wide angle of dancer jumping into the air on stage

BFA – Dance

BFA Dance: The Big Picture

The Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Dance combines a conservatory-based approach to training within a liberal arts curriculum to prepare students for their lives and careers as performing artists. We are dedicated to a program that is welcoming and inclusive of diverse viewpoints and lived experiences, including gender, sexuality, disability, age, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, race, and culture.

The Dance Division holistically educates its students by developing and cultivating a deep knowledge of dance in many facets. We seek to enhance the student’s mind/body connection and their technical facility; encourage their sense of play, creativity and critical thinking; deepen their appreciation/understanding of the historical and cultural relevance of dance in our global society; and promote their engagement as global citizens as well as their understanding of the democratic principles that enable them to be free-thinking artists. We continue to evolve our anti-biased, anti-racist stance to affect learning and teaching. We actively work to revise curriculum and course content to be inclusive of all people.

Dance is a powerful art form that encourages communication and helps us find our commonalities as well as celebrating uniqueness. In the many hours of dance classes and rehearsals, our dance majors come to know their classmates with an intimacy that very few people in other fields will ever experience. By participating fully in this spirit of team-consciousness, they develop humanity and citizenship in equal proportion to performance abilities. We believe that these qualities are absolutely vital in today’s world.

We offer ample opportunities to choreograph and perform on campus as well as off campus at locations such as the American College Dance Association conferences, the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and the Joyce Theater and the 92nd Street Y in New York City.

Our proximity to Manhattan allows us to attract outstanding faculty and prominent guest artists who work closely with students each semester. With Manhattan just 30 minutes away, students connect with both world-class dance productions and numerous internship opportunities.

           For the 2019-2020 academic year, OnStage Blog has ranked Montclair State’s Dance Division as one of the top 30 college dance programs in the United States (onstageblog.com).

What You Will Study

The BFA Dance curriculum consists of 86 credits in Dance, 28 credits in General Education, and 6 credits of Free Electives. Courses include:

  • Daily classes in Contemporary, Modern, Jazz, or Ballet
  • West African Dance
  • CambodianDance
  • Kathak
  • Latin/Ballroom
  • Capoeira
  • Health and Wellness
  • Improvisation
  • Choreography
  • Dance History of the USA
  • Somatics
  • Music for Dancers
  • Digital Technology and Dance
  • Dance Science
  • Pedagogy
  • A range of dance electives building on foundational dance courses
Many students pursue a dance major alongside a major or minor in another field of study.

Montclair’s reasonable tuition costs mean that you can pursue a major in dance and a concurrent major in any of our 250 fields of study. Or, you can major in dance and pursue a minor in another field.

BFA Dance Curriculum

Careers in Dance

Performance Opportunities

BFA Dance majors maintain extensive rehearsal and performance schedules that include opportunities to perform works choreographed by faculty and guest artists. Students also choreograph, produce and perform their own original works.

The Dance Division presents three annual dance concert series as well as several less formal productions. In addition, student dancers often perform off campus at schools and professional performance venues in New York City and beyond. Visit our Productions and Image/Media Gallery pages to see examples of current and past student performances.

Students learn by watching as well as doing. You will be able to attend more than 500 professional events on campus each year, including those presented by the Theatre and Dance Department as well as by Montclair’s Peak Performances program of theatre, dance and music productions. Students – who are sometimes cast alongside seasoned performers and renowned actors – are admitted FREE to these campus events.

Study Abroad Opportunities

The Dance Division offers study abroad opportunities to Sweden and Spain. Accompanied by dance faculty for these 10-12 day visits, students take classes at local universities and studios, attend performances, and visit major landmarks and museums. 

Our Faculty

More than 75 permanent faculty members and visiting professionals – including internationally renowned celebrity guest artists and artists-in-residence – mentor our Theatre and Dance students each semester. These working professionals teach, choreograph and share insights (gleaned from their professional experiences in the “real world” of dance) with students in workshops and master classes. Faculty mentoring often leads to opportunities beyond the classroom.

Dance Facilities

Montclair State boasts exceptional performance facilities with impressive technical specifications. Students  perform in three well-equipped theaters, including the state-of-the-art Alexander Kasser Theater; the 946-seat Memorial Auditorium, and our Black Box Theatre. The Dance Division also has primary use of four rehearsal studios – one of which boasts a view of the NYC skyline.

This exceptional range of performance and rehearsal spaces reflects industry standards and prepares students for future performances in a variety of settings.

Awards and Accreditation

Montclair State Dance and Dance Education majors are recognized regionally and nationally for their accomplishments as performers. Nearly every year, Montclair students compete in the regional component of the American College Dance Association and often move on to compete at the national level at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. They regularly return home with awards recognizing their excellence in choreographic presentations, ensemble work, and performance.

Montclair State University is an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Dance (NASD): https://nasd.arts-accredit.org

Apply Now

To apply to the BFA Dance Program, or to any Department of Theatre and Dance program, please visit Department Admissions.

For additional information about our programs, please visit us to tour our facilities and/or plan to attend one of our Arts Days and Open Houses.

Director of Dance

Elizabeth McPherson profile photo

Elizabeth McPherson

Professor, Theatre and Dance

Life Hall

BA and BFA Dance Coordinator

Maxine Steinman profile photo

Maxine Steinman

Associate Professor, Theatre and Dance

Life Hall