Minor in Dance

Explore the diversity and complexity of movement around the world.

Develop a certain mastery of various dance forms from classes whose focus spans countries like China and India or continents such as Africa and Europe. You will learn modern dance and ballet, learn techniques of choreography, perform actual dance forms, and understand the history and sociocultural factors shaping those forms. You will receive instructional training in movement and choreography in order to better understand the relation of your body to specific movements and how to construct a dance sequence.

"The Steps, Rhythm, and Movement classes really gives students the opportunity to explore something different about different cultures.” –Aisha Casas, NYU Gallatin alumna    

Minor in Dance Curriculum

You must complete 16 units for the minor. It is recommended that you take World Dance Cultures (OART-UT 701) or Why Dance Matters (OART-UT 703) for 4 units or Art is a Hammer (ART-SHU 610), for NYU Shanghai students, and then any combination of the courses below so as to add up to a total of 16 units.

Please note: Not all courses are offered during all academic sessions. Check Albert for course schedule and work with your academic advisor to plan accordingly. Courses listed are allocated to the Minor. For courses with an OART-UT prefix, course registration is first come, first served and open to all undergraduates - reserved spaces or guaranteed seats are not available for the Minor. For department major courses, refer to the 'Notes' section in Albert for additional departmental requirements and non-major procedures. Courses offered at the School of Professional Studies are not eligible to count toward Tisch Minors.

Ballet I

OART-UT 806 | 2 units | Instructor: Selina Chau

This course is an introduction to the fundamentals of classical ballet technique. Looking into the evolution of ballet from the time of Louis XIV through the present, students will explore the different styles of training and performance presentation through the use of images, video, practice and discussions. Reading assignments will be provided to explain how social changes have affected the development of ballet technique and choreography. A thorough warm-up will be given in each class. The technical content will vary according to the skill level of the class and the individual dancer. Through the instruction of proper alignment and dynamic imagery, students will learn how to dance safely and improve their technical skills effectively. All levels are welcome. No previous dance experience is required. The course is designed to help students develop a clean and precise technical base for ballet dancing. Through practice and application, students will understand the unique structure of their own bodies and expand their awareness of self and others. They will discover new technical capabilities regarding flexibility, strength, coordination, balance and their comprehension of the ballet form in relation to music, space, time and energy. Eventually students will experience how the mind, body and breath come together to produce greater freedom in movement. Discussions will examine how this informs personal interactions in everyday life. Students are encouraged to study the different styles of ballet and ballet performers around the world. For the final group project, students will choreograph a short ballet that incorporates ballet vocabulary, dance or pedestrian movements and an idea that’s related to today’s society.

NOTE: There is a liability insurance fee associated with this course.

Check Albert for course schedule.

Ballet II

OART-UT 811 | 2 units | Instructor: Selina Chau


This course is a continuation of classical ballet training designed for students who have had previous training or have taken Ballet I and are looking to further develop their technique, learn new steps and expand their vocabulary at the intermediate level. 

In Ballet I, we traced the basic ballet vocabulary back to the time of its birth at the court of Louis the XIV. Students developed their ballet technique, and experienced the growth of ballet up to the early-1900s avant-garde choreography of the Ballet Russes. The period that followed is considered the most pivotal in ballet history, and it is this era that will be the focus of Ballet II. 

Students in Ballet II will not only look into the different training styles of ballet technique, but will also learn about some of the 20th century's most famous ballet dancers, as well as notable ballet productions from both the East and the West.

NOTE: There is a liability insurance fee associated with this course.

View course schedule in Albert.

Bodies in Cultural Landscapes

OART-UT 706 | 4 units| Instructor: Patricia Hoffbauer

Note: Open to all undergraduate students, with the exception of those who have already taken OART-UT 704 Body as Culture OR OART-UT 705 Body as Entertainment/Commerce.

This course examines the Western fascination with the moving body in different cultural environments and throughout colonial and postcolonial historical periods until the present time. It will begin by investigating early images and artistic representation of the body in motion captured by European ethnographers at the turn of the 19th century, and continue tracing it to current trends of contemporary culture. The goal of this course is to develop a critical understanding of the culture built around the body as subject as well as a marker of otherness. This course will offer students an opportunity to study and articulate, intellectually and physically, the legibility of bodies in motion within different cultural landscapes. Bodies in Cultural Landscapes will provide an open forum in which to investigate human movement within the specific aesthetic system and cultural practice of early ethnographic representation to contemporary culture’s engagement with the moving body. It will offer insight into personal and cultural identity, stimulating an expanded recognition and appreciation of difference. This course offers students the opportunity to explore simultaneously their intellect (in class viewing, readings and discussions), as well as in the presentation of their own version of ethnographic research and representation based on a topic of their choice discussed with instructor. Students will engage weekly with exercises and assignments based on course material.

