A degree in dance can pave the way to a variety of careers in the performing arts, including performing, choreography, education, private teaching, and in related areas such as arts management, technical theater, or dance and physical therapy.

Dance students at Iowa enjoy multiple performance opportunities. Earning the degree involves course work in choreography, dance technique, human anatomy, and history as well as the broad liberal arts education provided for all University of Iowa students.

Why Iowa?

Iowa's dance program is widely considered to be one of the top 10 in the country, and it has an outstanding national reputation for its high standards and tradition of excellence in teaching and creative productions.

The late choreographer Alwin Nikolais described it as: "one of the best (programs) in the United States ... broad, yet professionally detailed, and handled with very experienced skill."

Dance students enjoy opportunities to perform in 10-12 productions each year and frequently collaborate with students in Iowa's music and theatre arts programs to present operas and theatrical performances coordinated by the Iowa Division of Performing Arts.

Faculty members in the Department of Dance include accomplished performers and internationally recognized professionals. Guest residencies bring outstanding artists in the field to campus for instruction through workshops and lectures.

Non-dance majors may take courses in ballet, jazz, modern, tap, Afro-Cuban, Brazilian Carnival, improvisation, and yoga.

Admission Requirements

BA students must meet the requirements for admission to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

BFA students must first apply and be admitted to the BA program. Requirements for admission to the BFA program include earning 30 semester hours at the University of Iowa and showing exceptional academic and professional promise.

All students must audition for acceptance to the BA, BFA, and minor programs in dance. Auditions are offered four times per year for entering students.

 Information

Major(s)
Dance
BA
Dance
BFA
Minor(s)
Dance
Tracks
Dance Pedagogy and Instruction (BA or BFA)
  Honors Courses
  Four-Year Graduation Plan
  Selective Admission
Admission Process

Careers and Outcomes

Iowa graduates have a 95 percent job/grad school placement rate within six months of graduation. Our Pomerantz Career Center offers multiple resources to help students find internships and jobs.

Careers for Iowa dance majors include professional work in performing, choreography, education, private teaching, and related areas such as arts management, technical theater, or dance and physical therapy. Many graduates from our program are currently working in arts organizations throughout the United States.

The discipline and creative challenges of dance training transfer well to other careers. Students have combined dance with a second major in another field, such as business or communication.

Student Opportunities

In addition to more than 500 Student Organizations, Iowa students choose from more than 100 Study Abroad Programs and multiple Undergraduate Research Opportunities.

Dance students have frequent opportunities to perform, including during annual student and faculty productions staged at Space Place Theater in North Hall; through Dancers in Company, the university’s dance touring company; and in the department’s annual Dance Gala concert.

The Undergraduate Dance Organization plays a vital role in supporting and generating student participation in departmental events.

  Scholarships

The University of Iowa provides a variety of scholarships to eligible undergraduate students through the Iowa Scholarship Portal. Scholarships are available to first-year, transfer, and currently enrolled students. For additional details on scholarships for your program of study, check directly with the department or college. 

The websites for the Office of Admissions, the Office of Student Financial Aid, and the Department of Dance are great resources for students seeking scholarships.

Course Work

Iowa offers a Bachelor of Arts (BA) and a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree in dance.

The BA program emphasizes a rigorous studio curriculum combined with a broad liberal arts background. You'll meet the degree requirements through course work, concert productions, and independent projects. The degree encompasses technical and creative practice, body science, theoretical studies in dance, and other areas of inquiry.

Students in the BFA program, which has more extensive admission requirements than the BA program, experience deeper immersion in choreography, performance, and technique. BFA students must show outstanding commitment, advanced technical ability, and exceptional creativity, and must maintain a cumulative grade-point average of at least 3.50 in dance courses.

Students in both programs take these courses:

  • Human Anatomy
  • Introduction to Dance Studies
  • Dance Production
  • Production Run Crew
  • Music Essentials for Dance
  • Dance and Society
  • Dance Kinesiology
  • Dance History
  • Choreography I–II
  • Improvisation

The curriculum also includes technique courses in ballet, modern dance, ballet pointe, jazz, Brazilian Carnival, Laban Movement Studies, Introduction to Alexander Technique, and/or Afro-Cuban Dance, depending on your degree objective (BA or BFA).

All students in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences who wish to earn a bachelor's degree must complete the requirements of the GE CLAS Core. 

See Dance in the UI General Catalog to learn more about required course work for the BA, the BFA, the minor, and graduating with honors.

Certificate in Arts Entrepreneurship

Dance students may be interested in this interdisciplinary certificate. Students study the business of creating art, the entrepreneurial skills needed to promote one’s work as an artist, and best practices for starting arts-based ventures so they can apply the best practices of the business world to advance their individual arts disciplines.

This certificate may be earned by any student admitted to the University of Iowa who is not concurrently enrolled in a UI graduate or professional degree program.

Students may earn the Certificate in Arts Entrepreneurship or the Certificate in Entrepreneurial Management, but not both.