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Dance at Mason Gross

Situated within a nationally ranked research university just 40 minutes from New York City, the Dance Department seeks to cultivate a diverse and inclusive community of dance artists of the highest caliber who are collaborative and multi-dimensional in their view and knowledge of the dance field internationally. Through comprehensive, innovative, student-centered curricula, Dance at Mason Gross fosters excellence at the intersection of dance performance, creative achievement, and research inquiry. The Dance Department is an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Dance (NASD).


An accomplished and diverse faculty of artist-scholar-educators provides mentorship and expert instruction in dance techniques, somatic studies, performance, choreography, pedagogy, and theoretical studies. Students pursue their creative and scholarly research on multiple levels, with faculty encouraging the development of critical thinking skills as a base to career pathways in the arts, business, education, the sciences, and technology. Students attain fundamental knowledge of how their embodied experiences, including improvising, performing, choreographing, writing, and teaching are investigated, integrated, and ultimately synthesized through artistic and scholarly methodologies. See the complete list of Dance Department faculty.



BFA in Dance

The Bachelor of Fine Arts program in Dance is for students seeking careers as professional dance artists who wish to pursue their goals within the artistic and intellectual climate of a major research university. The faculty’s diverse interests and accomplishments as artists, scholars, and educators ensure expert direction in all three areas of the curriculum: technique and performance, choreography, and theoretical studies. Students applying to the BFA in Dance must submit an application to the Mason Gross School of the Arts. An audition is required. 

Undergraduate Coordinator: Elaine Chu

View BFA undergraduate catalog


BFA Training

The Dance Department enrolls a cohort of approximately 40 students each year in the BFA degree program. BFA dance majors pursue their studies in a dedicated community that prioritizes their development as future artists, educators, and scholars. Students are guided to extend and refine their artistic potential through work in state-of-the-art studio and performance facilities just 45 minutes from New York City. The Dance Department regularly hosts dance companies and dance practitioners who are internationally renowned in the field, offering students opportunities to work side-by-side on the stage and in the classroom with professional choreographers, dance educators, and dance scholars. Review the BFA curriculum, including studio and theoretical courses 


BFA Dance Majors - International Study Abroad

BFA majors in their third year of study may study abroad at one of the following programs: 

The DanceJerusalem program in Jerusalem, Israel, facilitated jointly by the Rothberg International School (RIS) and the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance (JAMD), combines artistic training in dance skills and technique with academic exposure to Israel’s social, historical, and cultural environment. Mason Gross BFA dance majors eligible for study abroad pursue artistic and technical training in classical ballet, contemporary dance (including Ohad Naharin’s GaGa technique), choreography, repertoire, and improvisation. Master classes with Batsheva dance company members and guest artist residencies provide students with unparalleled opportunities to create, rehearse, and perform works with outstanding Israeli composers and choreographers.

Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in London, United Kingdom, is recognized as one of the world’s leading dance training institutions. Mason Gross BFA dance majors eligible for study abroad can expect to deepen their understanding of contemporary dance, while enhancing both technical ability and creative skills. State-of-the-art facilities include a 300-seat theater, studio theater, and outdoor theater, 13 purpose-built dance studios, and an extensive library and archive. Laban’s links with the professional dance world, the local community, and other arts organizations in the United Kingdom and Europe afford students opportunities to expand their networks within the international field of dance. 

For more information on these programs, visit Rutgers Global.

BA in Dance

The bachelor of arts degree in dance is for students seeking a broad liberal arts education with a specialization in the area of dance. Students applying for the BA in dance must submit an application to the School of Arts and Sciences. An audition is required. See BA in Dance Requirements.


Courses for Non-Majors and Non-Minors

The Dance Department offers both studio courses as well as theoretical dance studies courses for non-major and non-minor students. Multiple general education dance online courses are available that introduce students to historical and theoretical frameworks of diverse dance forms. See available online dance courses.

Certificate in International Dance Studies Online

Unique to Rutgers, students may pursue a certificate in International Dance Studies Online through the Rutgers Arts Online division. The International Dance Studies Online Certificate offers elective dance studies general education courses; each course is an inquiry into international dance practices in their social, cultural, political, religious, and historical contexts. All courses are taught by dance artist/scholars with masters’ and doctoral degrees in dance studies and dance education. By completion of this certificate, students will demonstrate:

  • Knowledge of a variety of international dance practices in their social, historical, cultural, political, and/or religious contexts
  • Critical analysis of dance practices from an array of global/local cultural contexts
  • Understanding of the complexities of globalizing pressures on changing dance practices
  • Critical thinking in the form of print text and graphic format argumentation about a variety of international dance practices

For more information, visit Rutgers Arts Online.

