Students are required to take a minimum of 60 units during their two years to degree, or roughly 15 credits per semester, of which 30 units must be at the 500 level. These credits fall in the areas of technical development, choreography and performance, research and integrated learning, and electives that help students define their individual trajectories as artists. At the end of their first year, students will propose a culminating project—typically a dance concert or other public presentation of creative work largely expressed in dance—and submit a paper about its production, including analysis and critique, that they will defend orally.
Total units: 60
Timeline: 2 years in residency, 15 credits/semester
Courses marked by an asterisk will be taught in COCA facilities by COCA faculty on a regular basis. Other classes will be taught there as needed and when space is available.
I. Technical Development - 15 units:
10 units from the following:
- Dance 401: Theory and Technique of Modern Dance V (3 units; may be repeated once) *
- Dance 4021: Theory and Technique of Modern Dance VI (3 units; may be repeated once) *
- Dance 415: High Intermediate I
- Dance 416: High Intermediate II
- Dance 4281: Classical Ballet III (2 units; may be repeated once) *
- Dance 4291: Classical Ballet IV (2 units; may be repeated once) *
Plus an additional 5 units from the following or from the list above:
- Dance 403: Jazz III (2 units; may be repeated)
- Dance 407: Topics in Dance Techniques (variable credit; 3 units maximum)
- Dance 418: Variations in the Ballet (1 unit)
- Dance 423: Pointe Technique (1 unit)
II. Choreography and Performance - 20 units:
- Dance 508: Dance Composition Laboratory I: Exploring Process and Format (3 units)
- Dance 509: Dance Composition Laboratory II: Exploring Alternative Venues and Audience Connections (3 units)
- Dance 510: Approaches to Improvisation and Spontaneous Composition (3 units)
- Dance 511: Independent Choreography Project I, II, III (3 units/course; total 9 units)
- Dance 512: Performance Artistry (1 unit; must be taken twice for a total of 2 units)
III. Research and Integrated Learning - 12 units:
Required: Dance 520: Research Methods Colloquium (3 units)
Plus 9 units from the following:
- Dance 413: Modern Dance and the African American Legacy II (2 units)
- Dance 426: Performing the Political in American Dance (3 units)
- Dance 478: The Eye of the Mask: A Multicultural History of the Theater through Mask Making and Design (3 units)
- Dance 506: Problems in Contemporary Arts Practice Research (3 units)
- Dance 507: Problems in Contemporary Theoretical and Historical Research (3 units)
- Dance 517: Workshop in Dance as Cultural Identity (3 units)
- Dance 519: Guest Artist Residency Workshop (1 unit; may be repeated once)
- Dance 530: Theories of the Body in Performance (3 units)
- Dance 543: Critical Thinking in Western Theatrical Dance (3 units)
IV. Electives - 7 units:
- 7 units at the 400 level or above. At least 3 units must be in a 500-level class. These may be from any areas of the performing arts or relevant areas in other departments or programs.
MFA students are encouraged to pursue courses that support or help define an individual trajectory as an artist. These may include 400- or 500-level Performing Arts Department courses in costumes, stage lighting and design, or theater history. Students may also wish to pursue study in the departments of Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Music, Psychological & Brain Sciences, Anthropology, Art History & Archaeology, or other courses relevant to the student's particular development.
V. Final Project - 6 units:
- Dance 550: Final Project I - to be taken fall semester of the student's second year (3 units)
- Dance 551: Final Project II - to be taken spring semester of the student's second year (3 units)
At the end of the first year, the MFA student will propose a plan for the final project and identify at least three faculty to be on his/her committee. At least two of the faculty must be Washington University Performing Arts Department faculty.
A concert is the typical format of the MFA final project. This concert or public presentation of the student's creative work must be largely expressed in dance. The concert or public presentation will be followed by submission of a written production book with analysis and critique. In some cases, the written documents may include research related to the production, or a complementary research paper may accompany the production book.
The student will have an oral defense of the work in front of an invited audience and submit a final version of the written component, as well as a DVD of the concert or public presentation, for archival purposes within the department.