Dance (DAN)

Professor Bower, Chair

Professor E. Rockwell

Professor Tucker Wagnon

Associate Professor Morton

Assistant Professor Oldenburg

Assistant Professor Watts

Senior Instructor Wesner

Specialty Instructor O. Rockwell

Specialty Instructor Sweatt

Specialty Instructor Whitehead

The mission of the dance department is to prepare students spiritually, technically, academically, and artistically to move into the world of dance and affiliated careers in adherence with the mission of the University. This degree program provides a Master of Fine Arts in Dance, Bachelor of Arts in Dance, a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance, and a minor in dance. These tracks enable students the opportunity to gain in-depth knowledge and practice in the field of dance within a Christ-centered environment. Students receive a broad liberal arts dance education to prepare for careers in dance performance, dance education, dance ministry, dance production, choreography, and other related fields. Belhaven University is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Dance (NASD).


Dance Major (B.A.) - 58 hours to include:

  1. Required Dance Courses (25 hours)
    1. Required Dance Studies (13 hours) – DAN 147, 185, 188, 360, 401, and 411.
    2. Teaching Methods (4 hours) – Choose two: DAN 375, 475, or 476
    3. Performance and Choreography Studies (5 hours) – DAN 148, 170, 270, 370
    4. Performance II Option (2 hours) – DAN 243 or 244
    5. Dance Technical Studies (1 hours) – DAN 215
  2. Dance Studies Electives (12 hours)
    1. Choose from the following courses – DAN 300, 301, 361, 371, 375, 460, 470, 471, 475, 476, 400 (3 hrs Fall +3 hrs Spring)
  3. Dance Technical Studies (21 hours)
    1. DAN B21-B28 Ballet Technique II or higher or DAN M21-M28 Modern Technique II or higher    
      1. Two technique/studio courses from different genres are recommended each semester (ballet, modern, and/or jazz technique.
      2. Technique/studio courses include Ballet, Pointe, Modern, Partnering Techniques, Variations, Pas de Deux, Men's Technique, Jazz, Tap, Conditioning for Dancers, and Pilates.

Dance (B.F.A.) - 85 hours to include:

  1. Required Dance Courses (42 hours)
    1. Required Dance Studies (12 hours) – DAN 147, 185, 188, 375, 401, 411
    2. Dance History (6 hours) – DAN 360 and 361
    3. Performance and Choreography Studies (19 hours) – DAN 148, 170, 243, 244, 270, 343, 344, 370, 371, 443, and 444
    4. Choreography Option (2 hours) – DAN 470 or 471
    5. Teaching Methods (2 hours) – DAN 475 or 476
    6. Dance Technical Studies (1 hour) – DAN 215
  2. Production Technology Option (4 hours)
    1. Choose 2 courses from the following – DAN 300, 301, 460
  3. Dance Technical Studies (33 hours)
    1. DAN B41-B48 Ballet Technique IV or DAN M41-M48 Modern Technique IV
      1. A minimum of three technique/studio courses (4 credits) are required for each semester for credit, audit or through Dance Technique Practicum. Students must study two genres of dance per semester (ballet, modern, and/or jazz).
      2. BFA students must achieve/maintain Ballet Technique IV OR Modern Technique IV one semester prior to graduation.
      3. Technique/studio courses include Ballet, Pointe, Modern, Partnering Techniques, Variations, Pas de Deux, Men's Technique, Jazz, Tap, Conditioning for Dancers, and Pilates
  4. Senior Project (6 hours)
    1. DAN 400 Senior Project (students must complete 2 consecutive semesters of DAN 400)

*Dance BFA students are required to graduate with a total of 128 hours. 


Minor in Dance: 24 hours in dance courses, including:

DAN 147 Orientation to Dance (1)

DAN 148 or 149 Performance Practicum (1)

DAN 170 Improvisation I (1)

DAN B21-B28 or DAN M21-M28 or higher (1)

One of the following courses: DAN 300 Production I (2), or DAN 301 Production II (2), or DAN 460 Dance and Technology (2), or DAN 375 Dance Pedagogy (2), or DAN 360 Dance History I (3), or DAN 361 Dance History II (3), or DAN 475 Teaching Methods Ballet (2), or DAN 476 Teaching Methods Modern (2)

*A technique class is recommended each semester.

Specialization in Dance Technical Studies: 6 additional credit hours in advanced level dance technique classes. Course options include: DAN B31-B38, DAN B41-B48, DAN M31-M38, DAN M41-M48, DAN MV1-MV2, DAN WV1-WV2, DAN P31-P32, DAN PT1-PT2, DAN 490 

Specialization in Pilates: 3 additional credit hours, options include: DAN 151, 251, 351, 451, 390

Certificate in Dance: 21-24 hours

The Certificate in Dance requires 21-24 credit hours and takes two consecutive semesters (beginning in the fall) to complete, with some flexibility to facilitate appropriate substitutions.  This program is not the equivalent of a major in dance.