Check Albert for course schedule.


OART-UT 805 | 2 units | Instructor: Patricia Hoffbauer

The purpose of this studio course is to enable the student to gain an appreciation and knowledge of dance creation through movement exploration and performance. We focus on the foundations of choreography through better understanding use of space, control, aesthetics, alignment, musicality, development of learning strategies within a duet/group context, as well as personal and artistic expression. Each student will make solos, duets, and collaborative group work as well as present their work to an audience at the end of the semester.

NOTE: There is a liability insurance fee associated with this course.

Check Albert for course schedule.

The Dancing Body in Practice and Theory

OART-UT 707 | 3 units

Part studio and part seminar, The Dancing Body focuses on the practice and history of movement and choreography in the context of Modern Dance and Performance Art in the second half of the 20th century. Though the exploration of ideas in cultural studies/dance studies essays, reviews, and writings by dance artists, students will engage with a range of physical activities and conceptual performances in practice and theory. This course offers a unique opportunity for students to simultaneously pursue creative/physical practices while exploring the intellectual discourse that informs them. The goal of this class is to generate an artistic environment where students develop collaborative relationships throughout the creative process individually as well as collectively.

Check Albert for course schedule.

Iconic Dances

OART-UT 813 | 4 units | Instructor: Check Albert

This course is a laboratory for students interested in exploring the works of master choreographers, exposing them to an in-depth study of choreography by focusing on the steps, rhythm, structure, style and historical/conceptual contexts of iconic choreographic works ranging from 19th-century romantic ballet to contemporary work. This exploration will be accomplished physically: students will learn dance excerpts with attention to the physical details of steps, style and phrasing, allowing them to acclimate their own bodies to the universe of specific choreographies. Students will be able to execute these choreographic works while developing a deeper understanding for the choreographers’ creative process and artistic decisions, inviting them to physically experience major artistic shifts in19th- and 20th-century dance aesthetics as they immerse themselves in the process of choreographic reconstruction.  From classical ballet’s ideals of beauty, to the uses of narrative and the social/political/religious function of classicism, and finally through to the deconstruction of dance tradition in postmodern performances, this course exposes students to dance’s living archive while encouraging them to develop a critical perspective on the art of dance, its historical impact and future directions.

Each session will be devoted to the recreation of seminal works from a variety of styles—Cambodian dance, Ballet, modern dance, postmodern dance, etc. Beginning with a twenty-minute warm-up based on a physical technique tailored to each specific style (whether a simple ballet warm-up, basic Horton technique, Pilate’s based exercises, etc.), physical technique will be complemented with readings, viewings and discussion that focus on each historical work. All readings and viewings will be uploaded to create easy access for students. For midterm, students will perform one of the works already covered. For the final project, students will choose a favorite work covered over the semester and develop—in dialogue with the instructor—a solo, duet or a small group piece based on this work. For two weeks preceding these projects, students will build a compositional method based on the creative process of their chosen work. Details and guidelines about the final project will be discussed individually with the instructor. In addition, students will write a three-page paper on their chosen work due on the penultimate week, with guidelines distributed at the beginning of the semester.

Check Albert for course schedule.

Modern Dance: Mind-Body Knowledge and Expression

OART-UT 804 | 2 units | Instructor: Check Albert

This course is an introduction to the fundamental concepts of Modern Dance technique that focuses on the dynamic rapport between body-mind knowledge and expression. In movement, students will become more aware and organized in their bodies. They will explore certain aesthetic characteristics that help to define dance material as “Modern” or contemporary. Through structured improvisation and teamwork approaches students will learn to dance from the inside out, exercise choice with imagination and work together as an ensemble. Ultimately, students will gain an appreciation for the expressive capacity of the body, recognizing shared, unifying attributes and those that are unique and intrinsic to each individual. Some techniques utilized will be Limón, Bartenieff and Doris Humphrey.

NOTE: There is a liability insurance fee associated with this course.

Check Albert for course schedule.

