The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Dance FAQ

UMass Dancers

Frequently Asked Questions      Link to Dance Handbook >>

-What is the audition/admission process?
Admission to the Dance Program is a two-part process.  Applicants must first apply to the University using the Common Application - Admissions Office.  Applicants then apply to the Dance Program by submitting a Dance Application Form, which includes uploading a personal statement and a movement sample for BA applicants. BFA applicants must also attend an audition; there is an audition sign-up section on the form.  We are not looking for a specific or particular kind of dancer. We encourage dancers from all training backgrounds to apply. 

-Can I minor in Dance?
No, the Dance program does not offer a minor. 

-What's the difference between the BFA and BA degree tracks?
The BFA track is intended for students who are interested in studying Dance intensively with a focus on performance and choreography. To earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance, students must take sixteen courses in technique and fourteen courses in theory.

The BA track is intended for students who are interested in studying Dance in the context of a liberal arts education and allows students to combine dance studies with other fields of interest. To earn a Bachelor of Arts in Dance, students must take eight courses in technique and fourteen courses in theory. 

-What choreography opportunities are there for Dance majors?
Dance majors are required to take Composition I, II, and III. Depending on the instructor of the course and college where the student chooses to take it, there may be a requirement to create a piece for a final concert.
Dance majors are also required to take an Integrative Experience course through which they are mentored in creating their Junior Choreography Projects. The JCP concert is held in late April.
BFA Dance majors are also required to create a senior thesis work- a 12 minute dance that culminates their studies in Dance at UMass. Seniors hold an audition for their works in the Fall semester and rehearse weekly in this year-long process. The senior thesis concert is held in early March. 

-Can Dance majors double major?
Yes, Dance majors can double major. Students can choose between pursuing a double major (which requires choosing one major as a “primary” and the other as “secondary) or a dual degree. If Dance is a student’s secondary major (in the instance of double major, NOT dual degree), they are not required to complete Junior Writing (Writing About Dance), Integrative Experience, or Senior Seminar within the Dance program. 

-Can Dance majors study abroad?
Yes, Dance majors can participate in international and domestic exchange programs. Recently, Dance majors have studied abroad in London, Barcelona, Florence, and Israel. More info =>

-How big is the program?
The Dance program is small, ranging from 50-60 majors, allowing for individualized mentorship and attention from faculty. The student-to-faculty ratio is 10-1. 

-Can Dance majors be on Dance Team or other dance organizations on campus?
Yes.  All Registered Student Organizations (RSOs) are student run, so your experience will be working within peer-directed rehearsals and performances.

-Can I take class without being a major?
Yes, non-majors can enroll in Dance program classes that are of an appropriate level with permission from the instructor and space-permitting. Please contact the instructor directly.

-If I’m not a Dance major, can I audition for productions?
Yes, non-Dance majors can audition for faculty and student work at UMass and within the Five College Dance Department. 

-How can I place into Advanced-level technique courses?
Students must attend the Five College Dance Advanced Placement Ballet and Modern/Contemporary auditions in September or get permission from the instructor of a specific course. 

-Can I continue intensive dance training with a double major?
In general, it is challenging but doable to maintain rigorous dance training with a second major. The Dance program has seen many driven, organized, and self-motivated students achieve this successfully. Students should plan on utilizing the Five College Dance Department to fit technique and theory classes into their schedules.

-What would my schedule look like as a dance major?
Day(s) in the Life: link to sample schedules on the Dance Programs webpage =>