The Sharon Disney Lund School of Dance
BFA Program in Dance
The BFA curriculum is a pre-professional training degree that emphasizes strong contemporary technique, creative artistry and dance literacy. The curriculum is designed to provide a developmental path to professional level skills combined with artistic creativity, literacy in the field and self-confidence. Each student works closely with a Faculty Mentor who provides one-to-one artistic mentoring and academic advising. Students progress through a sequence of reviews each semester, including the mid-residency review at the end of the second year.
The BFA curriculum builds a strong foundation in ballet and contemporary dance styles. Two technique classes a day, four days a week provide a consistent means for developing the necessary skills throughout the four year degree program. Dance Composition and Choreography also constitute a steady curricular pathway through the four years. The many concerts provide numerous opportunities for showcasing student choreography as well as providing performance opportunities in student, faculty and guest artist works. In the Fall semester of the second year, all BFA II students present a solo of their own making. In addition, all students are required to choreograph a group work for a school concert during their residency. All students and faculty participate in weekly Dance Showings. This provides a venue for the presentation of works in progress combined with artistic feedback from faculty and fellow students fostering a unique collegial community.
The BFA curriculum offers comprehensive instruction in all areas of dance production. Courses in stagecraft, lighting design, costume design, audio and video production prepare students for a variety of design and production crewing responsibilities. In addition, students take courses in music for dance and dance for camera, gaining theoretical, practical and creative perspectives on the relationships between dance and media. At CalArts, students also benefit from courses offered in the Schools of Art, Theater, Music, and Film/Video, which can be taken to supplement and deepen one’s understanding of dance in relationship to these art forms. Collaborations and multimedia productions are prevalent and encouraged.
The BFA curriculum also offers courses in dance history, dance and world cultures, contemporary dance artists, anatomy and kinesiology. Students also select from courses in history, literature, cultural studies, quantitative studies and writing arts through the School of Critical Studies. Foundation courses through advanced seminars provide a range of opportunities to develop critical thinking skills and to gain a broad perspective on the role of the arts in contemporary society.
Courses in dance improvisation, contact improvisation, Pilates, Partnering, Pointe work, Balinese and African dance are also offered regularly. Master classes with guests and visiting artists supplement the roster of regular courses. The School of Dance participates in annual American College Dance Festivals providing opportunities for many of our students to showcase choreography, perform and take master classes at these gatherings. The School of Dance also provides annual funding to assist individual students in attending national and international summer dance festivals and workshops. Qualified students may apply for our International Exchange program with the London Contemporary Dance Center for a semester of study in London. Eligible students are encouraged to apply at the end of the third year of study. Throughout the school year students have access to the school’s studios for rehearsals and composition assignments and are encouraged to pursue individual creative interests above and beyond curricular requirements.
The Sharon Disney Lund School of Dance, BFA 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.