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Major Maps

Strategic Enrollment Management and Student Success

Visit majormaps.vcu.edu for the online version with links.
Sponsored by the Office of the Provost
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2021-2022

Dance and Choreography

School of the Arts

Concentration(s):
Performance/Richmond Ballet
Program description

The mission of the Department of Dance and Choreography is to create an environment where the student experiences the demands and challenges of the professional dancer/choreographer. In a community setting where communication, mutual respect and self-motivation are encouraged, classes provide students with disciplined training that will maximize their potential to become dancers of technical excellence, choreographers with original and powerful voices and thinkers with high academic standards.


Students are trained to be performers, choreographers and teachers in this curriculum, which emphasizes modern dance and offers dance courses in modern, improvisation, composition, choreography, music, and dance forms and dance history, as well as ballet, jazz, tap, hip-hop, ballroom, contact improvisation, dance science, anatomy for dancers, video/choreography and teaching methods for dance.


Additionally, prospective students can expect a variety of experiential learning opportunities in performance, choreography, and production. These opportunities enable students to develop as savvy, expressive artists with professional training in dance technique, knowledge of dance philosophies and a foundation in history, enabling them to function as independent and creative artists in the field of dance.


Finally, a concentration within the BFA is specifically designed and offered for Richmond Ballet trainees. This concentration is intended for disciplined students who are interested in attaining versatility in both ballet and modern/contemporary dance while exploring creative, historical, and global perspectives of the art. This unique program bridges trainee experience with the Richmond Ballet professional company and rigorous pre-professional training with a focus in modern/contemporary dance. A very small number of students in this degree program are offered the opportunity to join Richmond Ballet II after their first two years.


VCU Dance is an accredited member of the National Association of Schools of Dance.

Career opportunities

The Dance and Choreography degree is specifically designed to prepare students for a variety of options within the art. Alumni have started their own dance companies as choreographers; screened their videodances at national and international film festivals; and developed collaborative partnerships with other artists. Many alumni are actively dancing in professional companies, including but not limited to Urban Bush Women, Helen Simoneau Danse, Company E, the Broadway cast of The Lion King, John Jasperse Company, Kate Weare Company, Dallas Black Dance Theatre, Diavolo, Shen Wei Dance Arts, commercial dance opportunities, cruise ships, and many more. Some alumni have embraced arts administration, serving in directorial, managerial, or operations roles at well-known organizations, such as The American Dance Festival at Duke University, or Mark Morris Dance Group. Many alumni are actively teaching in performing arts high schools, privately-owned dance studios, pre-professional training schools, recreational programs, yoga and Pilates studios, and dance departments across the country. Additional career paths in dance-related fields include stage management, lighting design for dance, theater management, costume design for dance, grant writing, bodywork and massage, dance technology, dance sciences and physical therapy, and more growing opportunities within hybridized industries. 


The BFA Richmond Ballet Trainee concentration at VCU Dance and Choreography is specifically designed to prepare students for a professional ballet career and a variety of options within the field. Many alumni are actively dancing in professional companies, including but not limited to Company E, the Richmond Ballet II, Fort Wayne Ballet, and Gin Dance Company. Alumni have started their own dance companies as choreographers and directors. Some alumni have embraced arts administration, serving in directorial, managerial, or operations roles at well-known organizations. Many alumni are actively teaching dance and fitness in a variety of educational and studio settings.

Change of major requirements

Students who meet the following qualifications are encouraged to submit an application to: http://arts.vcu.edu/admissions/how-to-apply/current-vcu-student/


Talent and potential as an artist in the field of dance; Prior training and the ability to demonstrate knowledge of modern dance and/or classical ballet techniques; Ability to demonstrate musicality and dynamic range; A healthy, physically conditioned body that is injury free and openness to new ideas and the ability to engage in creative problem solving.


An audition is required.


Bachelor-level job titles
  • Arts Administrator: Development Associate, Marketing Associate, Box Office Associate
  • Grant Writer
  • Professional Choreographer
  • Professional Dancer
  • Rehearsal Assistant
  • Screendance: Director, Videographer, Editor
  • Stage Manager, Theater Manager, and Lighting Designer
  • Teacher: Dance, Yoga, Pilates, Physical Fitness
Graduate and professional level job titles
  • Art Manager
  • College or Conservatory Instructor
  • Dance/Movement Therapist
  • Nonprofit Director
Highest level of math required
  • Quantitative Foundations requirement only
Science required
  • Core only
Foreign language requirements
  • No
Additional tuition/fees
  • Yes
GPA requirements (to progress/graduate in the major)
  • 2.0
Department name:
Department of Dance and Choreography
Building/room location:
VCU Dance Center
Campus (where 75% of courses are taken):
Monroe park
Phone:
(804) 828-1711
Email:
steppll@vcu.edu

