Immerse yourself in the study of modern dance, ballet, jazz, hip-hop, tap and more with a major in Dance from Dean College.

Program Overview 

Raise the barre. Dance offers a powerful path to creative expression and artistic fulfillment.

A Bachelor of Arts in Dance from the Joan Phelps Palladino School of Dance at Dean College provides an ideal blend of purposeful liberal arts studies and conservatory-level training needed to prepare you for success, both on and off the stage.

For more than 50 years, Dean has been a nationally recognized educational center for dance. We are the only college in New England to offer both associate and bachelor's degree programs in Dance, as well as a minor and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance. Our dedicated faculty and staff foster creativity, broaden perspectives, expand knowledge, develop proficiency, and prepare you for excellence in the field of dance.

Combining our rigorous, well-rounded technical training with a purposeful liberal arts curriculum, our program is ideal for those pursuing performance, choreography, teaching, studio management or other fields. This degree combines academic courses in dance history, dance composition, Laban Movement Analysis, dance pedagogy, writing for the arts, anatomy and kinesiology with conservatory-level training in all techniques. Starting in your first year, you’ll have opportunities to perform, create and engage in real-world experiences.

You can choose a concentration in your area of interest:

A liberal arts core will compliment your training. You can also broaden your career options by adding a double major or minor in a related field.

Audition and Program Requirements

Dean College dancers performing on stage

About the Dance Program

Learn more about what it’s like to major in Dance at Dean College.

Dean College dancers being instructed by Todd Shanks during class

Q&A With The Program Coordinator

Get your questions answered by Todd Shanks, Dance Program Coordinator.

Dean College athletic trainer working with a dancer

Meet Our Performing Arts Athletic Trainer

Hear from our Performing Arts Athletic Trainer, Amanda Donahue, about how she provides athletic training services to Dance and Theatre students.

Dean College dance professor instructing students during class

Joan Phelps Palladino School of Dance Faculty

Meet our hard-working faculty who are both subject-matter experts and dance professionals.

Beyond the Classroom

Dean College dancers performing onstage Starting your first year on campus, you’ll have extensive opportunities to perform, choreograph and engage in real-world experience.
  • The world-renowned Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater offers private auditions for Dean students interested in professional summer study.
  • Our dancers have participated in highly selective performances at the Kennedy Center, Joyce Theater and Ailey Citigroup Theater.
  • The Joan Phelps Palladino School of Dance participates in the American College Dance Festival (ACDF), where we've ranked in the top 30 schools nationally. Choreographic works by Dean students have been chosen for performance in the ACDF gala at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC.
  • Study abroad in the vibrant capital city of Buenos Aires, Argentina through DanceAbroad Argentina, and enjoy intensive Spanish language immersion and concentrated studies in dance.
  • Our dance majors have interned at Jacob’s Pillow, Lincoln Center, Battery Dance Company, Broadway Dance Center, Rhee Gold, Boston Ballet and the National Dance Education Organization. They’ve taught creative movement in public schools, worked side by side with our athletic trainer and helped spearhead new dance conventions.

And when you graduate, you’ll be prepared to be an entertainer, entrepreneur and artist in the field. Our graduates have successful careers as performers, choreographers, dance journalists, instructors, studio owners, directors and dance therapists, working for companies such as the Boston Ballet, Disney Corporation, The Rockettes, Norwegian Cruise Lines, The Kraft Group and so much more.

Uniquely Dean

A Dean College dancer performing onstage during a performance. Through Dean’s Dance program, you’ll be performing and learning in real-world settings beginning in your first semester.
  • Participate in first-year dance seminars that help you discover the relationship of dance to other fields of study and introduce possible career paths to help you design your future.
  • Experience live music in class performed by talented local musicians.
  • Take master classes with dancers from Boston Ballet, Cirque du Soleil, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Broadway, Ballet West, The Martha Graham Dance Company, Complexions Dance company and many more. Recent master class guest artists have included Gabrielle Hamilton, award-winning Broadway cast member of the reimagined musical Oklahoma! and its national touring company, and Chris Rice-Thomson, a member of the touring company of Hamilton.
  • Receive highly specialized injury prevention and care services, provided by a full-time certified and licensed athletic trainer who has extensive experience in working with dancers.
  • Dean College has been recognized as the #4 Best Dance School (Undergraduate) in Massachusetts as part of the 2022 PLEXUSS Global Rankings.
  • Dean College was ranked #5 in Best Undergraduate Teaching in the 2022 U.S. News & World Report Best Regional Colleges, North category.

Space to Learn and Perform

As a Dance major at Dean, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to take the stage in our first-class performance and teaching venues, study on-stage and behind-the-scenes techniques and receive support from our talented faculty and staff. Explore the photo gallery below to see the spaces you’ll learn and perform in.

Program Requirements 

Prospective students are required to complete an audition for the Dance program as well as an application for admission. For Fall 2022, we are offering in person, virtual and video auditions.  Additional off-campus audition opportunities are also available. Learn more about the audition process, requirements and dates.

The Dean College Dance program offers concentrations in Dance Pedagogy, Performance/Choreography, Dance Studies and Studio Management. The course requirements listed below are based upon the bachelor’s degree program.

Dance Pedagogy

Course Number Course Title Credits
DAN 111 The Discipline of Dance 2
DAN 112 The Profession of Dance 2
DAN 182 Rhythmic Analysis 3
DAN 201 Dance History l 3
DAN 204 Dance Composition l 3
DAN 206 Dance Pedagogy l 3
DAN 220 The Business of the Biz 1
DAN 301 Dance History lI 3
DAN 402 Senior Project 3
DAN 131 Dance Improvisation l 1
DAN 132 Pilates 1
DAN X5X Ballet Technique 7
DAN X7X Modern Technique 7
DAN X4X, DAN X6X, DAN X9X Jazz, Tap and Hip Hop 8
DAN X24 Rehearsal and Performance 1
DCA 100 Campus Connections: Making the Transition 1
DCA 110 Career Connections: Developing Your Brand 1
DCA 200 Internship Connections: Creating Your Plan 1
DCA 300 The Internship Experience 3
DCA 350 Future Connections: Launching Your Career 3
DAN 210 Creative Movement for Children 3
DAN 304 Dance Composition ll 3
DAN 306 Dance Pedagogy ll 3
DAN 385 OR DAN 381 Film Survey in Dance or Laban Movement Analysis 3
EDU 103 or EDU 111 Foundations of Education or Introduction to Early Childhood Education 3
PSY 111 General Psychology 3
PSY 211 Child Development 3
ELE Electives 3
Total Credits 81

Course Number Course Title Credits
ENG 111 Composition l 3
ENG 112 Composition ll 3
SPC 101 Communication Fundamentals 3
MATH ELECTIVE Core Mathematics Elective 3
BIO 175 Anatomy Essentials 4
ARTS ELECTIVE Core Distribution Arts Elective 3
NATURAL SCIENCES AND MATH ELECTIVE Core Distribution Natural Sciences and Mathematics Elective 3
HUMANITIES ELECTIVE Core Distribution Humanities Elective 3
SOCIAL SCIENCES ELECTIVE Core Distribution Social Sciences Elective 3
COM 327 Applied Professional Communication 3
UDLA ELE Upper-Division Liberal Arts Electives 9
Total Credits 40

Course Number Course Title Credits
ELE Electives 24
Total Credits 24

* Subject to change
** Based on the Dean College Academic Catalog 2021-22

Performance/Choreography

Course Number Course Title Credits
DAN 111 The Discipline of Dance 2
DAN 112 The Profession of Dance 2
DAN 182 Rhythmic Analysis 3
DAN 201 Dance History l 3
DAN 204 Dance Composition l 3
DAN 206 Dance Pedagogy l 3
DAN 220 The Business of the Biz 1
DAN 301 Dance History lI 3
DAN 402 Senior Project 3
DAN 131 Dance Improvisation l 1
DAN 132 Pilates 1
DAN X5X Ballet Technique 7
DAN X7X Modern Technique 7
DAN X4X, DAN X6X, DAN X9X Jazz, Tap and Hip Hop 8
DAN X24 Rehearsal and Performance 1
DCA 100 Campus Connections: Making the Transition 1
DCA 110 Career Connections: Developing Your Brand 1
DCA 200 Internship Connections: Creating Your Plan 1
DCA 300 The Internship Experience 3
DCA 350 Future Connections: Launching Your Career 3
DAN X24 Rehearsal and Performance 5
DAN 205 Partnering Techniques 1
DAN 231 Dance Improvisation ll 1
DAN 304 Dance Composition ll 3
DAN 385 Film Survey in Dance 3
THA 132 Production and Design ll: Lighting 2
ELE Electives 9
Total Credits 81

Course Number Course Title Credits
ENG 111 Composition l 3
ENG 112 Composition ll 3
SPC 101 Communication Fundamentals 3
MATH ELECTIVE Core Mathematics Elective 3
BIO 175 Anatomy Essentials 4
ARTS ELECTIVE Core Distribution Arts Elective 3
NATURAL SCIENCES AND MATH ELECTIVE Core Distribution Natural Sciences and Mathematics Elective 3
HUMANITIES ELECTIVE Core Distribution Humanities Elective 3
SOCIAL SCIENCES ELECTIVE Core Distribution Social Sciences Elective 3
COM 327 Applied Professional Communication 3
UDLA ELE Upper-Division Liberal Arts Electives 9
Total Credits 40

