Three programs for dance educators in the making
Dean College dancers in performance. Photo by Anastasia Grady, courtesy Dean College.
Teaching dance is an art of its own, requiring a skill set that you can’t get from a typical dance performance BFA program. But some colleges offer the chance to study pedagogy in-depth through courses, workshops and internships, while still providing ample opportunities to develop your technical and artistic abilities. Here are three top choices to consider.
The Hartt School, University of Hartford
West Hartford, CT
Degree offered: BFA in dance, with ballet pedagogy emphasis
No. of majors: About 50 (usually half focus on pedagogy)
Coursework: Classes include four levels of ballet pedagogy, music, kinesiology, human development and dance administration.
Master teachers: Marcia Dale Weary teaches a ballet pedagogy workshop. Other guests have included dancers like Misty Copeland and Wendy Whelan.
Hands-on experience: All pedagogy majors spend four semesters teaching younger students in Hartt’s Community Division, a performing arts school, as well as choreographing and assisting in rehearsals and productions. Some also intern in local public magnet schools.
Alumni: Graduates are teaching at the Joffrey Ballet School, Eliot Feld’s Ballet Tech and Ballet Academy East, among other schools.
Dancers at Texas Woman’s University. Photo courtesy TWU.
Degree offered: BA in dance, with teaching concentration
No. of majors: 175 (about a third focus on teaching)
Coursework: Classes include two levels of pedagogy, anatomy, kinesiology, early childhood education, psychology, creative movement for children and foundations of education.
Master teachers: Bill Evans is on faculty and recently hosted a teachers’ intensive and a conference on somatics-based teaching. These included workshops, performances and lectures by Peggy Hackney and Kitty Daniels.
Hands-on experience: All teaching students complete internships at regional studios, YMCAs or summer intensives. Dean also has partnerships with the Boston Ballet children’s program and Franklin public schools.
Alumni: Recent graduates are teaching at BB’s children’s program, performing arts high schools and their own studios, among other places.
Texas Woman’s University
Degree offered: BA in dance, with teacher certification
No. of majors: 90 (about 40 percent do the certification)
Coursework: After an initial course, students apply to the teaching program and take both education and dance courses. Classes include dance pedagogy, somatics, learning theory and development, and classroom environment and management.
Master teachers: Summer workshop guests who choreograph on students have included Seán Curran, Bebe Miller, David Dorfman and Mark Dendy. A plan to bring in artists to lecture on teaching and hold practice classes is in the works.
Hands-on experience: Senior year, students spend a semester teaching full-time in public high schools that they are matched with based on their interests and strengths.
Alumni: Many graduates are teaching in Texas public schools, and some have opened their own studios.