Modern Dance II: Mind-Body Integration

OART-UT 812 | 2 units

This course is a level II Contemporary Practice that further improves on physical training as an exploration between mind-body knowledge and expression. The class focuses on the physical articulation of various movement vocabularies, collaborative exploration of partnering, and ongoing in-class discussion to deepen the connection of self-awareness through learning and executing movement. Each class will involve set choreographic material as well as improvisation practice as teaching tools to deeply inform movement training with intention, efficiency and artistry. Students will be encouraged to pay close attention to their own movement learning experience instead of focusing on replicating the movement they learn. The course’s guiding movement principles are rooted in Bartenieff Fundamentals. Movement material will include floor work, traveling, balancing, jumping, turning and will be shaped by these principles. Previous modern, contemporary or equivalent experience is required. 

Check Albert for course schedule.

Performing Anatomy: Body Technology

OART-UT 708 | 4 units

This course may be substituted toward the Minor in Dance.

In Performing Anatomy: Body Technology, students will experiment with human anatomy as technology. We will begin this process by practicing movement phrases that survey the design of our anatomy. In this case, anatomical design refers to the muscular, skeletal, and proprioceptive systems that stabilize us. We will then build onto this knowledge through investigations in biomechanics like motion, force, momentum, and balance. Our physical practice in the studio will be supplemented by reviewing images, texts, sound and video as reference material. Students will periodically produce short studies across forms of media wherein they are tasked to translate the anatomical information learned into original compositions. These multidisciplinary studies finalize each module and are presented in a final performance.

Check Albert for course schedule.

Site-Specific to Immersive Dance Theatre: Choreographing for Unconventional Formats and Spaces

OART-UT 810 | 2 units | Instructor: Danielle Russo

In this course, New York City – from its celebrated urban expanse to its lesser-known gems – will be our studio and our stage. There is no better way to experience the city than by immersing your body and your art into its many diverse landscapes. Site-Specific to Immersive Dance Theater: Choreographing for Unconventional Formats and Spaces is a research-to-practice course reconsidering the function, philosophy and reality of an evolving stage, choreographic process, and performing body. Not only is New York a conduit for local to international dance and theater, but it is also a safe space for artists to resist the norm and re-imagine models for making. Students will have the opportunity to create original choreographies on Governors Island, Brooklyn Museum and alongside Third Rail Projects’ "Then She Fell." Past experience in movement and/or performance training is not required.

NOTE: There is a liability insurance fee associated with this course.

Check Albert for course schedule

Steps, Rhythm and Movement of African Dance

OART-UT 800 | 2 units | Instructor: Pat Hall

A beginning/intermediate level dance class designed to introduce students to the wide array of African dances, with a primary focus on the regions of West Africa, and percussion rhythms. Live percussion ensembles will provide the music for this course.

The historical background of the origins of each dance form will be explored in course through dance and lecture.

NOTE: There is a liability insurance fee associated with this course.

Check Albert for course schedule.

Steps, Rhythm and Movement of Hip-Hop Dance

OART-UT 808 | 2 units | Instructor: Alan Watson

This is an introduction to the dances and rhythms from different styles that comprise Hip-Hop dance today. The first stage of the course will explore the wide array of styles that comprise and influence Hip-Hop movement. This course will not only introduce steps, but investigate root moves and historical context that shaped contemporary Hip-Hop today. During the course, students will also discuss the current and emerging trends of the genre. As an ever-evolving dance, this class will focus on budding dance styles, such as Flexing, Lite feet and Finger Tuts, comparing and contrasting those to case studies of past styles that emerged, (or re-emerged) to become heavily popularized such as Gliding, Krumping and Waacking. Additionally students will explore the globalized nature of Hip-Hop. To see the full evolution, students will see how other cultures have embraced and left their mark street styles, and how international dance battles and competitions have emerged, ultimately changing the landscape of Hip-Hop dance. Over the course of study students will begin to realize the complexity, the history and the varying opinions focused around Hip-Hop.

NOTE: There is a liability insurance fee associated with this course.

Check Albert for course schedule.

