How To

Everything You Need to Know About Declaring a Dance Major


Thinking about declaring a dance major? We had professors discuss all the factors you should consider before submitting that major-declaration form.

Think seriously about:

General Education Requirements

"Be aware of the general education requirements at your institution, and think about consistently working on those in conjunction with your dance work. Look for courses you're excited about taking, rather than feeling like you have to get them over with."

—Annie Kloppenberg, associate professor of theater and dance at Colby College in Waterville, ME

Your Faculty Adviser

"Your advising situation is super-important to your success as a dance major. Make time to meet frequently so your adviser can get to know you and your goals."

—Tauna Hunter, dance director and associate professor of dance at Mercyhurst University in Erie, PA

Self-care and Time Management as You Balance Academics and Rehearsals

"Many dance departments have an entry-level course to learn about nutrition, sleep habits, and how to manage your time at school. If your college doesn't offer such a course, seek out resources from student counseling, student health services, and the academic resource center to build the skills you need as a busy dance major." —TH

Focus Within the Major

"You should decide on your path within the major by sophomore spring, so you can successfully graduate on time. Hopefully there's an exploratory time of 18 months
to 2 years before then, when you
investigate paths available within the department." —TH

If You Want to Double-Major

"If the second major requires a lot of courses that don't overlap with dance and you declare late in the game, that can be challenging. On the other hand, there's nothing wrong with declaring a second major early and starting to follow those paths. If you realize it's the wrong path for you, there's time to change." —AK

Study Abroad

"If it's a priority for you to study abroad, talk to your adviser sooner rather than later. Look at the language requirements for the abroad programs, as well as what your home university requires. Think strategically about which courses you'll take abroad to count toward your major and/or move you toward graduation." —AK

Don't need to worry about it yet:

Senior Thesis

"The work you do in the major evolves and develops toward the thesis. Students make a lot of changes from freshman to senior year in their personal and artistic development." —TH

Postgrad Plans

"It's perfectly acceptable to major in dance even if you don't think you're going to pursue it as a career. The college major serves a broader purpose: It's a framework for learning and shaping your future citizenship and engagement in the world. The more important question to ask yourself is, 'Am I going to be deeply engaged in the majority of these courses?' "

A version of this story appeared in the March 2018 issue of
Dance Spirit with the title "The Major Requirements."

Show Comments ()

Summer dance camp season will be here before you know it and you might be starting to wonder what you need to pack in your bag. Don't stress, we have 5 of the top must haves for camp this summer!

Keep reading... Show less
Dance Videos
Safe to say that flexibility is still not an issue for the talented Ms. Igo. (screenshot via YouTube)

Because winning the Junior Division on last summer's inaugural season of "World of Dance" (suuuuuuuuuuper casual) just wasn't enough.

Keep reading... Show less
Dance News

Christopher Wheeldon is going to be giving Michael Jackson some new moves: The Royal Ballet artistic associate is bringing the King of Pop to Broadway.

The unlikely pairing was announced today by Jackson's estate. Wheeldon will serve as both director and choreographer for the new musical inspired by Michael Jackson's life, which is aiming for a 2020 Broadway opening. This will be Wheeldon's second time directing and choreographing, following 2015's Tony Award-winning An American in Paris.

Keep reading... Show less

We caught up with former Rockette Trina Simon at Showstopper's Myrtle Beach dance convention to get her expert advice on how to work as a professional dancer. Trina's work on Broadway has given her insight into the key things to focus on as a professional dancer looking for jobs and making a name for yourself, whether you are new to the world of professional dance or you have been making your way from one audition to the next for a while.

Keep reading... Show less
Dancer to Dancer
Via Instagram

Ballerina Sara Michelle Murawski and her looooooong legs have taken to the streets. And the grocery store. And the subway. And the Brooklyn Bridge. The reason for her epic journey: A new Insta account, @danceinthebigapple, featuring Murawski and her "ballet twin," Saverio Pescucci, as they dance their way through NYC.

Keep reading... Show less
Dancer to Dancer
Photo by Jayme Thornton

Ballerina Whitney Jensen's incredible lines and extraordinary grace have captivated audiences around the world. At 10, Jensen won the silver medal at the Youth America Grand Prix NYC finals, and at age 16, she was the first American to win the highest possible distinction at the Varna International Ballet Competition. Jensen started dancing in Salt Lake City, UT, at The Dance Club, followed by The Jacqueline College School of Classical Ballet and Ballet West Academy. When she was 11 and 12, she performed as Clara in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular in NYC, and, after, moved to the Big Apple to train full-time at Valentina Kozlova's Dance Conservatory of New York. She joined Boston Ballet in 2009 and became one of the company's youngest principals in 2014. In 2015, Jensen took a short break from ballet before accepting an offer with the Norwegian National Ballet, where she's currently a soloist. —Courtney Bowers

Keep reading... Show less
Dance News
Jef Neira/FOX

Welcome to New York—it's been waiting for you! (Seriously, find a situation in which there isn't a perfectly applicable and relatable Taylor Swift quote.)

On last night's episode, "So You Think You Can Dance" hopefuls strutted their stuff for Nigel, Mary, Vanessa, and tWitch in the Big Apple, home of Broadway, ballet, and Dance Spirit. Could NYC's talent rival that of its sunny west coast counterpart? Here's how the auditions shook out.

Keep reading... Show less
Dance News
It's already on its way to legendary status. (screenshot via YouTube)

Let's start with the obvious: Over the weekend, Beyoncé and Jay-Z released a joint album, Everything Is Love. Bey and Jay also dropped a video for the album's lead track, which they filmed inside the actual Louvre museum in Paris (as one does, when one is a member of the Carter family). And the vid features not only thought-provoking commentary on the Western art tradition, but also some really incredible dancing.

So, who choreographed this epic? And who are the dancers bringing it to life in those already-iconic bodystockings?

Keep reading... Show less


Want to Be on Our Cover?





Get Dance Spirit in your inbox