About The JMU Dance Program
The James Madison University Dance Program is part of the School of Theatre and Dance and presently offers a Bachelor of Arts degree. The focus of the Dance Program is to develop each student's abilities as a performer, choreographer and movement instructor. Developing critical and creative thought through written expression and discussion is also emphasized. Attention is given to the tools necessary to create, perform, produce and appreciate the art of dance. Faculty members work closely with each student in defining their individual path to a career in dance.
A combination of liberal arts curriculum and an intensive study of dance with many opportunities to perform gives the student a well-rounded education and the technical skills to pursue a dance-related career. The program offers progressive levels of modern and ballet technique, dance composition, history of dance, performance production and management, repertory ensembles and teaching methods. Other dance courses include jazz, tap, ballroom, improvisation and international folk. Included in the program is also a dance minor which can be combined with many academic majors offered by the university.
Students at James Madison University are invited to become actively involved in Dance Program activities. The activities and performing ensembles of the JMU Dance Program are as follows:
|ASSOCIATE GROUP DANCE ENSEMBLE
All freshmen will be part of the Associate Group Dance Ensemble. The Associate Group meets for a modern techniques class and repertory rehearsal once a week of each semester and members receive credit and a grade. The Associate Group performs in the student concerts each semester and hosts one guest artist per year. In addition to performing, Associate members will have hands-on experience in technical theatre and other production duties. All members of Associate are required to be registered for a modern, ballet, or jazz technique class.
This pre-professional performing company is made up of selected dance majors who have a strong commitment to pursuing opportunities as performers, teachers and choreographers after graduation. Company members are selected through audition, and rehearse a minimum of 10 hours each week. The company performs the work of nationally known guest and faculty choreographers in one main-stage concert each year. It tours throughout Virginia and the region in a variety of performance arenas in the Spring. Only serious dance majors are asked to audition because of the depth of experience and commitment needed to participate in the Virginia Repertory Dance Company.
Each dance student at JMU can submit a work for audition into the Fall or Spring Student Concerts. Occasionally the Dance Program will bring guest choreographers to do special projects that will involve all majors. Many freshman and sophomore majors and minors find opportunities to dance in advanced major’s works. Finally, faculty will choreograph other pieces to be performed in the annual Dance Day concert in the studio theatre.
JMU is consistently selected to perform in the gala concerts of the regional festivals of the American College Dance Festival and has been chosen to perform in recent National American College Dance Festivals.
There are three main-stage productions, four studio theatre concerts, and two studio showcase performances that require stage managers, light and sound technicians, and other production crew members. No experience is necessary. This is an excellent way to get involved with the Dance Program and to learn all aspects of producing a dance concert.
Guest Artists and Residencies
The JMU Dance Program invites professional companies and guest artists to the campus to perform, lecture, choreograph and teach. A Master Class Series is part of the advanced modern and ballet courses and gives students extensive exposure to different styles and methods. All performing ensembles commission guest artists for special residencies to set choreography. Previous visiting guest artists have included companies such as the Erick Hawkins Dance Company, Joffrey II Dancers, Mark Taylor Dance Company, Murray Louis Dance Company, Richmond Ballet, and solo artists Daniel Nagrin, David Dorfman, Remy Charlip, Li Chiao Ping, Kei Teikei, Mark Haim and Lisa Race.
Axis Dance Company, 2012. Photo by Richard Finkelstein
Careers in Dance
JMU Dance Program graduates are able to pursue a variety of opportunities in the arts and in education. Some graduates find teaching positions in private studios, recreation centers and arts organizations. Other graduates pursue professional performing careers, technical aspects of dance production, or go on to graduate school. Recent Dance Program graduates are working in dance companies, have organized their own performing ensembles and are directing private studios. They are also involved in stage management, arts administration, physical therapy and dance therapy.
The following is a short list of possible careers that might be pursued by a student graduatin with a degree in Dance from James Madison University:
DANCE AND ARTS ADMINISTRATION
SMALL BUSINESS/INDEPENDENT WORK
Dance Faculty Expertise
The dance faculty consists of Suzanne Miller-Corso, M.F.A., Universtiy of Colorado, Boulder; Cynthia Thompson, M.F.A., University of Wisconsin at Madison; Kate Trammell, M.F.A., Temple University; Shane O'Hara, M.F.A., Arizona State University; and Ryan Corriston, M.F.A, University of Washington.
Each year the Dance Program hosts visiting guest artists and other talented adjunct instructors from the community.
Program Objectives for the Dance Major
Accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Dance
Accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Theatre