Why Dance Matters

OART-UT 703 | 4 units | Instructor: Patricia Beaman

Traversing Europe, the Americas, and Asia, this course investigates the various social, political, and historical contexts that have contributed to the evolution of dance, and conversely, explores the ways that performers and choreographers have utilized the medium of dance to reflect their personal concerns back to society in powerful ways.  Artistic movements, choreographers, and dancers examined will include Vaudevillian tropes; the impact of the Industrial Revolution on ballet; sexual manipulation in the roles of Nijinsky; the political work of early modern dancers; WW I and II and its aftermath in the German Ausdruckstanz of Mary Wigman, Kurt Jooss, and in Japanese Butoh; the propagandist ballets of the Chinese Cultural Revolution; exploration of the commonplace in the psychological dance-theater of Antony Tudor and Pina Bausch; the anthropological research of black choreographers Katherine Dunham and Pearl Primus; exploration of Postmodern rebellion of the Judson Dance Theater; and the response of choreographers and performance artists to the Culture Wars and the AIDS crisis. Students will pursue extended research, view performance videos and documentaries, and be expected to write and talk about dance.

Check Albert for course schedule.

World Dance Cultures

OART-UT 701 | 4 units | Instructor: Patricia Beaman

NOTE: This class was previously titled “History of Dance.”

This course explores why and how dance acts as a vital participant in cultural practices around the world. Looking back through the perspective of present research, we will examine how dance is inherently a reflection of the culture it represents. A wide overview of dance and its myriad purposes will be covered, from a means of worship in India, Turkey, and Haiti; its inclusion in the rituals of Bali; noh and kabuki theatrical traditions of Japan; fertility and death ceremonies of the Wodaabe, Yoruba, and Dogon tribes of Africa; the healing zar dances of North Africa, and the rituals/activism of Native American tribes. The presentation of court dance as a symbol of power will be examined in Hawai’i, Java, and Cambodia, as well as in Catherine de Medici’s Renaissance pageants and in the French Baroque spectacles of Louis XIV's Versailles and the Paris Opera. The inevitable impact of politics on dance will be examined in viewing the bloody genocide of Cambodia’s Royal Dancers; the propagandist works of China’s Cultural Revolution; the French Revolution’s influence upon Romantic ballets such as La Sylphide and Giselle; and how the repression of a Gitano culture led to the emergence of flamenco in Spain. In addition to written texts and video documentation, we will review examples of related art forms (visual arts, music, and drama).

Check Albert for course schedule.

Sensors, Body, & Motion (at NYU Abu Dhabi)

IM-UH 3114 | 4 units | Instructor: Check Albert

Using computer vision, machine learning, gesture recognition, wearable technology, projection mapping, a variety of sensors, and openFrameworks (C++), students will create interactive art and performances that leverage the full potential of the human body. Directly injecting "people-sensing" into an artwork via these readily accessible open source technologies, generates a unique feedback loop, or dialogue-like relationship, where a person and a computer are continuously reacting to each other's senses. This course will examine this feedback loop, specifically how a person is directly integrated into the artistic expression of the work. Ultimately, students will create interactive installations and performances where the human body is the central component of the artwork.

Check Albert for course schedule

Art Is A Hammer (at NYU Shanghai)

ART-SHU 610 | 4 units | Instructor: Check Albert

“Art is not a mirror that reflects reality, but a hammer with which to shape it.” - Bertolt Brecht, theatre maker.

Every artistic tradition was once an act of rebellion. Everything in popular culture was once punk. In this course, we will examine the history of performance, literature, music, visual art, and film to find groundbreaking acts of artistic rebellion and discover how they shattered norms, affected their contemporaries, and changed how we look at art today. Students will explore theories from a wide range of global practices and respond with short essays and artistic projects, which they will use to propose their own manifestos to challenge modern customs, redefine what it means to be an artist, and shape new realities in their community.

Check Albert for Course Schedule

Ballet (at NYU Shanghai)

ART-SHU 230 | 2 units | Instructor: Check Albert

This course is an introduction to the fundamental concepts of Ballet. Students learn from classical, neo-classical, or modern ballet repertoire depending on the semester.

The class warm-up content will vary according to the skill level of the class’ participants. Students are asked to focus on mastery of technical capabilities, with emphasis on flexibility, strength, coordination, and balance, improving their overall comprehension of ballet form.

Students are expected to perform in the end-of-the-semester show. (Available at NYU Shanghai)

Check Albert for course schedule.

