Students passionate about dance have the opportunity to follow their artistic interests by enrolling in Southern Utah University’s Department of Theatre Arts and Dance. The program is accredited by the National Association of School of Dance (NASD) and offers a diverse curriculum of classes and laboratory experiences for dance majors. Labs are offered in studio, stage, and production to give student dancers opportunities to choreograph, design, direct and perform.
A pillar in the humanities, dance requires rigorous training and discipline. The SUU dance department employs both nationally- and internationally-renowned faculty members who are dedicated to sharing their skills and experiences for preparing students for future careers. Instructors are deeply focused and offer a personalized approach to education.
SUU offers both Bachelor of Science (BS) and Bachelor of Arts (BA) degrees in theatre and dance. The university also offers Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degrees in theatre design and technology, classical acting, and musical theatre.
Madi Maynard, a junior from Vernal, Utah, is majoring in dance at SUU. Undecided about a major as a freshman, it did not take her long to discover her passion for dance. “After taking an Intro to Dance course, I quickly fell in love with the program and instructors and knew I needed to study dance,” said Maynard.
Maynard offers 6 reasons why she recommends the SUU dance program.
- Not all homework is the same
Homework as a dance major changes from class to class. While several classes assign you to memorize choreography as homework, others require reading and writing about art and movement. There are a lot of different dance concepts to remember, especially in modern dance, making it important to go over combinations nightly. Though the homework can be difficult and take some time to complete, the more engaged a student is, the easier the homework gets. Students should stay on their toes and be ready to learn.
- Online classes keep you on track
Performance-based dance classes can take a lot of time and focus. Be sure to take some online general education courses to stay on track to be able to graduate in four years. Several prerequisite classes like human anatomy and biology are offered online.
- Time for extracurriculars
As a student, you will have enough free time to join a club, hold a leadership position, or work a part-time job. There are plenty of opportunities for dance majors to work while attending school. In fact, several dance studios in Cedar City employ dance students, giving them a chance to make money while getting some practice.
- Utah Shakespeare Festival offers opportunities
The Utah Shakespeare Festival at SUU offers opportunities to audition for work with a professional theatre production organization. Students are often hired to perform in the summer musical and the Greenshow, sometimes given the chance to assist with choreography.
- Multiple careers to choose from
Dance majors can choose several different pathways. SUU graduates have gone on to work for performance enterprises like Cirque de Soleil or the Utah Shakespeare Festival. Others get teaching certificates for the opportunity to open their own studios and schools. Maynard’s goal is to start a dance program at the high school she graduated from.
- Plenty of performance clubs on campus
There are many campus clubs and groups for dancers to choose from. Dance groups for students include Orchesis or the Waukeenyans. There are also clubs with more specific focus such as the belly dancing and hip hop. No matter your interest, clubs offer chances to work on your talents outside of the classroom. Many dance students join a club to practice areas they have yet to perfect.
Dance majors are kept on their toes with different types of homework, dance clubs, and possible careers to choose from. No matter the choices made, dance majors enjoy their work and surroundings every day. For more information about majoring in dance at SUU, visit Department of Theatre Arts and Dance.