Every month Role Call Prep shares dance career tips and industry advice to help advance young artist’s skills. This month we talk about college curriculums.
by Sarah Horne
Do not overlook or overestimate the importance of a dance department curriculum!
Diving into a course catalog, one that describes the types of classes being offered, is not only fun -- but it’s very revealing. It will show you the focus a school has and what they think is important to offer. This is essential in helping you decide if the school is a good fit for you.
You can find a course catalog online or by asking the department for one.
Here are 5 Things to Look at in Your Dance School Curriculum:
When you are checking out the program’s curriculum, make sure to notice (or ask if you cannot find this information) how long each class is and how many times a week you will be taking it.
Find out the average number of people in each class. What is the studio to faculty ratio in your performing classes and in your academic classes? This will help you determine how much individual attention you are likely to receive.
Your course load will likely be straightforward the first year or two so you can get core requirements out of the way. But after that first or second year, what will your schedule look like? You don’t have to know everything now but comparing program tracks can help you decide where you want to go to school.
As artists it’s important to be pushed by different ideas and experiences, and ensuring that you are in a program that provides this for you is definitely something to consider. Diversity in your surroundings is just as important as your academic curriculum.
A few places to start: is the student population diverse? Are there program participants from various backgrounds and ethnicities, like BIPOC students and teachers? Are there international students? What’s the ratio of men to women? Besides people in the program, what types of classes are required vs elective? Is there a study abroad program?
Let’s talk about the faculty. It may seem obvious but this is super important because these are the people that will be teaching you! So, look at a professor’s training but also look at who they are. What is their background, passion, and expertise in? If you can’t find this in the department catalog then you should find it on the school’s website or by a simple internet search.
Also look at where visiting professors are coming from and what type of companies the department brings in as guest artists. See how long they are there for and if you get to perform with them!
When a school says they offer a certain style, does that mean they teach one class or a series of classes on the topic? Every department is different!
Some departments have one main style they teach and other programs may have multiple styles. Some will have conservatory style training within a university structure or some will be more independent. If you know what you want to focus on, make sure to look for the progression of classes within that track.
Some schools will give you credit if you are working professionally for a company while matriculating. Other schools may offer certifications in yoga or pilates or other bodywork practices. Look at the flexibility and opportunity and decide what is important for you.
Most of all: Do your research! Only you know what is important to YOU.
Just make sure to think about what types of courses you want to take to ensure that you are prepared for the professional world.
You got this!
Questions or Concerns? Always feel free to reach out to us!
Photo Credit: Element 5 Digital
Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team: