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Degree: BFA

Campus: Columbus

College: Arts and Sciences

An accredited member of the National Association of Schools of Dance, the Department of Dance offers students rigorous training at the intersection of movement practice, creative activity and theoretical inquiry. Students in the dance program earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) and receive a comprehensive education across the field of contemporary dance with a focus on the dancing experience.

Because the BFA dance program is focused on building the whole artist, students can combine academic and artistic interests. While dance is the focal point of their academic practice, students can choose from a variety of courses to enrich, extend and support their areas of investigation.

An audition is required for acceptance to the highly competitive BFA dance program. The audition experience considers prospective students' past dance training, extracurricular interests and activities; individual interview with faculty; group audition with contemporary, African and ballet movement phrases taught by faculty; and improvisation guided by faculty. Find application and audition information at

Students of all majors can declare a dance minor by emailing the academic program coordinator to set up a meeting. 

Students in the BFA dance program take course work in movement practice, performance, choreography, history/theory/literature, analysis, dance education, kinesiology, production and creative technology. They benefit from small classes with faculty and visiting artists. Faculty mentorship begins early and integrates with personalized education, individualized attention, and first- and last-year seminars that develop cohort community.

Core education requirements:

  • movement practice (contemporary, ballet, African/international-based forms, somatics) 
  • composition/choreography
  • repertory/performance
  • movement analysis
  • creative technology
  • education
  • kinesiology
  • history/theory/literature
  • production/lighting

A minimum of 127 semester units are required to complete the degree requirements in dance. Of these, 37 meet General Education requirements. The remaining 90 credits are completed within the BFA major. The BFA dance program is also designed for students who plan to pursue minors or dual degrees.

Upon completion of the foundational curriculum, students choose from a range of courses, such as Improvisation, Music and Choreography; Dance in Global Contexts; Dance Film; Dance for Children and Intermedia Performance. Students conduct both studio research in creative art-making practices and scholarly research in which dance is studied in social, historical and cultural frameworks. 

Learn more about course options.

Dance students have toured repertory to China, Brazil and Denmark. Individual dance majors and minors may also enroll in a semester-long study abroad with DanceJerusalem, Trinity Laban in London and Taiwan National University of the Arts.

While internships are not required for the BFA dance program, students are encouraged to seek educational and administrative internships with local arts organizations such as OhioDance and CAPA or other opportunities through the Barnett Center for Integrated Arts and Enterprise.

Students may network with and seek recommendations from dance faculty and visiting artists who are professionals in the field.

Honors dance students may use the required senior creative project in partial fulfillment of the BFA dance degree with distinction. 

View recent senior projects.

Dance majors are also encouraged to consider Arts Honors as an option for Arts and Sciences Honors.

Students' liberal arts education and deep understanding of dance practice and production culminate in a required capstone experience, known as the senior project, that they complete with a faculty advisor. Students can receive grants and scholarships for the project, and all senior projects are eligible to be completed with distinction in the arts. Several students have embedded their senior projects in the community or local schools. View recent senior projects.

Dance students have opportunities for interdisciplinary connections throughout the university and community, including the Wexner Center for the Arts, Advanced Computing Center for the Arts and Design (ACCAD), Performing Arts Medicine, Wexner Medical Center, Barnett Center for Integrated Arts and Enterprise, School of Music, Department of Theatre, Film, and Media Arts, Department of Art, Music and Dance Library, Theatre Research Institute, Dance Special Collections at University Libraries, Nisonger Center, Human Motion Analysis and Recovery Laboratory, and more!

Dance majors and minors participate in and lead a wide variety of dance-related student organizations, such as Dance ConnectionBuckeyeThon, Movement Exchange, Black Arts Group, 3D Urban Dance Team, Buckeyes on Tap and Dance Coalition, among many others.

Graduates of the BFA dance program are young artists and entrepreneurs who creatively and consciously forge their own paths of professional success. They create dance companies and collectives and teach in schools, studios and universities. Dance graduates write books, make films, document dance traditions and engage in cultural diplomacy.

Dance majors are prepared to enter the dance profession and industry, nonprofit or private sectors as performers, choreographers, creative technology artists, educators, production and lighting designers, arts administrators, health science professionals, somatic practitioners, movement analysts, historians, and entrepreneurs.

Students majoring in dance at Ohio State engage in real-world experiences and utilize opportunities for performing, making and leading their own education. 

  • Students will have a solid foundation in a breadth of contemporary dance techniques.
    • Upon graduation, students will exhibit an advanced degree of proficiency in the contemporary dance techniques taught in the department.
    • Students will be able to translate technical proficiency from the studio to a variety of contexts.
  • Students will be able to synthesize skills and knowledge from the department’s diverse curricular areas including choreography, history, education, movement analysis, creative technologies and performance. 
    • Students will accumulate skills and knowledge attained throughout their course work.
    • Students will exhibit intermediate/advanced proficiency in movement practice, creative process and theoretical inquiry.
  • Students will be able to give and receive well-considered verbal discussion and feedback regarding creative and scholarly assignments and projects.
    • Students will be able to produce written analysis of their own work and the work of others in historical and contemporary settings.

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The Department of Dance celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2018.

During the Autumn 2020-Spring 2021 pandemic year, dance classes were offered safely in person to majors and elective students, thanks to our incredible staff and student workers in Sullivant and the College providing tents for outdoor use. The Department of Dance wrestles with injustice through genuine conversations that propagate restorative efforts and ongoing initiatives focused on doing the labor of social justice reform.