Major map compass icon [View Image]
Major map

Explore
MAXIMIZE COURSE AND DEGREE PLANNING
GET CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY
BUILD CULTURAL COMPETENCE
GET REAL EXPERIENCE
PREPARING FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE

Experience
MAXIMIZE COURSE AND DEGREE PLANNING
  • Schedule an appointment with your advisor to explore minors, certificates, and plan your required REAL experience.
  • Through the diverse guests, alumni, and students you have engaged with thus far, observe and make note of the many shapes dance careers can take, and reflect on what excites you most.
  • Get familiar with the research process with the VCU Libraries Research Basics Guide.
  • Talk to professors about your research interests, electives, and strategies for success in your classes.
  • Explore innovation and business/non-profit creation classes with the da Vinci Center.
GET CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY
  • Discuss personal and professional interests with faculty.
  • Take a service-learning class to get involved with local organizations while earning credit.
  • Volunteer to address a social issue and check out Hands on Greater Richmond for opportunities.
  • Learn about the Sophomore Year Experience in Cary & Belvedere.
  • If living on campus, join the Residence Hall Association.
  • During your 2nd and 3rd years: volunteer to dance in the Fall and Spring Commencements; share news and learn about opportunities in Friday Workshop class.
  • Volunteer to be a Dance Student Representative.
BUILD CULTURAL COMPETENCE
  • Make friends with diverse perspectives and join a cultural or identity-related student organization.
  • Explore social issues, develop cultural competency skills, and engage with faculty through iExcel pop-up courses.
  • Investigate globally-focused courses in your major by pursuing language coursework or setting language proficiency goals with advisors and faculty.
  • Apply for the Critical Languages Scholarship.
  • Research Study Abroad options specific to the Dance Department and meet with your Academic Advisor to discuss credits.
  • Register for West African Dance, Hip Hop, Salsa, Ballroom, Tap, or Jazz.
GET REAL EXPERIENCE
  • Complete a gap analysis with your career advisor to identify key skills required for your professional field.
  • Present research at the Student Research Forum in the Spring.
  • Seek out practical experience through independent skill-building, internships, shadowing, or part-time work.
  • Explore global career options with a career advisor to set goals for getting your dream job.
  • Organize examples of your academic and professional experiences, accomplishments, and reflections in an ePortfolio.
  • Attend career and internship fairs and other professional development events.
  • Pursue a digital badge to highlight the knowledge, skills, and experiences employers and graduate schools value.
  • Apply for VCUarts Undergraduate Research Grants to support creative work every year.
PREPARING FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE
  • Audition for Fall and Spring Senior projects and volunteer for Junior projects.   
  • Connect with alumni on VCULink for career advice, industry contacts, and meaningful professional relationships.
  • Conduct informational interviews or shadow someone in a field of professional interest.
  • Ask a faculty or staff member to be your academic and professional mentor and to provide future letters of recommendation.
  • Meet with a coach at The Money Spot to set financial goals, understand student loans, and create spending plans.

Experience
MAXIMIZE COURSE AND DEGREE PLANNING
  • See your academic and career advisors to discuss graduation progress and career planning.
  • Enhance your business, software, technology, and creative skills using LinkedIn Learning.
  • Start planning and conducting research to prepare for your Senior Project Proposals.
GET CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY
BUILD CULTURAL COMPETENCE
  • Build language proficiency and cultural competence by carrying out your plans for study abroad, internships, and service-learning.
  • Update your resume to include how you have developed your communication and interpersonal skills for future work on multidisciplinary and multicultural teams.
  • Get required REAL experience and effect community change by using iExcel’s Active Citizen’s Toolkit to vote and volunteer.
  • Explore new cultures at one of Richmond’s wide array of festivals.
  • Prepare for future work on multidisciplinary and multicultural teams by showcasing your interpersonal skills on your resume.
  • Study abroad in the spring in opportunities in Paris, London, Jerusalem, Ghana, and more.  
  • Enroll in African American Presence in Dance and/or Dance and World Cultures and courses.
GET REAL EXPERIENCE
  • Take advantage of mock interview opportunities through InterviewStream or meeting with a career advisor.
  • Update your ePortfolio.
  • Apply for the Graduate School Mentorship Program to learn more about graduate school and the graduate student experience.
  • Apply for internships in the field of dance.   
  • Explore Dance Career electives to deepen your skill set in particular areas of interest.
  • Audition for Fall and Spring Senior projects. 
PREPARING FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE
  • Make a plan with your academic, career, and faculty advisors for applying to graduate school or land a micro-internship.
  • Talk to advisors, faculty, and VCU Career Services about graduate school versus a job.
  • Study for and complete any standardized exams required for graduate school the summer before senior year. 
  • Prepare for job offer negotiation by researching salaries, benefits, and other opportunities for flexibility.
  • Consider applying for and attending summer programs to make connections and further develop your interests.
  • Update your “Gap Analysis” Strategic Plan with your academic advisor

