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Graduate Program

The Department of Dance at Tisch School of the Arts is an internationally acclaimed conservatory program, an incubator for creative and diverse individuals who strive toward a future as professional dancers and choreographers.  

Our graduates have the reputation of being creative muses and innovative choreographers; they perform with world-class dance companies and choreographers, appear on Broadway, at Radio City Music Hall, at The Metropolitan Opera, striking a balance between concert and commercial dance.  

The Master’s degree program is an opportunity for individuals to further their education in dance through physical and academic immersion. Unlike many graduate dance programs, Tisch Dance does not require that applicants have a degree in dance or a dance related field, creating a unique environment where students approach dance in a fresh and innovative manner, using their individual knowledge and experience to expand and explore existing notions of dance and choreography.  The graduate program at Tisch Dance seeks to empower individuals with the ideals that dance is not simply a physical endeavor, but a life-long investigation of individual growth and creativity.

Technique, Academic Dance Course Work, and Creative Research

The Dance Department at Tisch has a strong technical base, requiring all Master’s students to participate in daily ballet and contemporary technique classes; these classes are divided into multiple levels in which graduate students combine with undergraduates (class combining occurs only in technique classes). Additional technique courses include: contemporary and classical partnering, pointe work, men’s class, Yoga, Pilates and other somatic practices. The physical rigor of the program insures that students maintain the highest level of technical practice while simultaneously providing them opportunities to apply newly acquired knowledge from other dance and academic courses.  

In addition to technique classes, graduate students also study music history and theory, dance history, anatomy, acting, critical thinking and analysis of dance, and collaborative practices. These courses provide graduate students the opportunity to research and analyze dance in a critical manner, challenging them to explore new areas of dance study.  In their second year of study students have the option of taking elective courses in dance and new media, music composition, pedagogy, musical collaboration, and lighting design. These courses provide students a comprehensive understanding of the multi-faceted nature of dance and allow them to tailor the program to their individual interests.

A key component of the Master’s program at Tisch is dance composition, required for all students, which is taken throughout the two year program.  This course, taught by leading professionals in the New York dance community, combines elements of composition and improvisation and strives to break down preconceived notions of choreography to discover the individual’s unique choreographic voice.

Second Avenue Dance Company

The final year of study culminates in a modeled professional experience in our resident performing ensemble, the Second Avenue Dance Company (SADC). SADC functions as Tisch Dance’s professional dance company, operating independently from students in their first years of study. Each year, four noteworthy guest choreographers are engaged to create new work or set existing master works, providing students a professional experience and allowing them to explore new styles of dance.  In addition to performing work by guest choreographers, students also develop their own choreography, all of which is showcased in four concerts throughout their SADC year.

Performance

The Dance Department produces twelve concerts each year, a total of 38 nights of performances and upwards of 75 student pieces each year, affording students numerous opportunities to perform and choreograph.  Each concert is supervised by one of our experienced faculty, with whom students work closely to craft their work and bring their artistic vision to life.  Graduate students produce two concerts each year, in which only work choreographed by either the first or second year Master’s students is presented, exhibiting to the school and the New York dance community the caliber of originality and innovation of our graduate students. All performances are produced in a theater with full lights and costumes, allowing students to build a repertoire and gain experience as performers.

 MFA Concentration in Dance and New Media

The Dance Department at Tisch School of the Arts announces its new MFA Concentration in Dance and New Media. Housed in the department’s internationally acclaimed conservatory program, this concentration offers students an intensive exploration of existing and emerging technologies.  Coursework provides both technical and artistic training in the creation, performance, and documentation of works. Areas of research include cinematic dance practices, multimedia performance, streaming media, interactive computing, motion tracking, innovation in dance documentation, and the development of other hardware and software tools for dance.  As part of the larger NYU emerging media community, we collaborate with practitioner/scholars at NYU working across the scope of new media practice and theory. These departments include ITP (Interactive Telecommunications Program), Film, Integrated Digital Media, Animation, Gaming, and the Music Programs at Steinhart.   This program of study culminates in a thesis comprised of a practice-based thesis project and a written work of criticism.

Students involved in the Dance and New Media concentration have more time to work on media projects by having the option of performing less.  It is ideal for the mid-career artist that is looking to create with dance through this medium.

The Dance and New Media concentration assumes depth in dance. We welcome a broad spectrum of media abilities and experiences. Students will engage in Dance and New Media courses while participating in the Tisch Dance MFA curriculum. In addition to the application, prospective Dance and New Media students must participate in a faculty interview, and the MFA audition process. Candidates may also submit an optional New Media Portfolio for review.

In addition to the concentration, Dance and New Media is a  department wide initiative helping students use new media to REACH A GLOBAL AUDIENCE and CREATE IN NEW WAYS via new media.  

Both grad and undergrad have access to Dance and New Media courses.

First Year

    

Dance Technique IM

Daily classes in ballet and contemporary dance technique. Includes pointe class, men's class, partnering, Pilates, and Yoga.

Dance Theory and Composition IM

These courses comprise creative work including choreography and performance. Choreography is approached through exploration of resources, including improvisation, use of ideas, knowledge of forms, development of craft. First-year students receive weekly assignments directed toward specific problems and dance elements. Second-year work develops with an emphasis on the relationship between manipulation of musical phrases and choreography as well as the completion of dances. Work begun in all composition classes may be performed in studio theatre concerts. Other performance opportunities derive from repertory classes, performance workshops, and major dance works choreographed by faculty and guest choreographers that are assigned and also from student and faculty choreography pursued independently outside of coursework.