The fall semester should include:

DAN M11/M13 Modern Dance Technique I or higher

DAN B11/B13 Ballet Technique or higher

DAN 148 Performance Practicum

DAN 151 Pilates 

DAN 170 Improvisation I

DAN 370 Elements of Composition I

The spring semester should include:

DAN M12/M14 Modern Dance Technique I or higher

DAN B12/M14 Ballet Technique I or higher

DAN 270 Improvisation II

DAN 251 Pilates

DAN 371 Elements of Composition II

DAN 148 Performance Practicum


All students will be assigned an appropriate level in dance technique courses. Only students who demonstrate the skill necessary for the next level of work upon completion of a studio technique course will be permitted to enroll at the next level.  If not, they will be expected to continue at their level of technique until they are ready to advance. Majors and minors are required to attend and participate in the weekly department meetings and must make arrangements to do so.

Dance Apprentice Program

The Belhaven University dance apprentice program is an opportunity for talented high school students pursuing a highly advanced level of study in dance and desiring instruction and performance experience through Belhaven University courses and faculty.

The program offers apprentices the opportunity to earn college credits while continuing to complete their high school curriculum. Tuition is offered at 50 percent of the current rate per credit hour. Students must be in good scholastic standing and must be available to attend all sessions of the technique and performance courses in which they enroll. Students will participate as apprentice members of the Belhaven University Dance Ensemble.

The following are required at the time of application:

1.             Minimum age of 15 by September 1

2.             Completed application for admission and $25 nonrefundable application fee

3.             Achieved and maintaining a 2.8 GPA

4.             Academic reference and recommendation

5.             Student's letter of intent

6.             Personal interview with the chair of the dance department and the director of admission.

7.     Audition in person for the chair of the dance department and dance faculty for admission to the program.

If eventually degree-seeking, the student would follow the standard requirements for admission while earned credit would be transferable.

The number of semester hours an apprentice can attempt is unlimited, but restricted to dance technique courses only. After attempting six semester hours in lecture or laboratory courses, he or she must either apply as a degree-seeking student or make a request to be continued as an apprentice.

Apprentices are accountable to the chair of the dance department and will be graded on the same scale as Belhaven University dance students. Apprentices will be obligated to continue participation for one full semester at a time unless there is cause for discontinuation on the part of the faculty or due to physical injury or other plausible hardship. Under all circumstances, an exit interview with the chair of the dance department is required.


The Master of Fine Arts in Dance is a 60 credit terminal degree program with an emphasis on performance and/or choreography within the context of pedagogical, theoretical, and artistic inquiry. The MFA in Dance degree emphasizes the integration of Christian faith and learning with the advanced theoretical and artistic study of dance. Belhaven University is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Dance (NASD).

The Master’s degree in dance will give graduates the opportunity to participate in creative work, inquiry, and investigation through curricular offerings in technique, performance, choreography, research methodology, critical investigation and philosophy of dance, among others. Belhaven’s graduate dance program encourages students to develop career-related skills through the practical application of theoretical knowledge, innovative and compositional techniques, and the experiential methodologies of apprenticeships.

Graduate students will submit their work for peer and faculty review, as well as contribute to the field through attendance and participation in regional and national dance conferences. Graduate students will gain experience in teaching through pedagogy courses and the opportunity for teaching assistantships upon the completion of 18 hours of graduate study. The development, compilation and application or incorporation of creative work, inquiry, and investigation will culminate in the graduate thesis project.


  • Develop and integrate an in-depth understanding of a Christian worldview with their dance studies, and critically assess their practice from such a perspective.
  • Cultivate advanced skills in technique and performance which reflect a synthesis of practice-based and theoretical approaches to dance practice.
  • Deepen their theoretical and scholarly understanding of dance and its influence in past and present cultures and the ways in which these influences interact with their own body of work.
  • Practice a sense of artistry, craft, and voice through exploration, innovation, and development of advanced skills in dance-making.

Master of Fine Arts in Dance Requirements for Graduation:

  • Successful completion of the degree curriculum (60 credits) with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00.
  • Pass all MFA courses with a C or above. If a student earns below a C, s/he will be placed on academic probation. A second grade of C- or below will result in the student’s repetition of the course. A pattern of poor academic performance may result in expulsion from the program.
  • Minimum total of 39 credits in studio or related areas, including 12 credit hours in technique, 9 credit hours in choreography, and 2 credit hours in performance.
  • Minimum total of 14 credit hours in academic courses, including DAN 501Graduate Kinesiology, DAN 503 Graduate Kinesiology Lab, DAN 511 Graduate Seminar, DAN 575 Graduate Dance Pedagogy, DAN 576 Graduate Dance Pedagogy Lab, and DAN 662 Research and Writing for Dance.
  • Successful completion of 9 credits of Choreography before advancing to the thesis project phase.
  • Minimum total of 7 credits in Graduate Thesis Project, not to exceed 9 credits total. A minimum grade of B- (80%) in DAN 700 Thesis I is required for students to progress to DAN 701 Thesis II. Students earning a final grade of C+ (79%) or lower in DAN 700 Thesis I must repeat the course for credit. 
  • 6 credit hours of electives in dance or related research area. These credits may come from DAN 550/650 Graduate Apprenticeship, DAN 590/690 Graduate Independent Study, DAN 591/691 Graduate Special Topics, or other courses from graduate programs in the University (500 level or higher). Credit: one to three hours.

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