The Dance MFA Program

The MFA program in the Conservatory of Dance contains two closely allied and interrelated tracks: choreography and performance/teaching. Throughout this highly focused, two-year professional training program, the MFA candidate researches and develops a strong sense of personal artistic identity as a performing artist or choreographer.

A central component and driving force of both curricula is the choreology sequence of courses. This holistic examination of choreography as a branch of knowledge or field of research—exploring the related history, design, music, theatre, and visual arts and the social and political pressures through which specific masterworks emerged—informs the choreographer and performer. In the context of this study, students in both tracks present their choreography or performance each semester.

Classes on the MFA level are small, personal, and intensive. In the master-apprentice tradition, admission to the MFA program is highly selective. The training reflects contemporary standards and directions; fosters artistic, creative, and intellectual growth; and prepares students to enter the professional field, as it is evolving today, in careers as faculty in higher education, freelance choreographers, dance company directors, dance studio founders and directors, and directors and faculty of professional training programs.

Coursework in both MFA tracks includes choreology, choreography, modern and/or ballet technique, improvisation, music seminars, studio and composition pedagogy, and graduate seminars. Each student presents graduate showings in the area of their selected track each semester. The course content is balanced to reflect the area of concentration.

Criteria for Acceptance

  1. Completion of an undergraduate degree.
  2. Demonstrate expertise in either modern dance or classical ballet at the required dance audition, and pass the audition.
  3. Submission of:
    1. a résumé;
    2. transcripts of all prior undergraduate experiences;
    3. a DVD or YouTube link of the applicant’s work, performance, or teaching;
    4. a personal-statement essay; and
    5. professional and personal letters of recommendation.
  4. Choreography-track students must have mounted (and provide evidence of) their choreography over a minimum of the past two to four years.
  5. Performance/teaching-track students must have had (and provide evidence of) a professional performing career. At the required dance audition, they must qualify for the highest level of BFA technique.

For details and deadlines, please refer to the application instructions available online at the Office of Admissions, www.purchase.edu/Departments/Admissions/ApplicationInstructions/conservatoryofdance.aspx.


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

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