The Sharon Disney Lund School of Dance
MFA Program in Dance
The MFA Program in Dance is an intensive two year course of study intended for talented dance artists who wish to pursue professional careers as choreographers and educators. To obtain the MFA degree, students must complete all course requirements and successfully present a Thesis Concert during the second year of residency. Interested and qualified graduate-level applicants to the School may apply to be considered for a supplemental concentration in Integrated Media (IM)—a course of study for interdisciplinary work with digital media.
The MFA curriculum enables each graduate student to develop and refine his or her own personal aesthetic. It includes seminars dealing with topics in professional dance—from organizing concepts in choreography to meeting the practical demands of producing concerts to identifying larger artistic and career goals. The curriculum also features classes in technique composition, dance theory, costume design, dance production, dance on camera, and digital media and editing.
In the first year, students are required to create and present three original works. In consultation with the Dean, students identify a progression of works created for presentation in various concerts through the first year of residency. Works are presented for feedback during Dance Showings, a weekly venue that involves all faculty and students.
The Thesis Concert is produced in the second semester of the second year. A committee consisting of the Dean and at least three faculty members is assigned at the outset of the second year. As part of the preparations for the Thesis Concert, students are required to submit a written proposal, which must be approved by faculty before any thesis work is begun. Each MFA student receives a generous stipend for the thesis project and has the opportunity to collaborate with artists and designers from all the other Schools within the Institute. MFA candidates must hold open auditions for the Thesis Concert.
MFA candidates are given a variety of teaching opportunities during their residency. Institute dance classes are offered regularly. MFA candidates also teach selected classes within the undergraduate curriculum.
MFA students play an integral leadership role within the school. They are expected to set examples in artistic achievement and work ethic for younger dancers to follow. The Sharon Disney Lund School of Dance, MFA Program, is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Dance and by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. It enjoys a national reputation as a leading conservatory-style program with an emphasis in contemporary dance styles and aesthetics.