Located in one of the most vibrant and diverse cities in the country and home to the largest dance community outside of New York City, the USFs Dance Program offers a rigorous course of study within the nation’s only Performing Arts & Social Justice major with a concentration or minor in dance. Supported by the university’s thriving liberal arts environment, our innovative program promotes technical and academic rigor, individual artistry, community engagement, and social action.
Major with Dance Concentration
The Performing Arts & Social Justice with a Dance Concentration is open to all USF students. Students learn how to combine their passion for studying dance with their desire to make a positive impact on their communities. The program is built around the belief that the performing arts are an integral part of social change. By connecting artistic practice with academic theory, providing many performance opportunities on campus stages, and taking students off-campus to engage in community-based artistic projects, the PASJ Dance Major gives students a robust tool-kit to use to achieve their future artistic and social goals.
The Dance Minor is open to all students and is compatible with any major course of study. The goal of the minor is to develop artists who are not only technically competent and versatile, but who have also explored the conceptual, compositional and creative processes underlying dance as an artistic form. Working closely with faculty and peers, students will develop the means to understand the body, stimulate the imagination, and challenge the intellect.
From the moment you enter our program you are invited to audition for performances. For any performance ensemble students can enroll for 0-4 units. The Dance season includes two main stage concerts per year of original and commissioned works. There are two performance groups, the USF Dance Ensemble and the Dance Generators. There are also many informal performing opportunities, such as the Student Cabaret production series, which gives motivated students the opportunity to write, direct, choreograph, compose, and perform work of their choosing.
- USF Dance Ensemble is comprised of students who audition at the beginning of the Fall and Spring semesters to perform in the USF Dance Concerts. Choreographers in the Fall Concert are guest artists from the Bay Area who are aligned with the Performing Arts and Social Justice mission. Guest artists have included nationally recognized artists such as AXIS Dance Company, Sean Dorsey, Erika Schuch, Marc Bamuthi Joseph, Tandy Beal, and Jo Kreiter. In the Spring, the USF Dance Ensemble works with choreographers who are on faculty in the Dance Program and Senior PASJ/Dance Concentration students. If chosen to be in a piece, you can receive credit through DANC 480-01.
- Dance Generators are a group of USF students and Senior Bay Area Adults, aged 17-72, who strive to create thought-provoking works of dance/theater. Through our casting, our content, and our movement choices, we aim to stretch audiences’ definitions of dance. We perform in Dance Festivals, Schools and Senior Centers throughout the Bay Area. This group is by audition, but open to all students regardless of your level of dance experience.
Do I have to audition to be a Dance Major or Minor?
No, you do not need to audition to be a PASJ Major with a concentration in Dance or a Dance Minor. You apply as a regular undergraduate at USF and declare your major or minor. Placement in correct technique level occurs the first week of classes.
What style of dance will be the focus if I am a Dance Major?
Our dance program is based in modern/contemporary technique. We also offer classes in many additional styles and forms to accompany this foundation, including ballet, contact improvisation, jazz/theater, traditional Balinese dance, and West African.
Can I be a Dance Minor if I'm a Business, Nursing, Education, or Biology Major?
Absolutely. We have had dance minors and double majors pursuing a wide variety of degree programs at USF. We work closely with students to devise a course of study that will work with any degree track.
What opportunities exist for students interested in interacting with the San Francisco dance community?
Every fall the USF Dance program invites a few highly regarded dance artists from the Bay Area dance scene to perform or choreograph works for the USF Dance Ensemble dancers. We host monthly forums for our PASJ Majors/Minors that introduce students to a broad range of performance artists working to integrate content and/or practices that address issues of social justice. We also offer several courses and independent study opportunities that connect interested students directly with artists, organizations, and community groups currently active in the areas of Bay Area art and activism. In many cases, these introductions have lead to lasting and meaningful relationships that have yielded job and internship opportunities before and after graduation.
What kinds of jobs does a BA in PASJ Dance Emphasis prepare me for after I graduate?
Our graduates have used their Performing Arts and Social Justice/Dance Concentration degree in various ways. A number of them are choreographers, dance performers or artistic directors of dance companies. Some opened private dance studios and some teach dance in community settings including public schools and senior centers. PASJ/Dance Concentration graduates are employed in the field of arts management as arts administrators and others have gone on to become pilates instructors, yoga teachers and bodyworkers. Many have continued their education by attending graduate school in dance or dance related fields e.g. sports medicine or physical therapy. Others have used their undergraduate dance degree as a springboard to launch into non-dance careers e.g. architecture, medicine. Visit our Facebook page to find out what our recent graduates are up to.
Can I take dance classes even if I am not a PASJ Major or a Dance Minor?
Yes, classes are open to all USF undergraduate students. The Dance Program offers a variety of classes that will fit any interest. Some of our classes include: modern, ballet, hip hop, jazz/theater dance, Flamenco, ballroom, and West African. The classes can be taken from 1-2 or 1-3 units depending on the class, and will appear on your academic transcript. The Dance Program also offers 4 unit courses such as Dance in San Francisco, Dance and Social History, Popular Dance Culture and Subcultures, Composition I, Composition II, and Dance in the Community.