Dance Department students have access, by audition, to a variety of performance opportunities throughout their career at the Mason Gross School, including fall and spring DancePlus faculty concerts, BFA Senior Concerts, Student Dance Concerts and traveling with University DanceWorks, the student touring dance company. Dance students also have opportunities outside the department to perform in Opera at Rutgers productions, as well as in interdisciplinary projects supported by the Mason Gross Student Government Association.
University DanceWorks (UDW), the touring student dance company of Mason Gross School of the Arts, was created in 1981 and is staffed, by audition, with advanced bachelor of fine arts candidates from the Dance Department. Student performers are exposed to the demands of participating in a professional dance company. After a rigorous, 14-week rehearsal period in the fall, UDW travels extensively during the spring semester throughout New Jersey and the New York City and Philadelphia metropolitan areas.
UDW presents formal concerts, lecture-demonstrations, and age-appropriate workshops for diverse populations, from kindergartners to senior citizens. UDW has been honored to work with internationally renowned guest choreographers such as David Parsons, Susan Marshall, Bill T. Jones, Trisha Brown, Doug Varone, and Urban Bush Women, among others. As a testament to the professionalism and superior skill level of the dancers, UDW was the first college dance company in the United States privileged to perform the works of well-known choreographers Rennie Harris and Stephen Petronio. Exceptional student choreography chosen by UDW’s artistic director is often included in the company’s touring repertoire.
In 2009, UDW was awarded the Ernest E. McMahon Class of 1930 Award in recognition of the group’s efforts to extend the cultural and educational resources of Rutgers University to the people of New Jersey.
DancePlus is the Department of Dance's biannual faculty and guest-artist production. Students are cast in works choreographed by faculty and guest artists and perform in Victoria J. Mastrobuono Theater, the main-stage 360-seat proscenium.
First-Year BFA Major Repertory Course
All first-year BFA dance majors have the opportunity to perform the works of faculty and/or guest artists on the mainstage in their second semester through the "Performance Skills" course. "Performance Skills" is designed to build on skills learned in ballet and modern technique, improvisation, and theory courses from the first semester of study in the BFA curriculum. The "Performance Skills" repertory is presented during the Spring DancePlus concert in our proscenium New Theater.
Students from the BFA, BA and minor programs, first-year through fourth-year, are encouraged to create and audition original works for this annual concert that is produced and presented to the public in our 180-seat, black-box Loree Dance Studio Theater.
Seniors work with faculty mentors throughout their final year to create new choreographic works that are produced and presented on the main-stage in our 360-seat proscenium Victoria J. Mastrobuono Theater. The Senior Concert is the culminating performance and choreographic event of the BFA curriculum.
Graduate Dance Concert
Students from the EdM perform in faculty and guest work, create and audition original works and collaborate with P-12 schools to develop childrenʼs performance pieces aligned with curriculum.
Launch Pad provides graduating seniors the opportunity to see their works produced in New York City by the Department of Dance. Each year, exceptional works from the Senior Concert are selected and presented at a high-profile venue in New York City. Guest artists, artistic directors, company managers, and other representatives from the professional dance world are invited to the performance and reception, where they meet student performers and choreographers. Launch Pad is an excellent opportunity for young performers and choreographers to "see and be seen" and to network with professionals in the field.