New Student Programs


About Dance

The Dance Department’s curriculum is structured around three broad areas of study: physical dance training that develops strength and flexibility; artistic practice in improvisation, choreography and performance; and intellectual foundations of historical, cultural and theoretical contexts for dance.

The program's focus is modern dance, ballet and West African dance, with exploration in many other disciplines and practices such as hip-hop, jazz, tap, yoga, and Tai Chi. Students will further deepen their talent for motion in the context of an enlightened liberal arts curriculum that prepares them for careers as performers in companies, teachers in elementary schools, workshop facilitators in police interrogation techniques, and so much more.

Columbia’s Dance BA degree is a liberal arts degree that offers a broad range of studies in dance. The BFA program is a nationally respected academic program offering a variety of courses that, in their breadth and depth, prepare students to enter the job market with skill sets relevant to the demands of the field.

For Orientation

All Students

Regardless of whether you are attending on campus or distance orientation, please fill out the New Student Intake Form. This form is our way of evaluating the level of previous dance experience and skills you bring as an incoming student. This is one of the factors taken into account when placing you in the appropriate level of technique coursework.

If you don’t have any background in a particular dance technique, don’t worry! Be sure to include any dance experiences you can think of, whether or not you have studied dance in a formal studio setting, or in other venues and spaces. All incoming students must participate in the level placement assessment offered at Orientation.

On Campus: Freshmen & Transfer Students

All incoming students, including transfer students, must participate in the level placement assessment offered at Orientation. All students should be prepared to dance. The audition class will include Modern, Ballet, Improvisation, and African.

For the Level Placement Audition students should wear form-fitting dance clothes such as a leotard and tights (footless), athletic wear or shorts for men. For the ballet class, students will need to wear ballet shoes (pointe shoes are not permitted). For the modern portion of the class, bare feet are required.

Distance: Freshmen & Transfer Students

We regret that we are unable to register any student for technique courses without a level placement evaluation. New students are highly encouraged to come to campus for orientation and level placement. However, if this is not possible, please contact Chad Wilson at for instructions about submitting a video for level placement.

Recommended First Semester Classes

All new dance majors should take the following in their first semester:

  • • 6 Credits of LAS (Most likely an English and First-Year Seminar)
  • • 33-1351 Introduction to Dance Studies (3 Credits)
  • • One College-Wide Elective (3 credits)
  • • 4 Credits of Technique*

*Depending on your placement, this will either be 33-1211 Introduction to Dance Technique; Or, 2 credits of 33-1311 Modern I, and 1 Credit of 33-1341 West African I, and 1 Credit of 33-1321 Ballet I)

Students will be placed into appropriate technique courses in person at Orientation. Placement into technique levels above “Introduction to Dance Technique” may allow students to begin additional Dance major coursework, and these students will be advised appropriately. We recommend that Dance students take at least one movement technique course each day.