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B.A. in Dance

Contact Person:
Don Borsh, Chair
222 Performing Arts Center, (315) 267-2233,

35 credit hours required. Plus 9-10 credits of cognates.

All courses must be passed with a grade of 2.0 or higher to count towards the major.

The SUNY Potsdam Dance Program is housed in the Department of Theatre and Dance. A Bachelor of Arts degree is available to students who have a strong interest in dance and choose the dance major. Students may also choose to minor in dance, while pursuing another major or a double major. The goals for the B.A. program focus on preparing students for careers in the dance professions as artists and teachers, and to pursue graduate study. We strive to develop dance artists and educators who possess an integrated knowledge of the aesthetic, critical, historical, cultural, choreographic, and performance dimensions of the discipline of dance.

Through our close alignment with the Theatre Program students broaden their experiences and expand their interests in such areas as acting, technical theatre, and design. Every three years the Department of Theatre and Dance joins the Crane Opera Ensemble for a musical production: Cabaret (2002), Working (2004), Urinetown–The Musical (2007), and Ragtime (2013).

Dance at SUNY Potsdam also allows for a wide variety of combinations of interdisciplinary work in such areas as theatre, music, psychology, community health, archeology, anthropology, history, business, and communication. These combined courses of study prepare students for further investigation and work in such fields as dance therapy, nutrition, fitness, dance ethnology, arts administration, and private studio ownership.

Students in the major program focus on two tracks: Technique and Composition. The dance curriculum is enriched through the study of such topics as improvisation, repertory, Laban Movement Analysis, dance education, history, Pilates-based conditioning, and yoga. Students’ technique levels are determined during a placement class.

Interested students, regardless of major, are also invited to join the Student Government Association organization, Dance Ensemble. Dance Ensemble sponsors student-choreographed productions, travel to the American College Dance Festival and other dance events.

All courses are 3 credits unless noted. Credits are divided as follows:

Core Requirements (Credits 17)
DANC 211 Dance Improvisation
DANC 311 Dance Composition I
DANC 319 Movement, Theory and Notation
DANC 321 & 322 Modern Dance II (2 @ 4 credits)

Technique Requirements: chosen from the following (Credits 6)
DANC 234 & 235 Intermediate Ballet (2 @ 2 credits)
DANC 421 & 422 Modern Dance III (2 @ 4 credits)
DANC 441& 442 Modern Dance IV (2 @ 4 credits)

Composition Requirements: (Credits 6)
DANC 312 Dance Composition II
DANC 325 New Repertory (1 credit minimum)
Remaining credits chosen from:
  DANC 390 Special Projects: Dance Composition (1-3 credits)
  DANC 498 Senior Choreographic Project (1-3 credits) OR
  Additional Credits of DANC 325

Electives: chosen from the following (Credits 6 minimum)
DANC 130 Understanding Dance (4)
DANC/DRAM 205 Production Techniques: Lecture and Lab (4)
DANC 212 Pilates Based Conditioning
DANC 304 Dance Education K-4 (4)
DANC 320 20th/21st Century Dance
DANC 391 Special Project: Dance History (1-3)
DANC 450 Teaching of Dance
DANC 490 Special Project: Teaching
DANC 491 Special Project: Movement Theory and Notation (1-3)
DANC 3xx/4xx Approved Special Projects course

The following may be applied as electives on advisement:
DANC/DRAM 233 Costume Construction (4)
DANC/DRAM 244 Stage Management
DANC/DRAM 206 Fundamentals of Technical Theatre (4)
DANC/DRAM Lighting Design for the Stage (DANC/DRAM 206 or DANC 311 prerequisite)
DRAM 251 Foundations of Design for the Stage
DRAM 331 Costume Design
DRAM 333 Stage Makeup and Mask Design (4)
INTD 3xx or 4xx Internship as approved by adviser (3-12)
MULH 110 Music Through the Ages

Required Cognate Courses (Credits 9-10)
DRAM 101 Introduction to Performance Studies
DRAM 235 Introduction to Acting
DANC/DRAM 207 Technical Theatre Production I, two 1-credit units (2)
DANC/DRAM 307 Technical Theatre Production II, two 1-credit units (2)

Note: Students who have completed either DANC/DRAM206 or DANC/DRAM 223 (3+1cr. Lab) must complete:
DANC/DRAM 207 Technical Theatre Production I, one 1-credit unit (1)
DANC/DRAM 307 Technical Theatre Production II, two 1-credit units (2)

Special Notes

  1. An interview is recommended to declare a dance major. An audition is not currently required.
  2. Appropriate technique levels for students are determined during a placement class. Only credit from the above-listed technique courses will be applied toward the fulfillment of the required technique track of the major. The focus of the technique track is modern dance. The academic adviser or program chair will determine applicable credit hours from other dance genres, such as ballet.
  3. Students in the major are expected to focus their studies on technique and composition courses. They will continue their studies with enrichment courses in history, repertory, movement theory, and/or dance education.
  4. A minimum of 16 credit hours for the major must be taken at the upper-division level.

Dance Majors are required to:

  1. Attend all dance auditions.
  2. Perform in a minimum of 1 faculty or guest artist concert work.
  3. Attend all workshops and classes of visiting guest artists.
  4. Attend all required Department of Theatre and Dance productions.
  5. Participate in an end-of-year assessment interview with adviser or other members of the dance faculty.

Dance Major Policies on Student Grades and Performing

  1. Any student receiving a grade of 1.0 or less for any course offered through the Department of Theatre and Dance will be ineligible for casting in any student directed or choreographed production during the semester immediately following the semester in which the failing grade is issued. Eligibility in faculty directed or choreographed productions will be left to the discretion of the directing faculty member and the Department Chair.
  2. To participate as a choreographer (for the Student Choreographers’ Concert or Senior Choreographers’ Concert) a student’s overall GPA must be at least a 2.0, and the GPA in dance courses must be at least a 2.3 during the semester preceding the concert.