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Northwestern School of Communication

Major in Dance

Northwestern University’s dance major offers a comprehensive approach to dance within the context of advanced critical study and praxis. Conceptualizing dance as both a measure of culture and a means of exploring the breadth of human experience, our program centers around cultural plurality and is theoretically aligned with Africanist aesthetics, which manifest in many contemporary idioms.   
Our curriculum places significant emphasis on choreography, composition, and improvisation challenging students to engage in writing, research, and critical thinking to understand dance as a realm of inevitable expression. In tandem, our program aims to expand awareness and proficiency in diverse dance forms through multifaceted practice classes and performance opportunities. 
The learning goals of the dance major are to:
  • Examine what it means to be a body in motion.  
  • Engage with diverse perspectives and practices in dance. 
  • Cultivate embodied knowledge in a variety of dance forms grounded in functional and safe movement practices. 
  • Hone dancemaking skills emphasized on creating original work that reflects personal expression and critical inquiry. 
  • Enhance performance abilities through rigorous practice and rehearsal. 
  • Foster critical thinking skills through the study of dance as a cultural, social, and political phenomenon. 
  • Collaborate effectively with peers, faculty, and visiting artists in the creation and performance of dance works, fostering a supportive and inclusive artistic community. 
  • Build research skills to investigate and analyze dance-related topics, including the integration of interdisciplinary perspectives spanning technology, film, visual cultural, and more.  
  • Develop an understanding of dance history, theory, and criticism. 
  • Interact with faculty consisting of scholars, artist-scholars, choreographers, and practitioners. 
  • Network with guest artists and visiting scholars through practice and professionalization workshops. 
Major requirements specify that students must take and pass courses totaling 13 units. These courses include three introductory courses and a mix of credits from both dance studies and studio practice classes. 

For policies and advising, see Office of Undergraduate Programs and Advising.

Visit the major's Academic Catalog listing to see specific requirements, which include: 

  • Major requirements specify that students must take and pass courses totaling in 13 units. These courses include 4 introductory courses, five Dance Technique courses, and Senior Seminar. Dance majors must also register twice for THEATRE Production Laboratory. 
  • Additional requirements, including distribution requirements, elective requirements and writing proficiency. 

Honors in Dance is available to majors in their senior year. Students work closely with a faculty member to design, execute and present a research project that delves into the study of Dance. Contact the department for more information on eligibility and requirements.