Graduate Acting

Basic techniques of acting. Course work includes theatre games, acting exercises, and improvisations, which are then integrated with scripted material.

Graduate Music for Choreographers

Students will acquire skills in musicianship, score reading and the elements of music composition.  This is a creative workshop for beginners as well as those with previous music experience.  The class will be oriented around a series of projects, resulting in a CD and presentation at the course's end.  We will also study techniques in digital audio and MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface).  Music composition has undergone rapid changes with the advent of digital audio technology.  However, the basic elements remain the same: the placement of audio materials in an aesthetic, temporal landscape.

Graduate Kinesthetics of Anatomy

A graduate-level study of human anatomy and body alignment through physical experience and exercises guided by the use of image and metaphor.

Graduate Seminar in Dance

Discussion and exploration of dance, as an art, as a career, its role in society, etc. Participants are expected to contribute through research and individual projects.

Graduate Production Crew

Offers working knowledge of lighting and sound equipment, stage management, crew work, programming, publicity, house management, wardrobe, and other technical requirements for dance production. All students, whether graduate or undergraduate, are required to participate each semester in production crew.

Second Year

   

Dance Technique IIM

Daily classes in ballet and contemporary dance technique. Includes pointe class, men's class, partnering, Pilates, and Yoga.

Dance Theory and Composition IM

These courses comprise creative work including choreography and performance. Choreography is approached through exploration of resources, including improvisation, use of ideas, knowledge of forms, development of craft. First-year students receive weekly assignments directed toward specific problems and dance elements. Second-year work develops with an emphasis on the relationship between manipulation of musical phrases and choreography as well as the completion of dances. Work begun in all composition classes may be performed in studio theatre concerts. Other performance opportunities derive from repertory classes, performance workshops, and major dance works choreographed by faculty and guest choreographers that are assigned and also from student and faculty choreography pursued independently outside of coursework.

Production Crew in Dance

Offers working knowledge of lighting and sound equipment, stage management, crew work, programming, publicity, house management, wardrobe, and other technical requirements for dance production. All students, whether graduate or undergraduate, are required to participate each semester in production crew.

Survey of 20th Century Music and Beyond

This course will present an overview of music from the past hundred years with a focus on listening and imaginative analyses. We will also discuss the historical background of music leading up to the 20th century, and we will work on the basic musicianship required to understand musical forms and developments. Along the way, we will look at the relationship of dance to this music.

Research and Writing: Contemporary Performance Practice

This course is designed to give the student a fuller understanding of the aesthetics of current contemporary dance, and to explore research and writing techniques. We will focus on three dance companies who will be presenting new works in New York City during our semester. Students will work to strengthen articulation, clarity, and overall skill in written expression, particularly in analyses of new dance work. We hope to gain rare insight into the artistic process via first-hand interaction with choreographers in discussion or master class format. Students will research each company’s background, working methods, and the relationship of the company to other art forms. We will also look into the various elements of production. Students will emerge from the class with a sharper perspective on the contemporary dance world, and, it is hoped , a clearer sense of their own direction in the field.

Dance Electives

   

Choreographers’, Composers’ and Designers’ Workshop

Choreographers’, Composers’ and Designers’ Workshop, is a collaborative performance project of Tisch Dance, utilizing design teams (lighting, costumes and sets) drawn from the Graduate Department of Design for Stage and Film and composers drawn from Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program, who work with the choreographers to produce dance/theater works which are then fully produced and performed. Each choreographic project has a text source, although its ultimate use within the work can vary greatly. The choreographers meet on a weekly basis with the designers and composers to discuss and decide on set, costume, lighting and musical choices and the design and composing teams also attend rehearsals to continue the collaborative process. The class has a choreographing mentor who attends weekly rehearsals, as well as design and composing mentors. The pieces are presented in a rather elaborate concert with live music at the end of the semester.

Dance for the Camera

Students will have hands-on experience in videodance production through exploration/production of several short individual and group videodance projects. Class will cover issues in creative and conceptual thinking, pre/post-video production, camera techniques, non-linear editing, choreography for the camera and creating sound scores.

Dance and New Media

Students will have hands on experience in learning the technologies that enable dancers and dance-makers to enhance, promote, reach their audience.  Through master “taster” sessions students will be introduced to digital dance filmmaking, coding for performance, multiple projections, motion capture, social & new media, and multi-camera live performance streaming.  Collaborations and “taster” sessions with faculty from ITP, Steinhardt, Film, and Stern provide students with the resources they can use in their further studies in the Dance and New Media Concentration.  Students will also have training sessions with industry professionals and world renowned artists.

More

Graduate History of Dance

A study of the function of dance as art and ritual, social activity, spectacle, and entertainment through a survey of ethnic dance forms and the history of European tradition.

Graduate Independent Study I

Students are permitted to engage in individual research and specific projects in a selected field under the supervision of a member of the faculty and with the permission of their department chair. To register for this course, the student must obtain the written approval of his or her faculty adviser.

Lighting Design and Production for the Dancer

Departmental elective for B.F.A. and M.F.A. students. Practical and creative aspects of lighting design for dance. Students are encouraged to design lights for concert pieces performed during the semester.