Dance at the University of Michigan offers a winning combination: a world class dance education within a leading research university. An extraordinary breadth of resources enables our students to bridge knowledge across disciplines and communities, and to gain an understanding of dance as a significant mode of inquiry. The dance curriculum emphasizes technique, performance, and composition, and U-M dancers develop in an inclusive learning environment that encourages deep engagement in the transformative experiences of dancing and dance making. Academic courses within and beyond our discipline inform the studio work. Explore our YouTube playlist for more about our work.
We celebrate risk taking, engaged learning, and entrepreneurship, with an expansive approach to the relevance of dance within culture. Our internationally renowned faculty provides a range of perspectives that integrate practice and theory, preparing dance artists for resilient and multi-faceted careers in a rapidly evolving field.
Undergraduate dance students forge their own creative voice, build a range of technical skills, and enjoy extensive performance opportunities, from dancing in the First Year Touring Company to performing onstage at the Power Center for the Performing Arts, where many of the world’s great dance companies also perform, including Mark Morris, Batsheva, Kid Pivot, Bill T. Jones, Meredith Monk, and more. Students also create multi-media collaborations in the Duderstadt Video Studio and present their work in a variety of community settings.
Beyond our studio-based courses, dance students gain a comprehensive education at U-M, the number one public research university in the country.* They develop discipline, independent thinking, creative problem-solving, leadership and team skills, technological competencies, and an appreciation for intellectual and social diversity. Many students elect to pursue a joint degree. Graduates of the program join the field as performers, choreographers, artistic directors, and more, possessing a range of transferrable skills relevant to wide-ranging workplaces of the new millennium.
Our fully funded two-year MFA in dance is aimed at outstanding recent graduates as well as returning professionals. The curriculum offers multiple avenues for investigating the permeable boundaries between practice and theory, and students engage in unique interdisciplinary research and performance projects, drawing upon the University’s extensive resources. Graduate students gain valuable experience teaching courses as part of the program, which also includes focuses on performance, choreography, pedagogy, and screendance. Close faculty mentorship helps prepare dancers for diverse opportunities within the field, including those seeking to move from careers at the national/international level in performance or choreography to working in higher education. The degree builds upon a longstanding foundation of dance at the University while embracing new developments.
All School of Music, Theatre & Dance (SMTD) students receive exceptional entrepreneurial and career planning support through the school’s EXCEL program (Excellence in Entrepreneurship Career Empowerment & Leadership), poised to become the nation’s top program for funding student entrepreneurial ventures in the performing arts.
Combining the focus and rigor of a conservatory with the academic breadth and depth of a major public research university, an SMTD education is transformative. Dance students receive comprehensive instruction and performance, plus the inspiration and knowledge of a liberal arts course of study. Our graduates excel as artists, scholars, educators, entrepreneurs, technologists, designers, and arts administrators. They are also fully-engaged citizens eager to make a difference in their field and community.
*National Science Foundation