Course Number Course Title Credits
ELE Electives 24
Total Credits 24

* Subject to change
** Based on the Dean College Academic Catalog 2021-22

Dance Studies

Course Number Course Title Credits
DAN 111 The Discipline of Dance 2
DAN 112 The Profession of Dance 2
DAN 182 Rhythmic Analysis 3
DAN 201 Dance History l 3
DAN 204 Dance Composition l 3
DAN 206 Dance Pedagogy l 3
DAN 220 The Business of the Biz 1
DAN 301 Dance History lI 3
DAN 402 Senior Project 3
DAN 131 Dance Improvisation l 1
DAN 132 Pilates 1
DAN X5X Ballet Technique 7
DAN X7X Modern Technique 7
DAN X4X, DAN X6X, DAN X9X Jazz, Tap and Hip Hop 8
DAN X24 Rehearsal and Performance 1
DCA 100 Campus Connections: Making the Transition 1
DCA 110 Career Connections: Developing Your Brand 1
DCA 200 Internship Connections: Creating Your Plan 1
DCA 300 The Internship Experience 3
DCA 350 Future Connections: Launching Your Career 3
DAN 313 Performance Theory and Criticism 3
DAN 380 Research Methods in the Performing Arts 3
ENG 219 Introduction of Journalism 3
ENG 222 Creative Writing: Non-Fiction 3
COM 211 OR ENG 331 Media Writing or Writing for the Arts and Entertainment World 3
LAS 415 Critical Theory 3
ELE Electives 6
Total Credits 81

Course Number Course Title Credits
ENG 111 Composition l 3
ENG 112 Composition ll 3
SPC 101 Communication Fundamentals 3
MATH ELECTIVE Core Mathematics Elective 3
BIO 175 Anatomy Essentials 4
ARTS ELECTIVE Core Distribution Arts Elective 3
NATURAL SCIENCES AND MATH ELECTIVE Core Distribution Natural Sciences and Mathematics Elective 3
HUMANITIES ELECTIVE Core Distribution Humanities Elective 3
SOCIAL SCIENCES ELECTIVE Core Distribution Social Sciences Elective 3
COM 327 Applied Professional Communication 3
UDLA ELE Upper-Division Liberal Arts Electives 9
Total Credits 40

Course Number Course Title Credits
ELE Electives 24
Total Credits 24

* Subject to change
** Based on the Dean College Academic Catalog 2021-22

Studio Management

Course Number Course Title Credits
DAN 111 The Discipline of Dance 2
DAN 112 The Profession of Dance 2
DAN 182 Rhythmic Analysis 3
DAN 201 Dance History l 3
DAN 204 Dance Composition l 3
DAN 206 Dance Pedagogy l 3
DAN 220 The Business of the Biz 1
DAN 301 Dance History lI 3
DAN 402 Senior Project 3
DAN 131 Dance Improvisation l 1
DAN 132 Pilates 1
DAN X5X Ballet Technique 7
DAN X7X Modern Technique 7
DAN X4X, DAN X6X, DAN X9X Jazz, Tap and Hip Hop 8
DAN X24 Rehearsal and Performance 1
DCA 100 Campus Connections: Making the Transition 1
DCA 110 Career Connections: Developing Your Brand 1
DCA 200 Internship Connections: Creating Your Plan 1
DCA 300 The Internship Experience 3
DCA 350 Future Connections: Launching Your Career 3
DAN 210 Creative Movement for Children 3
DAN 306 Dance Pedagogy ll 3
BUS 123 Foundations of Business 3
BUS 230 OR BUS 235 Principles of Management or Principles of Marketing 3
AMGT 203 OR AMGT 305 Venture and Facilitiy Management or Principles and Foundations of Not-For-Profit Fundraising 3
ELE Electives 9
Total Credits 81

Course Number Course Title Credits
ENG 111 Composition l 3
ENG 112 Composition ll 3
SPC 101 Communication Fundamentals 3
MATH ELECTIVE Core Mathematics Elective 3
BIO 175 Anatomy Essentials 4
ARTS ELECTIVE Core Distribution Arts Elective 3
NATURAL SCIENCES AND MATH ELECTIVE Core Distribution Natural Sciences and Mathematics Elective 3
HUMANITIES ELECTIVE Core Distribution Humanities Elective 3
SOCIAL SCIENCES ELECTIVE Core Distribution Social Sciences Elective 3
COM 327 Applied Professional Communication 3
UDLA ELE Upper-Division Liberal Arts Electives 9
Total Credits 40

Course Number Course Title Credits
ELE Electives 24
Total Credits 24

* Subject to change
** Based on the Dean College Academic Catalog 2021-22