Excel
MAXIMIZE COURSE AND DEGREE PLANNING
  • Build a personal website containing your artistic statement, resume, biography, video reel/samples, and photos in the Senior Project class.
  • Build a teaching portfolio. 
  • Schedule an appointment with your academic advisor the semester before you graduate to ensure that all graduation requirements will be met.
  • Choose REAL electives to diversify your skillset and round out your degree.
GET CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY
BUILD CULTURAL COMPETENCE
  • Carry out globally-oriented research projects with multilingual faculty and international partners.
  • Read scholarly articles about diversity in your field.
  • Master your answers to interview questions about your experience working with diverse populations.
  • Plan for how you will grow your cultural agility after graduation.
  • Consider how identity impacts art-making and career-building.
  • Continue to engage in research, workshops, or skill-building opportunities that will deepen and further your unique journey in the field of dance.
GET REAL EXPERIENCE
  • Meet with your academic or professional mentor and identify examples of your experiential learning to share with employers.
  • Publish your original research in Auctus: The Journal of Undergraduate Research and Creativity.
  • Consider becoming an educator through programs like RTR, which prepare graduates from a variety of majors to become teachers in high-need schools.
  • Gain practical experience related to your career goals by applying for internships, fellowships, and scholarship opportunities.
  • Submit work to the Richmond Dance Festival and other choreographic festivals nationally.
PREPARING FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE
  • Prepare for graduation by making a plan to complete licensing exams, applications, and self-marketing activities.
  • Single out prospective employers and create a job or graduate school search strategy at least 8 months before graduation.
  • Have a personal statement or cover letter reviewed by Career Services. 
  • Connect with the Office of VCU Alumni Relations at Grad Fair, Grad Bash, and the VCULink Industry Network or alumni chapter.
  • Prepare headshots, a video reel, and a finalized resume for auditions and applications.
Visit majormaps.vcu.edu for the online version with links.
Sponsored by the Office of the Provost
Major map compass icon [View Image]
2021-2022

