a group of dancers partnering each other in a large white room

Do Grades in BFA Programs Really Matter?

Bachelor of fine arts dance programs, whether housed in a conservatory or larger university setting, tend to give out letter grades like any other academic degree. But rather than exams and essays, the studio classes that make up the bulk of BFA programs are evaluating students on less tangible benchmarks like artistry, technique, and performance. How much weight are BFA programs really putting on grading—and how much do students’ grades matter during, and after, their time in college?

a group of dancers wearing blue standing tall on stage

UDA Nationals Went Viral on TikTok. What’s Next for College Dance Teams? 

When the nation’s top college dance teams gathered at the Universal Dance Association Nationals in Orlando earlier this year, few could have predicted the millions who would be soon watching worldwide. The annual competition, in which college dance teams perform across a number of divisions in jazz, hip-hop, and pom categories, attracted a massive audience […]

two female dancers mirroring each other while lunging side and reaching long with their arms

Ana María Alvarez Redefines the Dance Program at UC San Diego

Ana María Alvarez didn’t always imagine herself ending up back on campus. “I’ve had a love–hate relationship with the academy,” says Alvarez, the founder of CONTRA-TIEMPO Activist Dance Theater who joined the University of California San Diego’s Theatre and Dance Department as a tenured faculty member in late 2022.

a group of dancers surrounding a table standing out of their chairs with arms lifted overhead

How Chicago Black Dance Legacy Project at the University of Chicago is Working to Bridge the Local Dance Scene’s Equity Gap

The future it envisions is one where Black dance is recognized, celebrated, and preserved for posterity, and historical inequities in funding and operational support have been rectified. For now, the Legacy Project has stepped in to bridge the gap, drawing on the university’s plentiful resources and connections to help participating companies thrive.

a male instructor guiding a female dancer's arm while taking class in the studio

Why High Schoolers Should Consider a College Summer Dance Program

When you think of a summer dance intensive, you might not immediately picture a college campus. But many higher ed dance departments do host summer programs, which can offer a chance for holistic growth and often function as a preview of life as an undergraduate. A summer on campus might help high school students plan for their futures—whether at the same school or elsewhere in the dance world.

a magical scene with a castle, bright starts, and two dancers in the middle

Indiana University Removes Offensive Caricatures in New Productions of The Nutcracker and La Bayadère

How can we honor and preserve history without repeating the same mistakes over and over? How can we reimagine classics to center a variety of voices and speak to diverse audiences—not simply to avoid offending anyone, but to actively invite and include everyone? How can we propel the dances we know into a new era, so they—and ballet—can flourish into the future?

How University of the Arts Teaches Dancers to “Pay Attention Differently”—and Why It Works

When first-year students begin classes at the University of the Arts’ School of Dance in Philadelphia, they’re met with guiding questions that challenge them to reframe the very purpose of dance training: “How do you pay attention to what you’re doing all the time, differently?” asks Donna Faye Burchfield, professor and dean of the School of Dance. “What […]

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