Skip navigation

School of Performing and Visual Arts


The challenging and intensive four-year USM dance major program is grounded in a comprehensive curriculum of dance technique (ballet and modern), choreography and performance. The dance education emphasis is designed to provide students with the credentials necessary to teach dance in the Mississippi public school system.
Course offerings include dance appreciation, dance in cultural context, 20th century dance forms, improvisation, composition, rhythmic analysis and accompaniment, music analysis and resources, methods of teaching K-12, labanotation, junior choreographic project, senior choreographic research project, dance repertory, dance production, modern, ballet, and jazz.

At USM Dance, we prepare our majors for post-graduation careers. We feature:

  • Nationally-renowned faculty members, who continue to teach, perform, and choreograph across the U.S., while interacting personally with each dance major.
  • Guest artists in varying styles, such as West African dance, modern dance, dance theatre, house, vogue, jazz, Horton-technique, and social dance.
  • Internship requirement for all majors. Developed in conjunction with the student’s adviser, the internship furthers the education and exposure to an area of professional interest for the student. Recent students’ internships include participating in: USM’s British Studies Dance Program in London, the American Dance Festival, Mark Morris Dance Group’s winter intensive, the International Association of Black Dance conference, lead intern for the Mississippi Dance Festival, and choreographing for summer stock musical performances.
  • Additional opportunities in dance education, dance therapy, arts administration, marketing, and more are available.

An alumni network around the nation. Our graduates within the last 10 years:

  • Dance professionally in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, Atlanta, Austin, Nashville, New Orleans, Orlando, Indianapolis, Birmingham, Jackson, and Hattiesburg. 1 From Attributes Employers Seek on a Candidate’s Resumé, by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, December, 2016. 2 From The New Normal: Four job changes by the time you’re 32, report by CNNMoney, April, 2016.
  • Teach in studios, colleges, and licensed K-12 programs throughout Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Illinois, New York, Georgia, California, and Tennessee. We have a 100% job placement rate for USM dance majors who pursue our K-12 dance education licensure track.
  • Run dance companies in New York, Austin, Chicago, New Orleans, and Hattiesburg.
    Have gone to graduate schools in New York, California, Utah, Illinois, Florida, Massachusetts, and Washington, D.C. for advanced degrees in performance, choreography, arts administration, and dance/movement therapy.
  • Have shown choreography in New York, California, Illinois, Michigan, Tennessee, Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Texas, Florida, Utah, Alabama, Mississippi, and Washington, D.C. Not only will you be prepared as a dance artist/educator at USM’s Dance Department, you will have connections and resources to draw on around the nation.

Whether you go on to a job in a dance field or a different one, you will have gained the skills you need through your dance major.

  • Adaptability: Training not just to be a dancer, but to choreograph, teach, write grants, lead others, use technology, research topics
  • Self-promotion: Learning to look for dance job opportunities, creating application packets appropriate for those jobs, articulating strengths that relate to the specific job applying for; promoting/marketing dance concerts; learning to talk about dance/self with non-artists
  • Self-confidence: Built through auditioning, teaching, and performing

Fact Sheet