The Dance BFA Program

Criteria for Acceptance:

  1. Talent and potential as a performer
  2. Prior training and the ability to demonstrate a knowledge of modern dance and/or classical ballet techniques
  3. Musicality
  4. Good physical proportions in a healthy body that is injury-free

Requirements for Graduation
The BFA in dance is awarded upon the successful completion of course requirements and demonstrated quality of the student’s technical ability and creative initiative, based on the standards of the professional dance world. The standard residency requirement in the Conservatory of Dance BFA program is four years (eight semesters), with rare exceptions; the minimum residency requirement is three years (six semesters). Graduation is dependent on the successful completion of course requirements, which include a minimum of 30 liberal arts credits, and the demonstrated fitness of the student for a professional performing career in dance. Students must meet all general degree requirements as well as conservatory requirements for graduation.

All students take the same required dance courses in the freshman and sophomore years. At the end of the sophomore year, the Dance Board of Study evaluates each student’s progress and potential and makes recommendations for the direction of future study in one of the following areas: dance performance, ballet, dance composition, or dance production. Professional dance credits are awarded on the basis of the student’s consistent artistic growth.

BFA Concentrations
Students earn a BFA in dance. All students enter the conservatory program in the area of dance performance. Subsequently, they may remain in dance performance or apply for one the following concentrations: ballet, dance composition (choreography), or dance production.

Concentration decisions are approved by the Dance Board of Study. Sophomore jury results determine a student’s concentration status.

Technique
All BFA students study classical ballet and modern dance daily. Students audition in a placement class at the beginning of each year and are evaluated and placed in technique class levels at the discretion of the faculty.

Performance
Performance is an integral and required part of the professional training program. The Purchase Dance Company (selected BFA students in the Conservatory of Dance) performs major concerts in the Performing Arts Center; in student and faculty concerts in the Dance Theatre Lab; and on tour in New York City, New York State, and abroad. They also participate in special performances for children and at lecture/demonstrations. The program culminates in the senior project, for which each senior performs a repertory piece and co-produces a concert as requirements for graduation.

Repertory for the Purchase Dance Company’s major concerts and tours has included George Balanchine’s Serenade, Valse Fantaisie, The Four Temperaments, and Tarantella; Merce Cunningham’s Changing Steps, Duets, and Septet; Doris Humphrey’s The Shakers and Passacaglia; Paul Taylor’s Cloven Kingdom, Le Sacre du Printemps, Junction, and Company B; Mark Morris’ Gloria, A Lake, and Grand Duo; Kenneth MacMillan’s Pas de Deux from Concerto; Cynthia Gregory’s Solo; Lester Horton’s Beloved; Bill T. Jones’ D-Man in the Waters; Dianne McIntyre’s Lyric Fire; Doug Varone’s Strict Love, Possession, and Rise; Lin Hwai Min’s Crossing the Black Water; and the annual Nutcracker production; as well as work created for the Purchase Dance Company by Luca Veggetti, Shen Wei, Stanton Welch, Lauri Stallings, Helen Pickett, Pam Tanowitz, and Robert Hill, and by guest artists, emerging choreographers, alumni, and faculty.

New works and classics in both ballet and modern dance are prepared and rehearsed for performance each year. The choreography is licensed from major artists or created by faculty and guest artists.

Ballet
The codified theatrical dance derived from the Italian, French, and Russian schools, known as “classical ballet,” is taught on progressive levels of technical proficiency. In addition, there are partnering, pointe, men’s classes, and concert repertory, which further develop specific skills required of the classically trained dancer.

Modern
American contemporary dance techniques, originated by distinguished dance artists, are studied on progressive levels as a dynamic and developing art form. Technique is amplified by classes in modern partnering, the repertory of classic and current choreography, and collaboration with artists in other disciplines.

Dance Composition
The creative process of choreography is studied through three year-long courses in dance composition, either in modern or ballet idioms, preceded by one year of improvisation. Sophomores and juniors each present choreographic projects. The program culminates in the senior project in composition, performed in the Dance Theatre Lab as a requirement for graduation. Student choreography is auditioned for student concerts, student/faculty concerts, and lecture/demonstrations.

Dance Production
The Conservatory of Dance stresses a comprehensive professional dance curriculum, and dancers should be well versed in all aspects of technical dance production. A student concentrating in dance production receives training in lighting, sound, stage management, video production, and administration. Participation in all Conservatory of Dance productions is emphasized.


Music
The Conservatory of Dance has a strong commitment to the musical training of its students. This is reflected in the curriculum, which includes a historical survey of musical resources and courses that explore the shared elements of temporal arts (meter, tempo, rhythm, dynamics, texture, phrase, form, etc.), coaching for musicality, and score reading, together with extensive listening and analysis.

Dance History
In addition to training in technique and composition, students study the history of dance as an evolving form. Eight credits of dance history are a requirement for graduation. These 8 credits may count toward the liberal arts requirement (30 credits minimum) for the BFA.


For updates during 2013–2015, please visit www.purchase.edu/Departments/AcademicPrograms/Arts/Dance/bacherlorprogramdescription.aspx.

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