BFA/EdM Five-Year Program

This joint-degree track is an exceptional opportunity to earn an undergraduate degree in dance in a conservatory setting and a master’s degree in education in five years at a cost savings. 

Students on the five-year​ BFA/EdM track overlap degree requirements at two different schools: Mason Gross School of the Arts and Rutgers Graduate School of Education. The BFA degree is conferred by Mason Gross School of the Arts at the end of the senior year. The EdM degree is conferred by the Graduate School of Education after an additional year of graduate studies. 

The diverse interests of the Mason Gross and Graduate School of Education faculty ensure expert direction in four core areas of study: technique and performance, creative process and choreography, theoretical dance study, and dance education. Students on this track have many career options, including: ​ 

  1. Certified dance educators in PK–12 schools​ 
  2. Educational leadership in community arts settings 
  3. PK-12 dance teacher preparation on the university level  
  4. Doctoral study 

The five-year teacher education program in dance education leads to a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree, and initial teacher certification.


Careers in Dance

Dance alumni have moved on to accomplished careers as choreographers, dancers, educators, performers, and scholars. Alumni credits include:

  • Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company
  • Stephen Petronio Dance Company
  • Hamilton, An American Musical (Broadway and international tours)
  • Sleep No More, Punchdrunk
  • Merce Cunningham Dance Company
  • In the Heights (Broadway)
  • Pilobolus Dance Theater
  • Stomp (Broadway and international tours)
  • Metropolitan Opera Ballet
  • Walt Disney Company
  • Bowdoin College (faculty)

Graduate Programs

EdM in Dance Education

About the EdM in Dance Education

Inspirational teaching begins at the heart of artistry.

EdM Program DirectorFrederick Curry, MA, CMA, PMA®-CPT
Program CoordinatorColleen H. Klein


The EdM dance education program community understands artistry and teaching as symbiotic by nature. Grappling with how to transform artistic knowledge into meaningful learning experiences for diverse K–12 students with respect to abilities as well as social, economic, and cultural backgrounds is at the heart of graduate study in our program.

Enriched by a unique partnership between the Graduate School of Education, Mason Gross School of the Arts, and partnerships with schools and professional agencies, the EdM dance education program is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Dance (NASD) and the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC). Students finish the program with a solid education degree, a teaching portfolio, the option for K–12 dance-teacher certification, and multiple career options or advancement within dance and the education field, making this program a model of excellence for the preparation of dance educators.

Degree Tracks

Master’s Degree (EdM) with Teacher Certification

BFA & EdM in dance education five-year program for current BFA students. (link to BFA and Dance Education (5 year track)


The vision of the Dance Education Program is to sustain a community of artist-teacher-learners committed to developing the diverse, creative voices of children, adolescents, and young adults. In alignment with the New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards for Visual and Performing Arts, we believe a highly qualified dance teacher is a skilled artist with an educational repertoire that includes pedagogical knowledge, knowledge of diverse learners, and culturally relevant pedagogy and the ability to sustain a professional practice. In alignment with the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, our graduates strive to cultivate creativity, innovation, critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration, and literacy to contribute to the growth, self-efficacy, and employability of all students.


The goal of the Dance Education Program is to prepare individuals with the knowledge, skills, and dispositions needed to be effective dance educators. This is nurtured through coursework, peer collaboration, continued opportunities for developing artistry, service to the community, independent projects, fieldwork, and mentored internship.

World-class Location

Our central location in New Brunswick, New Jersey, has allowed the program to develop partnerships with K–12 schools throughout New Jersey, draw expert faculty from New Jersey/New York and to build a variety of professional networking opportunities for our students. The Rutgers campus offers a wide array of university recreation on a beautiful suburban campus. Our students find it easy to commute to or from New York City, Northern New Jersey, and the Philadelphia area.

EdM Dance Education News

  • Congratulations to 2019 EdM graduate Alexis Veglia and 2018 EdM graduate Melissa Denholtz for receiving the New Jersey Distinguished Clinical Intern award. They are the most recent of five dance education EdM graduates who have received the state-wide award for excellence in student teaching.
  • Congratulations to the 2019 EdM cohort who performed as part of the keynote presentation at the 2019 Rutgers Graduate School of Education Urban Teaching Matters Conference. [EMBED photo: DANCE_EDM_NEWS bullet point 2.JPG]
  • Congratulations to EdM alumnae Garamh Kim and Jeeseon Chung, who performed Inner Outer: Relationship between Self and Other at the 34th Annual North American Body-Mind Centering Association Conference at the University of California, Santa Barbara, in August 2019.
MFA degree program






MFA Program Director: Jeff Friedman, PhD
Program Coordinator: Colleen H. Klein

The MFA degree program offers working dance professionals the opportunity to study with award-winning dance artists, scholars, and educators. The program focuses on developing interdisciplinary praxis where dance performance, creativity, and pedagogy become integrated with studies in other art forms and theoretical studies.

