M.F.A. in Dance

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M.F.A. in Dance

The M.F.A. in Dance is an individualized two-year program of study that furthers emerging professionals' unique interests in the creation and teaching of dance with a focus on artistry, pedagogy and civic engagement.

The M.F.A. in Dance is an individualized two-year program of study (including two summers of study) that furthers emerging and returning professionals' unique interests in the creation and teaching of dance with a focus on the interdependence of artistry, pedagogy and critical dance studies as platforms for critical civic engagement and social justice. Inherently interdisciplinary in nature, the program draws on practice and scholarship from many fields such as choreography/dance performance, feminist studies, whiteness studies, performance studies, education and critical pedagogy, critical race theory and cultural studies. Students and faculty in our program demonstrate a strong commitment to innovation, leadership, community, equity and social justice. This commitment informs the curriculum.

Our faculty defines "leadership, community, equity and social justice" as activities that include:

  • Creating and/or producing performance
  • Working as an academic (a professor who melds theory and practice in their teaching, scholarship, production and service)
  • Working as a dance dramaturg and outreach director
  • Arts administration
  • Working in public programmings with foundations and non-profit organizations
  • Establishing public policy
  • Writing grants
  • Using critically-engaged choreographic methods and theories
  • Teaching in universities, colleges, high schools and community centers
  • Using performance as a tool for understanding communities and difference
  • Theorizing performance as a site of civic engagement and often dissent
  • Redefining and recontextualizing the role of performance in culture
  • Promoting arts-based civic dialogue
  • Case-making and agenda-setting for public culture

The M.F.A. in Dance is a terminal degree that qualifies you to work in a variety of academic, artistic and professional settings, including teaching at a university-level or in community settings, directing a performance company, managing an arts organization, working as a performance curator or festival director, or devising performance work. The degree does not lead to public school teacher certification; however, students interested in teacher certification may take additional classes to achieve this goal.

The program offers students a broad spectrum of approaches, methods and disciplines. It prepares graduates to:

  • Make clear and cogent arguments
  • Manage and complete complex projects
  • Integrate performance history, theory and practice
  • Address a range of audiences from scholarly to popular
  • Research performance histories, theories, practices, criticisms and literature
  • Forge connections among performance, communications, media, television and film studies, anthropology, cultural studies, popular culture, literary guides, gender and queer studies, and other fields and subfields
  • Analyze written texts and live performance
  • Work as a choreographer and dance educator, collaborating with playwrights, directors, production teams and audiences
  • Teach courses ranging from large introductory lectures to specialized courses at the community college level and in community settings
  • Create and implement outreach strategies and expand the meanings of dance as a platform for civic engagement and social justice to various audiences
  • Develop research and teaching specialties within the field, such as: African-American performance, applied theatre practices, community-based dance, contemporary performance, cultural policy, dance studies, feminist theories and performance, queer theatre and performance, text into performance, and theories of pedagogy

The University of Texas is an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Dance. 

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