Composition (at NYU Shanghai)

ART-SHU 340 | 4 units | Fall ONLY | Instructor: Check Albert

This is an advanced choreography class designed as a laboratory for investigating and expanding our own creativity for the construction of full dance pieces. We will learn how developing a creative practice can not only facilitate dance making and choreography of longer length pieces, but also enrich our role as a creative, thinking dancer and performer, and as informed and articulate dance viewer. This is a four point performance class and this course offers a variety of opportunities for students to show their work in public. Prerequisites for this class are ART-SHU 239.2 Choreography & Performance or ART-SHU 239.4 Choreography & Performance.

Check Albert for course schedule

Choreography & Performance (at NYU Shanghai)

ART-SHU 239.4-001/239.2-001 | 2/4 units | Instructor: Aly Rose

The purpose of this course is to enable the student to gain an appreciation and knowledge of choreography through team building skills, collaboration, and the creative process, with a focus on movement exploration and performance.

Through individual and collective participation in bodywork, contact improvisation, developing phrases, and playing an active role in the final performance, students are physically and conceptually challenged and informed. Through better understanding space, control, aesthetics, alignment, and musicality as well as practicing learning strategies within a duet/group context, the student gains an appreciation not only for self and collective discovery, but also for the creative process underlining and shaping personal and artistic expression.

Students also learn through viewing and analyzing well-known Choreographers’ works, whether live in a performance hall or via DVD shown in class. The student’s ability to create and set work, individually and collaboratively, is the core of the class.

Check Albert for course schedule

Contemporary Dance (at NYU Shanghai)

ART-SHU 225A-001/225B-001 | 2/4 units | Instructor: Aly Rose

This course is an introduction to the fundamental concepts of dance through learning a diversity of movement styles. Students will gain an appreciation for the expressive and dynamic capacity of the body, recognizing shared, unifying attributes as well as those that are unique and intrinsic to each style. The thorough warm up places an emphasis on breath and proper placement for safe practices and general health. It includes floor work, stretching and strengthening exercises and patterns that incorporate elements of yoga, tai qi, and Horton techniques. Short dances and sequences will be learned to sharpen kinesthetic memory, foster joy in movement, and express the timelessness of all dance. All levels are welcome. No previous experience is required.

Check Albert for course schedule

Dance for Camera (at NYU Shanghai)

ART-SHU 246 | 4 units | Instructor: Check Albert

This 4 point praxis course will explore the choreographic and cinematic aspects of producing dance for the camera. A dance for the camera is a synthesis between the various techniques of film/video and the act of choreography. This course will encourage you to expand the skills you developed in previous dance or choreography classes, and to focus on the difficult yet rewarding process of creative collaboration, producing films in groups.

Pre-requisites to this class are ART-SHU 239.2 Choreography & Performance or ART-SHU 239.4 Choreography & Performance or ART-SHU 306 Moving Images I or ART-SHU 307 Moving Images II.

Check Albert for course schedule

Minority & Folk Dance (Northern China) (At NYU Shanghai)

ART-SHU 243 | 2 units | Tao Siye

This fall semester course provides an introduction to minority and ethnic folk dances in northern China It explores the forms of these dances as well as the culture, religion, history, and natural environments influencing the creation of these dance forms.

For this semester the focus will be on Yianbian Korean, Uighur or Mongolian minorities. Students learn the legends, stories, and myths surrounding each dance form as well as the distinct movement beats, rhythms, and traditional combinations. This course counts towards the Chinese Arts Minor (2020).

Check Albert for course schedule.

Minority & Folk Dance (Southern China) (at NYU Shanghai)

ART-SHU 242 | 2 units | Instructor: Tao Siye

This spring semester course provides an introduction to minority and ethnic folk dances in southern China.  It explores the forms of these dances as well as the culture, religion, history, and natural environments influencing the creation of these dance forms. 

For this semester the focus will be on Tibetan, Dai or Wa minorities.Students learn the legends, stories, and myths surrounding each dance form as well as the distinct movement beats, rhythms, and traditional combinations. This course counts towards the Chinese Arts Minor (2020).

Check Albert for course schedule.


All students declaring a Minor must receive a grade of C or above in order to have the course count towards a Tisch Minor.

Course Allocations

No more than one (1) class or a maximum of four (4) units can be used to substitute a Minor designated class. Students cannot substitute required classes for the Minors.

As of spring 2015, regarding double-counting of courses for Tisch students: students who have any combination of Tisch majors/minors will only be permitted to count one course towards both areas. Tisch minor courses can be double-counted between two Tisch minors. For all other NYU students, students' should follow their home school academic policies.