MTSU Dance Department

Welcome Letter

Welcome to the Dance Program at MTSU!

Students graduating from the dance program at MTSU will have the knowledge, skill and intellect to be employed in a variety of dance and arts related professions. Through the required work at MTSU students will have the ability not only to develop performance skills, but also to be employable in areas of arts administration, dance pedagogy, dance notation, dance research, dance journalism, choreography, movement therapy, visual design and community development projects in dance. The program meets the growing demand for qualified dance educators in the state, and provides Tennessee's dance students the opportunity to be competitive in national and international dance arenas with skills that go far beyond a limited physical competence in dance. These skills are readily transferable to other professional pursuits following graduation.

This program promotes academic quality by enhancing learning, teaching, scholarship, and service and by celebrating distinctive strengths available within a liberal arts education. An example of this can be seen with the development of the Minority Guest Artist Program in Dance. During its three years in existence, this program has sponsored sixteen residencies and engaged students in active learning as they address issues of multiculturalism through interdisciplinary approaches. This program is distinctive in the United States and demonstrates the outstanding and visionary pedagogy in the arts at MTSU.

Our program affirms the role of dance in higher education by offering an environment conducive for the training and development of young artists and the nurturing of the art of dance. This environment is one in which performance opportunities, creative projects and theoretical studies complement and reinforce each other. Provision of specific bodies of knowledge, ways to discover, synthesize and apply this knowledge is paramount. This in turn will empower students to enrich and further the arts in a diverse society in relevant and meaningful ways. The combined influence of dance studies and general studies is profound and far-reaching in establishing a foundation for artistic and intellectual development.

The Dance degree programs are based upon the central premise that art and education are both extensions of the total humanistic endeavor. The faculty and students, curriculum, facilities and performance opportunities are the keys to the success of the program. We are committed to thorough preparation. Dance students are preparing to earn their living doing what they love, whether this is performing, choreography, teaching, and/or other creative careers. Designed to facilitate this preparation, the curriculum demands a well-rounded understanding of dance theory, history and technique. Dance students are required to take a variety of technique classes and are expected to attain proficiency in various genres. For undergraduates, thorough preparation is also ensured by the quality liberal arts education that MTSU offers.

An added bonus for dance students is the constant exposure to guest performers, choreographers and teachers. Through the Minority Guest Artist Program, dancers have the opportunity to experience a myriad of dance performances and to work in master classes and seminars with a variety of choreographers from the classical to the avant-garde.

Educational activities are essential for growth in the arts. Since 2004, the department has participated in the American College Dance Festival Association (ACDFA), and will host the festival in 2009. Numerous opportunities to perform in regional venues are possible with MTSU Dance Theatre and faculty-produced dance tours. The program produces two concerts annually plus student showcases.

Performance and choreographic opportunities abound. The dance student may refine classroom technique into the art of performance in the annual Dance Gala, thesis and student/faculty concerts, School of Music operas, Theatre Arts Department musicals, the annual ACDFA festivals, and for exceptional students, the Dance Department's touring company, Dancers in Company. Students interested in pursuing teaching as a career can develop these skills in such programs as Dance Forum.

Training with a strongly supportive and skilled faculty, working with a range of guest artists and taking advantage of many performance and choreographic opportunities give dance students at Middle Tennessee State University the preparation necessary to enter the field of professional dance.


Kim Neal Nofsinger