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Undergraduate Program

The BFA training program is a comprehensive, organic approach to dance. Students earn their degree through an intensive three-year plus two-summer curriculum. First-year course work focuses on learning to dance in the most efficient and healthy way. Technique classes emphasize placement and alignment principles. Additional coursework includes dance composition, kinesthetics of anatomy, and music theory.

The second year develops these principles with courses in dance history, acting, improvisation, music literature, and advanced dance composition: tools acquired in music and composition classes in the first year are now integrated in a course involving phrase manipulation as it applies to choreography.

The third year focuses on integrating the previous years of training into staged performance and choreography. Third year students gain professional dance experience as ensemble members of Tisch’s Second Avenue Dance Company.

Elective courses are available to students with specific areas of interests. Along with departmental work, students take required academic courses throughout their stay in the program. Transfer students must complete all department requirements.

First Year

Dance Technique I

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

Creative Research in Dance I

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.

Music Theory and Composition

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 musical experience. The class will be oriented around a series of projects, resulting in a CD and presentation at the year’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 material in an aesthetic, temporal landscape.

Kinesthetics of Anatomy

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

Production Crew in Dance

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

Art in the World (Fall) / The World through Art (Spring)

The Core Curriculum consists of two courses - Art in the World offered in the Fall semester and The World Through Art offered in the Spring semester. All incoming Freshmen must take both semesters. Each course consists of a plenary lecture given by a Tisch Senior Faculty member that meets once a week and a workshop that meets twice a week for both Fall (Writing the Essay) and Spring (Writing the World) semesters. These writing courses are intensive, interdisciplinary and collaborative. Lectures and workshops focus on how to read complex texts for an understanding of their arguments, and how to write well-reasoned essays supported by evidence. These courses are designed to foster an appreciation of how arts relate to each other and to society in a changing world. These courses will allow students to reflect on a range of social and ethical issues as they pertain to their own creativity.

Second Year

Dance Technique II

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

Creative Research in Dance II

Creative Research in Dance II develops compositional skills for students in their second year spring semester. It meets twice a week and expounds upon introductory skills developed in Comp 1A and Improvisation. This course focuses on a “body of work”, developing and deepening movement ideas through translation, adaptation, writing and the cyclical nature of art- making. Students develop research skills necessary for contextualization of work in a larger, global landscape and across disciplines. Students produce choreographies that are born out of ideas and filtered through rigorous discussions, extensive editing sessions, and translations into writing and images and back again. Each student will create solo material and shared, group material, with an emphasis on relational ideas, rhythmic sensitivity, design and performance skills. Repertory will be considered for site-specific/outdoor contexts, ultimately introducing movement practice and performance in response to the built environment, natural environment, and the public sphere.

Improvisation

Improvisation is a second-year, fall semester course that meets twice a week. The class encourages unlimited flexibility in the choreographic process. Within an intellectual concept, improvisation provides a spontaneous adventure in moving by using intuition, felt response and motional sensation to investigate and structure creativity.

Acting

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

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.

Third Year

Creative Research in Dance III

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.