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The Mason Gross School of the Arts
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  Mason Gross School of the Arts 2016–2018 Graduate Programs in Dance Degree Program Goals  

Degree Program Goals

The six degree program goals below detail departmental expectations for graduate-level scholastic growth in the areas of performance, creativity, dance studies, pedagogy, cross- and interdisciplinary research, and leadership in the field.


  • Refine conservatory training in contemporary, classical, and somatic techniques to cultivate greater interpretive skills for professional artistic presentation as well as train toward an advanced level of pedagogical demonstration.
  • Develop multiple performance opportunities including self-produced, faculty, and globally-based guest artist works and opportunities as interpreters for choreographic thesis projects.


  • Acquire comprehensive skills in improvisational and choreographic strategies to strengthen advanced choice-making in the creative process and research.
  • Develop a praxis of integrated theoretical frameworks and studio projects that develop a range of cross- and interdisciplinary creative processes and research methods. 

Dance Studies

  • Build firm scaffolding of critical thinking and writing skills through theoretical coursework.
  • Establish a comprehensive range of dance studies competencies including philosophy, aesthetics, history, and technology as they intersect with creativity and performance.


  • Develop and refine a knowledge and understanding of critical dance pedagogy that becomes the foundation for excellence in transformative teaching.
  • Apply historical, cultural, and critical pedagogical frameworks to in-studio technical, performance, and creative practices.
  • Acquire advanced competency in creating course materials such as syllabi and multiple forms for assessment and measurement supporting pedagogical accountability and reinforcing student self-management and regulation in the classroom.

Cross- and Interdisciplinary Creative Research

  • Understand and value both cross- and interdisciplinary modes of research that integrate dance with other artistic, humanities, and/or science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields.
  • Develop and refine theoretical and artistic vocabularies and methods for advanced creative process and research in cross- and interdisciplinary artistic works.
  • Create a final thesis project that fulfills a mature artistic vision for cutting-edge cross- and interdisciplinary creative work.

Leadership in the Field

  • Acquire advanced communication skills through a firm foundation of personal assessments that require both oral and written components.
  • Develop advanced technological literacy through coursework to support transformative teaching and research excellence in chosen areas of study.
  • Understand the scope of dance as a field with multiple pathways to success toward entering the professional field ready to lead and advocate for a clear set of dance values and beliefs.
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