motion-blurred photo of several dancers on stage approaching camera

MFA in Dance

Montclair State University’s new low-residency MFA in Dance program is designed for dance professionals who want to further their careers and actively help shape the world of dance.

Deputy Chair, Department of Theatre of Dance
Director, Dance Programs

Lorraine Katterhenry

Professor, Theatre and Dance

Phone
973-655-7080
Email
katterhenrl@montclair.edu
Location
Life Hall

MFA Dance Program Coordinator

Elizabeth McPherson profile photo

Elizabeth McPherson

Associate Professor, Theatre and Dance

Phone
973-655-7831
Email
mcphersone@montclair.edu
Location
Life Hall

Our low residency MFA in Dance program will be accepting applications starting in the Fall of 2019 for the cohort that will begin in June of 2020!

The program admits a new cohort every two years. Our current group began in June of 2018 and will continue through May of 2020.

Apply Now

Here is what one of our MFA Dance alums has to say about the program:

“Guided by supportive and erudite professors, I gained a rich understanding of the expansive scope of the field as I both acquired new skills and pursued an existing area of expertise. I feel a great sense of accomplishment and am thrilled by the body of work I have crafted.” – Lauren Grant

About the Program

MFA Dance interior image

Montclair State University’s new, innovative low-residency MFA in Dance is designed especially for mid-career dance artists, dance teachers and other dance professionals in transition. The program is ideal for those interested in thinking about the shape and future of dance as a discipline and as a field. Appealing to your needs as an experienced dance professional, the program aims to provide you with the knowledge, resources and credentials you need to expand your career — whether to teach dance in higher education, enhance your artistic worldview, and/or become an innovative leader, researcher or advocate for dance. The program is especially unique in regards to its low-residency format, allowing much of the work to be done online. As a working artist, you will experience the convenience of an on-site/off-site program structure without sacrificing the potential of developing lifelong relationships.

The Low-Residency Structure

The MFA in Dance takes two years to complete. You will begin your studies on the beautiful Montclair State University campus in the summer, taking classes which span a four-week period. In the following fall and spring semesters you will pursue courses online, then return to campus again, the next summer, for a second four-week on-site experience. During the subsequent fall and spring semesters you will take your remaining classes online and complete your degree.

Summer sessions coursework includes opportunities to move, create, discuss, research, document, connect, and examine your practice. All courses are “in person,” allowing students to develop close relationships with both peers and faculty.

Fall and spring semester online sessions allow students to return to their homes where they may continue their lives while still pursuing their degree. Online coursework will use reading, writing and reflection to allow students to engage in analysis and discussion about the dance field. In their home communities, students will be expected to observe or participate in dance classes, view live performance and produce their own creative works.

Two-Year Cohorts

The MFA in Dance allows you the opportunity to study with a cohort of peers with whom you will begin, pursue and complete the curriculum. Admission to the program is conducted every two years. Students are expected to matriculate with their cohort, taking each course in the sequence together. This structure enables students to develop close ties with their faculty and peers, and to have strong support networks as they move through their coursework.

Ideal for Mid-Career Artists

The MFA in Dance is ideally suited for mid-career dance artists, i.e. people who have been active in the dance field for at least five years since completing their undergraduate degrees. Many are working dance professionals who wish to transition to teaching or who already teach but desire a terminal degree which is often required to teach in higher education. The MFA in Dance gives access to expanded career opportunities and ways to leverage innovation in the arts.

Mission

The program is focused on students who are interested in a terminal degree program that emphasizes a practice-based curriculum designed to nurture the artist in the development of new knowledge and skills in one or more aspects of performance or choreography, including technology and application of somatic techniques to art-making. The program provides the knowledge and credentials needed to apply for work at universities, thus giving students the resources to become innovative contributors to their fields.

