The BFA curriculum offers the serious and dedicated dance student professional training in classical ballet and contemporary modern dance, as well as an extensive curriculum in composition. Performance both on campus and on tour is an integral and required part of dance training at Purchase.
Our programs are designed to graduate individuals who will meet or exceed the prerequisites of the dance profession. We prepare you to become a dancer, choreographer, or to enter the field of dance production. Our curriculum and policies reflect a dedication to the development of your individual talent. We stimulate your growth as a dancer through the performance techniques of American/European concert modern dance and classical ballet and the study of dance composition. A professional faculty provides the expertise, guidance, and inspiration required for excellence in teaching. Our students bring the talent, discipline, and passion needed for success. Our goal is to bring out the very best in technique, artistry, and creativity that our young dancers can achieve.
Students earn a BFA in dance. All students enter the conservatory program in the area of dance performance. Subsequently, they may remain in dance performance or apply for one the following concentrations: ballet, dance composition (choreography), or dance production.
Concentration decisions are approved by the Dance Board of Study. Sophomore jury results determine a student’s concentration status.
Performance is an integral and required part of the professional training program. The Purchase Dance Company (selected BFA students in the Conservatory of Dance) performs major concerts in the Performing Arts Center; in student and faculty concerts in the Dance Theatre Lab; and on tour in New York City, New York State, and abroad. They also participate in special performances for children and at lecture/demonstrations. The program culminates in the senior project, for which each senior performs a repertory piece and co-produces a concert as requirements for graduation.
Repertory for the Purchase Dance Company’s major concerts and tours has included George Balanchine’s Serenade, Valse Fantaisie, The Four Temperaments, and Tarantella; Merce Cunningham’s Changing Steps, Duets, and Septet; Doris Humphrey’s The Shakers and Passacaglia; Paul Taylor’s Cloven Kingdom, Le Sacre du Printemps, Junction, and Company B; Mark Morris’ Gloria, A Lake, and Grand Duo; Lar Lubovitch's Dvorak Serenade, Twyla Tharp's Sweet Fields; Stephen Petronio's Lareigne; Kenneth MacMillan’s Pas de Deux from Concerto; Cynthia Gregory’s Solo; Lester Horton’s Beloved; Bill T. Jones’ D-Man in the Waters; Dianne McIntyre’s Lyric Fire; Doug Varone’s Strict Love, Possession, and Rise; Jessica Lang's Prayers; Lin Hwai Min’s Crossing the Black Water; and the annual Nutcracker production; as well as work created for the Purchase Dance Company by Luca Veggetti, Shen Wei, Stanton Welch, Lauri Stallings, Helen Pickett, Pam Tanowitz, and Robert Hill, and by guest artists, emerging choreographers, alumni, and faculty.
New works and classics in both ballet and modern dance are prepared and rehearsed for performance each year. The choreography is licensed from major artists or created by faculty and guest artists.
The codified theatrical dance derived from the Italian, French, and Russian schools, known as “classical ballet,” is taught on progressive levels of technical proficiency. In addition, there are partnering, pointe, men’s classes, and concert repertory, which further develop specific skills required of the classically trained dancer.
American contemporary dance techniques, originated by distinguished dance artists, are studied on progressive levels as a dynamic and developing art form. Technique is amplified by classes in modern partnering, the repertory of classic and current choreography, and collaboration with artists in other disciplines.
The creative process of choreography is studied through three year-long courses in dance composition, either in modern or ballet idioms, preceded by one year of improvisation. Juniors present choreographic projects. The program culminates in the senior project in composition, performed in the Dance Theatre Lab as a requirement for graduation. Student choreography is auditioned for student concerts, student/faculty concerts, and lecture/demonstrations.
The Conservatory of Dance stresses a comprehensive professional dance curriculum, and dancers should be well versed in all aspects of technical dance production. A student concentrating in dance production receives training in lighting, sound, stage management, video production, and administration. Participation in all Conservatory of Dance productions is emphasized.
The Conservatory of Dance has a strong commitment to the musical training of its students. This is reflected in the curriculum, which includes a historical survey of musical resources and courses that explore the shared elements of temporal arts (meter, tempo, rhythm, dynamics, texture, phrase, form, etc.), coaching for musicality, and score reading, together with extensive listening and analysis.
In addition to training in technique and composition, students study the history of dance as an evolving form. Eight credits of dance history are a requirement for graduation and may be counted toward the liberal arts requirement (30 credits minimum) for the BFA degree.
All BFA degree programs at Purchase College include core curriculum requirements.
Updated March 6, 2013
For current majors:
In consultation with your faculty advisor, the eight-semester plans on the Office of the Registrar’s site can be used as a general guide to assist you in your academic planning and progress toward graduation.