Cleveland MFA in Dance - Masters Degree in Dance

A master’s degree in dance or a Master of Fine Arts in dance (MFA in Dance), otherwise known as an M.F.A. dance degree, prepares students to become dancers, choreographers, instructors, studio managers or professors. Graduate programs in dance focus on the creative, technical and intellectual practice of dance from classical ballet to modern dance and yoga.

Dance Master Programs MFA in Dance Curriculum

In a dance masters program, students learn creative, technical, and intellectual practice enabling them to integrate body, mind and spirit, and ultimately, master the art of dance. Students gain these skills in their roles as performers, creators, and spectators. Most graduate dance programs provide coursework in the following areas:

  • Experiential anatomy
  • Dance history
  • Lighting design and stagecraft
  • Music for dancers

In order to apply for admission to master’s programs in dance, students must usually possess a bachelor’s degree in a related field. Many programs require an application and an audition. All MFA in Dance programs will value experience in the field.

An M.F.A. in Dance averages two years in length, and students take a variety of coursework. Classes may include:

  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Research
  • Choreographic inquiry
  • Daily technique practice

Coursework typically covers many different types of dance such as:

  • Contemporary dance
  • Classical ballet
  • African dance
  • Yoga
  • T’ai chi ch’uan
  • World dance

Dance Career Paths

Those with a master’s degree in dance might pursue careers as performing dancers, choreographers, instructors, studio managers or professors. Dancers and choreographers might pursue careers in a variety of industries, such as public and private educational services, which includes dance studios and schools, as well as colleges and universities; food services and drinking establishments; performing arts companies, which include dance, theater, and opera companies; and amusement and recreation venues, such as casinos and theme parks. 

Dance Future Job Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2012 the median hourly wage for dancers was $14.16, choreographers reportedly earned $18.33 per hour. The factors that may impact this range include years of experience, type of employer, and location. Dancers who are on tour might receive an additional allowance for room and board, as well as extra compensation for overtime. 

Future Job Outlook for Dancers

The BLS projects that jobs for dancers will grow by 6% between 2012 and 2022, slower than the projected growth rate for all other occupations.  Jobs for choreographers are expected to grow by 24% in the same time period, this growth can be largely attributed to the growing interest in the market for dance lessons through private studios.

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