Everything You Need to Know About Declaring a Dance Major

February 21, 2018

Thinking about declaring a dance major? We had professors discuss all the factors you should consider before submitting that major-declaration form.

Think seriously about:

General Education Requirements

“Be aware of the general education requirements at your institution, and think about consistently working on those in conjunction with your dance work. Look for courses you’re excited about taking, rather than feeling like you have to get them over with.”

—Annie Kloppenberg, associate professor of theater and dance at Colby College in Waterville, ME

Your Faculty Adviser

“Your advising situation is super-important to your success as a dance major. Make time to meet frequently so your adviser can get to know you and your goals.”

—Tauna Hunter, dance director and associate professor of dance at Mercyhurst University in Erie, PA

Self-care and Time Management as You Balance Academics and Rehearsals

“Many dance departments have an entry-level course to learn about nutrition, sleep habits, and how to manage your time at school. If your college doesn’t offer such a course, seek out resources from student counseling, student health services, and the academic resource center to build the skills you need as a busy dance major.” —TH

Focus Within the Major

“You should decide on your path within the major by sophomore spring, so you can successfully graduate on time. Hopefully there’s an exploratory time of 18 months

to 2 years before then, when you

investigate paths available within the department.” —TH

If You Want to Double-Major

“If the second major requires a lot of courses that don’t overlap with dance and you declare late in the game, that can be challenging. On the other hand, there’s nothing wrong with declaring a second major early and starting to follow those paths. If you realize it’s the wrong path for you, there’s time to change.” —AK

Study Abroad

“If it’s a priority for you to study abroad, talk to your adviser sooner rather than later. Look at the language requirements for the abroad programs, as well as what your home university requires. Think strategically about which courses you’ll take abroad to count toward your major and/or move you toward graduation.” —AK

Don’t need to worry about it yet:

Senior Thesis

“The work you do in the major evolves and develops toward the thesis. Students make a lot of changes from freshman to senior year in their personal and artistic development.” —TH

Postgrad Plans

“It’s perfectly acceptable to major in dance even if you don’t think you’re going to pursue it as a career. The college major serves a broader purpose: It’s a framework for learning and shaping your future citizenship and engagement in the world. The more important question to ask yourself is, ‘Am I going to be deeply engaged in the majority of these courses?’ ”

A version of this story appeared in the March 2018 issue of
Dance Spirit with the title “The Major Requirements.”