Objectives

  • Enhance aspects of dance performance or choreography with the acquisition of new knowledge and/or skills.
  • Encourage students to become conversant in new digital media technologies and their impact on art-making.
  • Foster students’ development of their own areas of interest and specialization to create a unique artistic voice in the dance field.
  • Nurture pedagogic ingenuity by encouraging mid-career artists to engage in deep self-reflection and develop their choreographic and teaching practice.
  • Prepare leaders who will contribute to shaping the future of dance through the development of their creative voice and by engaging in the ongoing theoretical discussions surrounding the field.

Curriculum – What You Will Study

The MFA in Dance curriculum includes three main components:

  • Studio and related courses will deepen your creative research practice through examination and enhancement of your artistic skills. You will develop an investigated understanding of the kinesthetic, digital, technical and aesthetic components of your personal artistic interests.
  • Other studies in dance will serve to expand your analytical skills, self-reflection and understanding of theoretical constructs in dance studies, history, pedagogy and theory. You will communicate this understanding in both verbal and written form.
  • Elective Courses (three independently-pursued research courses) will offer the opportunity to develop or enhance a unique specialization and/or perspective related to dance.
MFA Dance image 2

Two year course of study:

First Year

Summer Semester (in-person) HRS
Special Topics: Dance Technique 3
Improvisation 3
Creative Practices I 3
Dance Technology 3
TOTAL: 12
Fall Semester (online) HRS
Special Projects 3
Performance Perspectives 3
Research, Writing, and Publication 3
TOTAL: 9
Spring Semester (online) HRS
Special Projects 3
Creative Practices II 3
Application of Digital Media 3
TOTAL: 9

Second Year

Summer Semester (in-person) HRS
Special Topics: Dance Technique 3
Danceaturgy: The Performer as Spectator 3
Laban Movement Analysis and its Applications 3
Functional Anatomy 3
TOTAL: 12
Fall Semester (online) HRS
Dance and the Arts in the 20th Cen. 3
Survey of Pedagogical Perspectives 3
Special Projects 3
TOTAL: 9
Spring Semester (online) HRS
Business of Academia 3
Thesis Project 6
TOTAL: 9

Curriculum:

A. Studio or Related Areas
DNCE500 Contemporary Dance Practices 3 units (taken 2x)
DNCE501 Improvisation 3 units
DNCE502 Creative Practices I 3 units
DNCE503 Creative Practices II 3 units
DNCE531 LMA and its Applications 3 units
DNCE533 Functional Anatomy 3 units
DNCE698 Thesis Project 6 units
DNCE520 Dance Technology 3 units
DNCE521 Application of Digital Media 3 units
Total Studio or Related Areas 33 units
B. Other Studies in Dance
DNCE510 Performance Perspectives 3 units
DNCE511 Research, Writing, and Publication 3 units
DNCE512 American Dance and the Arts in the 20th Century 3 units
DNCE513 Danceaturgy 3 units
DNCE530 Survey of Pedagogical Practice 3 units
DNCE532 Business of Academia 3 units
Total Studies in Dance 18 units
C. Electives
DNCE 509 Special Projects 3 units (taken 3x)
Total Electives 9 units
Dance Major (MFA) – Full Curriculum

Faculty and Guest Artists

Faculty and guest artists

The faculty in the Dance Division at Montclair State University are expert mentors in dance technique, improvisation, choreography, dance studies and critique, dance technology, Laban Movement Analysis and pedagogy. In addition, our proximity to New York City allows us to bring in exceptional guest artists to teach courses in the program. Currently scheduled guest artists include Claire Porter, Eva Yaa Asantewaa, Dr. Martha Eddy and Dr. Penelope Hanstein.

MFA in Dance – Faculty and Guest Artists

How to Apply

MFA dance image

We will be accepting applications starting in the Fall of 2019 for the cohort that will begin in June of 2020.

Students interested in applying to the MFA in Dance must submit an application to The Graduate School.

For Further Information

2018 MFA Handbook

Please contact us with questions at 973-655-5147 or mfadance@mail.montclair.edu, and we welcome you to complete the request information form.