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 History of Dance (OART-UT 701) or Why Dance Matters (OART-UT 703) for 4 units, and then any combination of the courses below so as to add up to a total of 16 units.    


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.

Check Albert for course schedule.

Bodies as Culture: Bodies in Cultural Landscapes

OART-UT 704 | 2 units | Instructor: Check Albert

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. Body as Culture: 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: Check Albert

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.

Check Albert for course schedule.

History of Dance

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

This course will explore why and how dance is 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 will be covered, from its origins in India, to its inclusion in the rituals of Bali, the Noh and Kabuki theatrical traditions of Japan, dances of the Yoruba, Wodaabe, and Dogon tribes of Africa, the rites of passage in Aboriginal Australian dances, and the rituals of Native American tribes. The presentation of dance at Court as a symbol of power will be examined in Catherine de Medici’s Renaissance pageants, and in the Baroque spectacles of Louis XIV's Versailles and the Paris Opera. The inevitable impact of politics on dance will be examined in viewing the French Revolution’s influence upon Romantic ballets such as La Sylphide and Giselle; the propagandist works of China’s Cultural Revolution; and how the repression of a Gypsy 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 in visual arts, music, and drama.

Check Albert for course schedule.

Modern Dance

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.

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.

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.

Check Albert for course schedule.

Steps, Rhythm and Movement of Flamenco Dance

OART-UT 807 | 2 units | Instructor: Najma Harissiadis

This class will embark on an historical dance journey exploring the dances that make up the hybrid form of Flamenco i.e., Banjara Gypsy Dance of Rajesthan (India), Zambra Dances of the Sephardic Jews and Moorish influences. The course will be divided into 3 sections focusing on the contributing characteristics of the dance culminating with Flamenco Dance. Each class will begin with a historical introduction and demonstration of the indigenous forms and how the elements are integrated into Flamenco cultivating a sense of freedom and uniqueness. Periodic viewing of course related videos will be shown, i.e., “Latcho Drom, and “Gypsy Caravan - “When the Road Bends.” Students will be assigned weekly reading, research and practice projects relevant to up and coming course work. All levels are welcome. Dance experience not required.

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.

Check Albert for course schedule.

Steps, Rhythm and Movement of Indian Dance

OART-UT 801 | 2 units | Instructor: Check Albert

This class explores the movement of Indian Dance from the sacred to secular through the manifestation of cosmic energies, symbolism and storytelling, using a wide range of emotions and mudras (gesture language). Rhythmic composition will also be introduced utilizing the verbal expression of rhythm called "bol," which will also be expressed through the footwork and body movements. Various dance styles will be introduced primarily Kathak (Jaipuri Tradition), Yoga Dance, Bhangra warm-up and “Bollywood.” All these forms play a significant role in the mosaic of dance arts of India.

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.

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.

Chinese Minority & Folk Dance (at NYU Shanghai)

ART-SHU 242 | 2 units | Instructor: Check Albert

This course provides an introduction to different minority and ethnic folk dances.  It explores not only the forms of these dances, but also the culture, history, natural environment and at times religion behind the creation of the original dance forms. 

Students can be taught Tibetan, Korean, Uighur, Mongolian, or Dai dances, depending on the semester.

Students learn the legends, stories, and myths surrounding each dance form as well as the distinct movement beats, rhythms, and traditional combinations. This class constitutes a China Art core curriculum requirement. (Available at NYU Shanghai)

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


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.