7. University of Arizona (Tucson, AZ)
The University of Arizona’s School of Dance is among the top contemporary and classical dance programs in the country. Interested students can pursue a BFA or an MFA at the program.
What best demonstrates the spirit of the University of Arizona School of Dance is a student group known as The Dance Collective. Technically open to all students at the university, The Dance Collective is comprised mostly of dance majors who seek to promote dance in all styles throughout the campus, the city of Tucson, and even serve as the sponsor of the annual Arizona Jazz Dance showcase.
The program is known for taking care of their students health. Since 2013, a musculoskeletal clinic has been provided to dance students at University of Arizona. The purpose of this program is to reduce injury and improve performance of dance students at the school.
Public performances through a subscription series is one of the hallmarks of the U Arizona program. Throughout 2019-2020, seven subscription productions performed over a total of several weeks will be performed by U of Arizona students.
6. University of North Carolina School of the Arts (Winston-Salem, NC)
One of the premiere performing arts schools in the country, alumni of the UNCSA dance program are now employed in prestigious dance companies throughout the world, as well as teaching in major universities and academic institutions.
UNCSA is the exclusive educational affiliate of the hugely prestigious American Ballet Theatre (ABT). In this collaboration, ABT’s curriculum for training is provided to UNCSA students. Additionally, dancers of ABT lead students in masterclasses and lessons. This collaboration is unparalleled in the world of collegiate dance.
The Choreographic Institute at UNCSA provides students a unique opportunity to work with emerging professional choreographers, designated as “fellows” of the program. Now in its third year, the program recently announced four fellows for the program, including a UNCSA alum.
UNCSA is not only a collegiate training institute, but also a high school program as well. Perhaps the most famous dance alum of UNCSA is Gillian Murphy, who attended the high school division at UNCSA.
5. Oklahoma City University (Oklahoma City, OK)
The Ann Lacy School of Dance and Entertainment awards several degrees for the aspiring dance professional. They include a Bachelor’s in Performing, Dance Management, Pedagogy, and even a Bachelor’s in Entertainment. The wide range of study options in dance at OKCU makes it an attractive option for any aspiring dance and performing arts professional.
OKCU is home to the Gaylord Dance Center, which may be the finest educational facility for dance in the entire country. Inside the Gaylord Dance Center is an impressive 8 dance studios, locker rooms, student lounges, and a large atrium.
Performance opportunities are significant at OKCU. The program is home to the American Spirit Dance Company, founded by Professor Jo Rowan, as well as the Spirit of Grace Liturgical Company. With the American Spirit Dance Company, students perform a Broadway Revue.
The American Spirit Dance Company tours throughout the US and abroad.
HONORABLE MENTION: University of the Arts (Philadelphia, PA)
One of the finest schools for dance in the world, the school provides students with first-class opportunity to study with the very best performers in the world.
One way the University of the Arts succeeds in this is with their flagship program called Knowing Dance More. Six times a year, the school brings in top artists and scholars to the campus to work with the school’s dance students.
Some recent visiting artists to the school include Robert Battle, the current artistic director of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Andrea Miller, choreographer who has been commissioned by the top arts organizations worldwide, and Jennifer Nugent, a Bessie-award winning artist who performed in the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane dance company.
One of the greatest dance teachers in the country, Donna Burchfield, a renowned pedagogue whose students have performed throughout the world, is on the faculty at the University of the Arts. She is regularly seen as an adjudicator in international dance competitions, having been awarded for her contributions to teaching by a number of organizations.
The curriculum at the school for dance majors is intense – nearly 2/3rds of the total classes required for graduation are for dance performance and theory classes (the other classes are electives and liberal arts).
For students that can keep up with the fast-paced lifestyle of this program, this is quite possibly the best dance school on the continent.