organizations have long lamented the dearth of any universal standards, studio-educators programs, or required training certification for dance teachers in this country. Now, Montclair State University...is launching a concentration option this fall, joining programs like Oklahoma City University's American Dance Teacher Program, in an effort to help fill the void," the article begins.

The article goes on to state, "Leaders of major dance-teaching organizations hailed news of the programs a positive step in the right direction. 'This is a positive beginning to support and encourage all potential educators to be qualified to teach dance,' says Phyllis Guy, national president of Dance Masters of America, an international organization of dance teachers whose members must pass technical exams to join. 'lt is my hope that this program becomes a reality throughout the United States.' "

The new BA in Dance Education, Studio-teaching Concentration at Montclair State was designed to help prepare students to teach in or own and operate a dance studio and is the only one of its kind in New Jersey.  Dr. Elizabeth McPherson, coordinator for Montclair's BA program in dance education, noted there are no license requirements for dance teachers teaching in the private sector, however, professionals teaching in that area need to hold comparable high-level skills. In the article, McPherson explains the new concentration was developed after she and other dance teachers in the department learned from students who left the certification-track program that they were not interested in teaching in public schools (which requires the certification document) but more interested in the dance-studio environment. What they really wanted was a program that would foster the business and teaching skills that would best prepare them for a profession in dance-studio management and/or teaching.

"We know there's a real interest out there, so it's thrilling to see this program become a reality," says Elizabeth McPherson, coordinator for Montclair's BA program in dance education. "We want to help better prepare people not only to own and operate a studio but to help them raise the level of teaching in studios in general."

In addition to 59 credits in dance, students in the Studio Teaching Concentration must take 12 credits in business courses and 18 credits in education, including a one-semester internship at a dance studio.

The University currently offers a B.A. in Dance Education with P-12 Teacher Certification for those who plan to teach in public pre-school, primary and secondary schools, as well as a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Dance for students with performing or choreographing as their primary career goal. Students in the Studio Teaching Concentration have the option to apply for the concentration in P-12 Teacher Certification in their sophomore year, or may remain in the studio teaching concentration. 

Learn more about the University's Dance Education programs.

Read the entire article in DanceStudioLife Magazine.