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Department of Dance

BFA in Dance | Course Descriptions

Chair: Jennifer Pontius (936) 294-1300 theatre@shsu.edu

Faculty: Dana Nicolay, Andrew Noble, Dionne Noble, Erin Reck

Website: www.shsu.edu/dance

"The Dance is the mother of the arts." — Curt Sachs


The Dance Department at Sam Houston State University delivers a dynamic, challenging experience that integrates creativity, performance and scholarly pursuits designed to prepare each student for a 21st century career in dance.

Academic Programs

The BFA in Dance is intensive, providing consistent study of ballet and modern technique, a progressive sequence of choreography courses, and broad study of dance academics.  Students must enroll in two major level technique classes every semester, as well as the other dance courses designated for each semester on the planner. Students will complete 91 hours of dance coursework.  Admission to the BFA is by audition only. The audition schedule is posted on the dance program's website. Dance majors are required to meet with dance faculty for advisement prior to each semester.  


The Dance Program at Sam Houston State University:

  • was identified as one of the ten top dance programs in the country by Dance Teacher Magazine.
  • is housed in the beautiful James and Nancy Gaertner Performing Arts Center including four large studios with sprung floors, a state of the art dance theater, 19-station Mac lab, fully equipped Pilates/conditioning studio, and spacious dressing rooms with showers.
  • is an active member of the American College Dance Festival Association. Choreography created by students and faculty of the Dance Program has been regularly selected for Gala presentation. The department has been selected to present both student and faculty choreography at The Kennedy Center National ACDFA conference, most recently in the spring of 2014.
  • has alumni of the program performing with diverse professional dance companies, including Pilobolus, The Houston Met, Hopestone, NobleMotion Dance, and Blue Lapis Light.
  • regularly hosts a wide variety of guest artists, which have included Dominic Walsh Dance Theatre, Paul Taylor II, Houston Ballet II, The Dance Gallery, Jane Weiner, Ben Stevenson, Bill Evans, Rennie Harris, Marlies Yearby, Astrid von Ussar, and Charlotte Boye-Christenson.

Career Opportunities

  • dance performance
  • dance education
  • choreography
  • arts sdministration
  • health-related professions

Suggested Minors

The BFA in Dance does not require a minor. However, many of our majors choose to pursue a second area of study, either as a second major or as a minor, to broaden their education. Depending on a student's career goals, pursuit of a minor in business, secondary teaching, theatre, biology, or another academic discipline will be appropriate. 

Student Organizations

Chi Tau Epsilon, the prestigious national dance honor society, recognizes, supports, and promotes superior achievement in dance and in the performing arts. Membership in the society is recorded on the student’s transcript. Each year, Chi Tau Epsilon is an active student organization, sponsoring the student choreography showcase, Dances @ 8, conducting recruitment workshops for the dance program, and sponsoring community support activities including Adopt a Highway, food drives, and participation in the Special Olympics. Chi Tau Epsilon also awards annual scholarships for outstanding choreographic and academic achievement.


The Dance Program awards numerous scholarships ranging from $500 to $ 3,000 per academic year. Approximately $25,000 in performance-based scholarships is awarded each year. In addition the Mary Ella Montague Endowed Scholarship is awarded to the outstanding returning Dance major each year and the Kelley Barber Award is given annually to a Dance major for outstanding performance. The Theatre and Dance Endowed and Nancy Gaertner Performing Arts Scholarship Applications are available online at http://www.shsu.edu/academics/fine-arts-and-mass-communication/scholarships.html and in the dance office.


Required Courses for Major

3 Digit to 4 Digit Crosswalk

Bachelor of Fine Arts, Major in Dance

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