10 Best Colleges for Dance Performance in the US

HONORABLE MENTION: Dominican University (San Rafael, CA)

Dominican University
Runner1928, Dominican University of California 03, CC BY-SA 4.0

Dominican University has quickly risen as one of the very best colleges for dance in the country, thanks in large part to its partnership with one of the very best dance companies on the west coast, the Alonzo King LINES Ballet.

Students of this program spend their time between Dominican University’s beautiful San Rafael campus and the Alonzo King LINES Dance Center situated in San Francisco.

Graduates of the program have been accepted into dozens of the top companies worldwide, including the AXIS Dance Company, the National Company for Dance of Spain, and even the professional company of Alonzo King.

Speaking of King, he is one of the most significant choreographers of our time, his LINES Ballet regularly tours internationally. His own choreography has been used in the performances of the world’s top companies.

One noted trait of this school is that the school is highly dedicated to arts as a service. In partnership with JUNTOS, a non-profit organization, the school provides students the opportunity to travel & perform for underserved areas of the US and Mexico.

The school’s foundation is strongly rooted in Western classical ballet – that said, many other dance forms are taught at the highest level at this impressive school.

2. New York University Tisch School of the Arts (New York, NY)

atp_tyreseus, Tisch School of the Arts NYU, CC BY 2.0

Indisputably one of the top performing arts schools in the country, NYU Tisch is perhaps the top school in the country for the pre-professional dancer desiring both conservatory-level instruction as well as a well-rounded university experience.

At NYU, dance students work not only with acclaimed faculty, but also choreographers who are among the top names in contemporary dance. One way students get to work with these guest choreographers is through the Second Avenue Dance Company, an NYU organization that allows students to perform new and existing works choreographed by master artists.

The Chair of NYU Tisch’s Dance program is Seán Curran, a widely acclaimed American dancer and choreographer whose teaching credits span over 100 institutions, including Boston Conservatory, Bates Dance Festival, the American Dance Festival, and more. He previously won a Bessie award for his work in 1985.

Alumni of NYU Tisch Dance are active throughout the world’s great companies, as well as in Broadway.

1. Juilliard School (New York, NY)

What can one say about Juilliard that has not already been spoken thousands of times in the annals of artistic academe? The accomplishments of the school speak volumes to its well-deserved recognition and prestige.

One of the first “superstar” dance alumni of the school was Paul Taylor, who graduated from the program in 1953, just two years after the dance division at Juilliard was formed. Still active today, his ensemble, the Paul Taylor Dance Company, still tour and perform some of his 144 original works today.

Nowadays, Juilliard is comprised of the leading personalities in the world of dance. Faculty from the school, such as the well-known performer and pedagogue Jeff Edwards who is known as a premiere talent and scholar of Balanchine’s works, have performed in world-renowned dance companies and choreographed artists on Broadway and beyond.

Being in New York City, the arts capital of the country, off-campus performance opportunities are common here. Students perform all throughout New York City’s legendary museums and venues, including Guggenheim, the Whitney, the Juilliard Opera, Metropolitan Museum or Art, MoMa, and countless more.

These are our take for 10 of the best colleges for Dance Performance in the US. What schools do you feel should have been on this list? Feel free to comment below…

This ranking was created as an “averaged” ranking – we looked at six other top dance colleges lists, assigned a score to each school on every list based on their position in each ranking, then created this list based on which schools had the highest score with all rankings considered.

Here is are the rankings we looked at, sourced on July 28th, 2019

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