Dance and Choreography

School of the Arts

Concentration(s):
Performance/Richmond Ballet
MAXIMIZE COURSE AND DEGREE PLANNINGGET CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITYBUILD CULTURAL COMPETENCEGET REAL EXPERIENCEPREPARING FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE
ExploreYear 1
ExperienceYear 2
  • Schedule an appointment with your advisor to explore minors, certificates, and plan your required REAL experience.
  • Through the diverse guests, alumni, and students you have engaged with thus far, observe and make note of the many shapes dance careers can take, and reflect on what excites you most.
  • Get familiar with the research process with the VCU Libraries Research Basics Guide.
  • Talk to professors about your research interests, electives, and strategies for success in your classes.
  • Explore innovation and business/non-profit creation classes with the da Vinci Center.
  • Discuss personal and professional interests with faculty.
  • Take a service-learning class to get involved with local organizations while earning credit.
  • Volunteer to address a social issue and check out Hands on Greater Richmond for opportunities.
  • Learn about the Sophomore Year Experience in Cary & Belvedere.
  • If living on campus, join the Residence Hall Association.
  • During your 2nd and 3rd years: volunteer to dance in the Fall and Spring Commencements; share news and learn about opportunities in Friday Workshop class.
  • Volunteer to be a Dance Student Representative.
  • Make friends with diverse perspectives and join a cultural or identity-related student organization.
  • Explore social issues, develop cultural competency skills, and engage with faculty through iExcel pop-up courses.
  • Investigate globally-focused courses in your major by pursuing language coursework or setting language proficiency goals with advisors and faculty.
  • Apply for the Critical Languages Scholarship.
  • Research Study Abroad options specific to the Dance Department and meet with your Academic Advisor to discuss credits.
  • Register for West African Dance, Hip Hop, Salsa, Ballroom, Tap, or Jazz.
  • Complete a gap analysis with your career advisor to identify key skills required for your professional field.
  • Present research at the Student Research Forum in the Spring.
  • Seek out practical experience through independent skill-building, internships, shadowing, or part-time work.
  • Explore global career options with a career advisor to set goals for getting your dream job.
  • Organize examples of your academic and professional experiences, accomplishments, and reflections in an ePortfolio.
  • Attend career and internship fairs and other professional development events.
  • Pursue a digital badge to highlight the knowledge, skills, and experiences employers and graduate schools value.
  • Apply for VCUarts Undergraduate Research Grants to support creative work every year.
  • Audition for Fall and Spring Senior projects and volunteer for Junior projects.   
  • Connect with alumni on VCULink for career advice, industry contacts, and meaningful professional relationships.
  • Conduct informational interviews or shadow someone in a field of professional interest.
  • Ask a faculty or staff member to be your academic and professional mentor and to provide future letters of recommendation.
  • Meet with a coach at The Money Spot to set financial goals, understand student loans, and create spending plans.
Year 3
  • See your academic and career advisors to discuss graduation progress and career planning.
  • Enhance your business, software, technology, and creative skills using LinkedIn Learning.
  • Start planning and conducting research to prepare for your Senior Project Proposals.
  • Build language proficiency and cultural competence by carrying out your plans for study abroad, internships, and service-learning.
  • Update your resume to include how you have developed your communication and interpersonal skills for future work on multidisciplinary and multicultural teams.
  • Get required REAL experience and effect community change by using iExcel’s Active Citizen’s Toolkit to vote and volunteer.
  • Explore new cultures at one of Richmond’s wide array of festivals.
  • Prepare for future work on multidisciplinary and multicultural teams by showcasing your interpersonal skills on your resume.
  • Study abroad in the spring in opportunities in Paris, London, Jerusalem, Ghana, and more.  
  • Enroll in African American Presence in Dance and/or Dance and World Cultures and courses.
  • Take advantage of mock interview opportunities through InterviewStream or meeting with a career advisor.
  • Update your ePortfolio.
  • Apply for the Graduate School Mentorship Program to learn more about graduate school and the graduate student experience.
  • Apply for internships in the field of dance.   
  • Explore Dance Career electives to deepen your skill set in particular areas of interest.
  • Audition for Fall and Spring Senior projects. 
  • Make a plan with your academic, career, and faculty advisors for applying to graduate school or land a micro-internship.
  • Talk to advisors, faculty, and VCU Career Services about graduate school versus a job.
  • Study for and complete any standardized exams required for graduate school the summer before senior year. 
  • Prepare for job offer negotiation by researching salaries, benefits, and other opportunities for flexibility.
  • Consider applying for and attending summer programs to make connections and further develop your interests.
  • Update your “Gap Analysis” Strategic Plan with your academic advisor
ExcelYear 4
  • Build a personal website containing your artistic statement, resume, biography, video reel/samples, and photos in the Senior Project class.
  • Build a teaching portfolio. 
  • Schedule an appointment with your academic advisor the semester before you graduate to ensure that all graduation requirements will be met.
  • Choose REAL electives to diversify your skillset and round out your degree.
  • Carry out globally-oriented research projects with multilingual faculty and international partners.
  • Read scholarly articles about diversity in your field.
  • Master your answers to interview questions about your experience working with diverse populations.
  • Plan for how you will grow your cultural agility after graduation.
  • Consider how identity impacts art-making and career-building.
  • Continue to engage in research, workshops, or skill-building opportunities that will deepen and further your unique journey in the field of dance.
  • Meet with your academic or professional mentor and identify examples of your experiential learning to share with employers.
  • Publish your original research in Auctus: The Journal of Undergraduate Research and Creativity.
  • Consider becoming an educator through programs like RTR, which prepare graduates from a variety of majors to become teachers in high-need schools.
  • Gain practical experience related to your career goals by applying for internships, fellowships, and scholarship opportunities.
  • Submit work to the Richmond Dance Festival and other choreographic festivals nationally.
  • Prepare for graduation by making a plan to complete licensing exams, applications, and self-marketing activities.
  • Single out prospective employers and create a job or graduate school search strategy at least 8 months before graduation.
  • Have a personal statement or cover letter reviewed by Career Services. 
  • Connect with the Office of VCU Alumni Relations at Grad Fair, Grad Bash, and the VCULink Industry Network or alumni chapter.
  • Prepare headshots, a video reel, and a finalized resume for auditions and applications.
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