Guided by the belief that dance is a fundamental embodied practice for understanding the human condition in a globalized context, the degree establishes students as creatively literate world citizens who can develop interdisciplinary solutions to address complex contemporary issues.

Our interdisciplinary approach is the hallmark of the MFA in dance at Mason Gross School of the Arts.


Because working dance artists will have already established a significant performance and creative practice, we anticipate MFA graduate students will expand their portfolio to address complex and potentially global aesthetic problems through interdisciplinary inquiry. The MFA graduate faculty provide a broad base of interdisciplinary expertise, including performance and creative theory, methods, and practices, dance studies, leadership and advocacy.

MFA students also have access to top-tier departments and faculties in the humanities with course offerings in a diverse number of areas such as philosophy and aesthetics, history, cognitive studies, women’s and gender studies, queer studies, Jewish studies, Asian studies, and African, Latino, and Caribbean Studies, among many others. Additional STEM areas of study (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) include community health, music technology, landscape architecture, and engineering robotics, among many others.


Our MFA graduate students will consider themselves interdisciplinary creative researchers who integrate articulated theories and methods with their physical training and studio inquiry. The Rutgers MFA in dance supports praxis in 3 ways:

  1. Each semester, MFA students enroll in a Praxis of Dance (POD) course. Co-taught by dance faculty, POD courses offer an integration of theory and practice that develop students’ unique praxis. Each course focuses on aesthetic, philosophical, cultural, or historical theories while integrating improvisational strategies and cross-/interdisciplinary choreographic methods.
  2. The MFA in dance allows for 10 credits of elective coursework, drawn from dance, other art forms, humanities, and/or STEM fields. MFA students develop an elective Praxis Plan that combines both theoretical and practical coursework to ultimately serve their thesis projects.
  3. MFA candidates will present their thesis through a movement-based, creative research project as well as a theoretical and methodological research paper that articulates each student’s praxis orientation.

Critical Pedagogy

Critical pedagogy incorporates critical theory within student-centered teaching where learners become producers of meaning with a focus toward progressive social change. Rutgers MFA graduates will possess pedagogy skills to effect social change through the educational process, by engaging active student learners from a strong theoretical, methodological, and practical basis. Each MFA student receives part-time lecturer appointments and, as full teachers-of-record, will apply critical pedagogy theories and methods directly in both studio and theory dance courses, face-to-face and online.


The MFA curriculum includes sequential scaffolding of coursework with intersecting course content in an effort to encourage integrated learning. Full-time students will complete 60 credits of coursework over a two-year period, including one winter session and two summer sessions. Part-time study options are available.

Through the MFA curriculum, students have the opportunity to engage in discussion with guest scholars regarding dance philosophies and aesthetics, including comparative African philosophy and more recent explorations in the areas of virtuality and technology. Mason Gross Dance collaborates with the Center for Women in the Arts and Humanities and the Rutgers Department of Philosophy to bring scholars such as Dr. Sondra Horton Fraleigh (link to 11/5/19 event on calendar) (SUNY-Brockport), Dr. Ann Cooper Albright (Oberlin), and Aili Bresnahan, JD, PhD (Dayton), among others.

MFA students perform in works specifically choreographed for the experienced professional. Guest artists setting repertory works have included Pavel Zustiak (Slovakia); Laura Peterson (Brooklyn); and Olivier Tarpaga (Burkina Faso). These works are performed during each of Mason Gross’s annual DancePlus Fall concerts in our newly built New Brunswick Performing Arts Center.

As students are mentored through a series of leadership and advocacy coursework, they enroll in Externship. This course applies social justice-based theories and methods of creative engagement toward creating artistic projects supporting community and advocacy organizations. These artistic projects are presented each spring at the annual Spring MOTION: New Dance Works concert.


Rutgers–New Brunswick, the flagship home of Rutgers University, is a member of the Association of American Universities (AAU), a highly selective organization comprising the 62 top research universities in North America. Rutgers–New Brunswick and Princeton University are New Jersey’s only AAU schools.

Located 45 minutes from New York City, students easily access the cultural opportunities of a world-class city, including venues such as Lincoln Center, Brooklyn Academy, The Joyce Theater , DanceSpace, and Movement Research, among many others. Student may also engage in additional training from an infinite variety of contemporary and classical dance techniques, somatic professionals, and world dance traditions. Faculty, students, artists, and scholars from around the world are attracted to our cultural nexus, providing opportunities to explore a diverse range of artistic and scholarly inquiry.

Online Learning

Degree programs in the Dance Department at Mason Gross School of the Arts include online learning. Students are encouraged to review the technical requirements for online learning at Rutgers Teaching and Learning Technology.