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Degree Programs
United States
Tallahassee, FL


by ExploreDance staff
August 4, 2006
Tallahassee, FL

Florida State University


Description of Program:

The Florida State University Department of Dance is pleased to announce an exciting new Master of Arts degree in American Dance Studies. This innovative program is based in research that investigates a wide scope of dance, ranging from the vernacular to stage forms. American dance is its focus through which the deeper intertextual cultural structures that shape American art are illuminated.

Traditionally the focus of dance studies at American universities has been primarily on the European sources of history and forms, especially as they relate to the evolution of American ballet and modern dance. As we enter the twenty-first century however, this scholarship provides only part of the information necessary to study how America moves. The MA in American Dance Studies provides fresh academic approaches that will prepare students to investigate the diversity of dance in this millennium.

Admission Requirements:

1) Candidates should have an extensive background in dance and an undergraduate degree in an appropriate area of study such as (but not limited to) Fine or Performing Arts, History, American Studies, Cultural Studies, Women's Studies, Anthropology, or Humanities.

2) A minimum score of 1000 on the combined verbal and quantitative portions of the Graduate Record Examination or a 3.0 undergraduate grade point average is required for admission.

3) Candidates are required to submit three letters of recommendation from former instructors.

4) Candidates are required to submit an essay describing their primary interests in American Dance History, how their background has prepared them for this area of research, their goals for study in the program, and future career goals. This essay is to be submitted with application materials.

Program of Studies:

1) The core program includes three semesters of History and Theory of American Dance (covering, for example, dance history in its myriad forms from religious to concert dance to social/vernacular dance and the contributions of styles from various cultural groups). The emphasis in on an inclusive, non-hierarchical exploration of how dance has evolved in its social and political contexts. In addition is a seminar in Research Practices; one semester in Critical Theory; and finally, a semester in individually determined special topics.

2) Candidates must complete 24 credits in the core program. They must complete an additional 12 credits in other graduate level courses. It is essential that students investigate electives outside the Department of Dance that relate to their interests in order to deepen their understanding of American intellectual history and provide context for research in American Dance Studies.

3) Students are required to successfully complete a comprehensive examination consisting of two phases: a written examination and an oral examination.

4) Students are required to write and defend a formal Master's Thesis; six semester hours of thesis work are required.

5) Each student must complete the university-wide requirement regarding foreign language proficiency for a Master of Arts degree. In special cases, proven proficiency in Labananalysis or Labanotation may be considered.


The Department of Dance offers three degrees: the BFA, MFA and MA. At the center of the Fine Arts degrees is a strong commitment to performance and choreography. The department has long had a reputation as a center for the creation, reconstruction and production of outstanding dance repertory, ranging from traditional, classical choreography to contemporary, original works. There is also an active and ongoing program of guest artists who are invited each year for guest residencies in choreography, for master classes and workshops, lectures, consultancies.

The Department of Dance has a full-time faculty of 15 tenure-track members; one to two Adjunct part-time faculty, four professional staff (costumer, production assistant, director of Music Resource Center for Dance, publicist) and three clerical staff. The department houses its own Dance Theatre. One of the curricular goals of the department is linking the theoretical and studio components.

The Department of Dance is one of five academic units within the School of Visual Arts and Dance (the others being Studio Art, Art History, Art Education and Interior Design). FSU also has strong units in the other arts: the School of Music, the School of Theatre, the School of Film.

Currently the enrollment of undergraduate BFA dance majors is 70, and there are 12 MFA dance majors. Projected enrollment for the MA program is 20.

For further information and application materials for the MA in American Dance Studies please contact:

Dr. Tricia Young, Director

American Dance Studies

Florida State University

Department of Dance

201 Montgomery

Tallahassee, Florida 32306-2120

Phone: (850) 644-1023

Email: young@dance.fsu.edu

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