Dance Education

Dance Education FAQ


Q: What M.A. track is best for me?

A. The Dance Education Program offers four curricular tracks of study culminating at the M.A. level. The first three tracks share an identical sequence of core courses: Methods & Materials, Improvisation, Composition/Teaching Performance, Technique & Pedagogy, Laban Movement Analysis, Research in Dance Education and Seminar in Dance Education. These core courses are augmented by additional requirements specific to each track as well as selected elective courses.

  • Teaching Dance Pre-K–12 + Teacher Certification (40 points): For students who wish to attain additional credentials that allow them to teach dance in public schools. These students will complete all requirements for NY State Certification in Dance Pre-K–12. Reciprocity with other states is available. International students now have the option to be credentialed. Sometimes, students who do not wish to teach in schools full-time, but who wish to develop artist-in-resident programs or after-school programs choose to complete this credential. This is a highly rigorous track with many out-of-program course requirements. Graduates of this track are highly sought after for admission into doctoral programs and for teaching in higher education. Students who do envision moving from a Pre-K–12 career to a higher education career are encouraged to complete two additional courses in lieu of electives.
  • Teaching Dance Pre-K–12 (34 points): For the in-service educator who has more than one full-time year of teaching dance on a Initial Dance Certification in Pre-K–12 schools. Students on this track seek to attain the State required M.A. degree to maintain certification and to enrich and expand their dance and pedagogy skills. Students on this track are interested in advancing their career to attain Staff Development, or Administrative positions in Pre-K–12 school systems. Many students on this track are concerned with preparing for career transition to doctoral degrees and higher education positions and elect courses with this interest in mind. Students who have certification and one year of full-time teaching in an area other than dance are eligible for Dual Certification (36-40 points).
  • Teaching Dance in the Professions (36 points): For those who wish to prepare for doctoral study, teach in higher education, or develop and administer dance education programs for cultural institutions or schools of dance. This track is particularly attractive to artists who have been working professionals (performers, choreographers) who find M.F.A. programs redundant to their professional artistry experience. The Professions track students are seeking to build alternative skills in teaching and scholarship and to gain a competitive edge through research in the higher education field. Students graduating from this track are immediately employable for full-time positions at community colleges and for adjunct positions at institutions of higher education. This track is also attractive to students who aim their career toward the "professions" by directing education programs at cultural institutions, developing private schools of dance or developing community programs that interface with boards of education.
  • Teaching Dance: ABT Ballet Pedagogy (36 - 39 points). This newly designed concentration is for students intending to teach in private studios, conservatories, as teaching-artists and community outreach (36 credits). The dance teaching aspect of this curriculum is taught by American Ballet Theatre master teachers who emphasize the development of the ballet dancer. Pedagogy and research are complemented with several arts management courses, preparing the graduate for employment in the private sector. The culminating project of this track is the preparation of a business plan for a private studio. The applicant for this track is an accomplished ballet dancer who wants to develop pedagogical content in this art form. In addition to the MA degree in teaching dance in the professions, the graduate receives an ABT Ballet Pedagogy certificate.

Q: What is the difference between an M.A. and a M.F.A. degree?

A. The Dance Education Program offers a M.A. degree in Dance Education. M.A. degrees are scholarly-oriented degrees that prepare scholars for doctoral study and research inquiry. Scholarly degrees are terminated at the Ph.D. or Ed.D. level.

M.F.A.s are artistry-oriented degrees that aim toward preparing performers or choreographers for the professional field. Artistry-oriented study begins at the B.F.A. level and terminate at the M.F.A. level.

Q: How long do the tracks take?

A. Students have the freedom to determine which semesters they will enroll full-time (12 or more points) or as part-time (9 or less points).

  • Teaching Dance Pre-K–12 with Teacher Certification (40 points) = 2 years, full-time
  • Teaching Dance Pre-K–12 (34 point) in-service = 1 1/2 years, full-time
  • Teaching Dance in the Professions = 1 1/2 years, full-time
  • Teaching Dance in the Professions with ABT Ballet Pedagogy Concentration = 1 1/2 years, full-time

Q: Can I individualize a curriculum?

A. If you are applying to the M.A. in Teaching Dance in the Professions track, your prior experience will determine how individualized your track can become.

If you are applying to either of the two M. A. in Teaching Dance Pre-K–12 tracks, these are State Department of Education regulated curriculums that require particular that particular course content be achieved. Both of these tracks do include selected electives which can be individualized to students interests and needs.

All tracks allow for students to take courses out of program. Students can elect from a wide array of courses within the Department of Music and Performing Arts Professions and within the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, as well as Gallatin courses and Tisch Performance Studies.

Q: Where do I find course descriptions?

A. Descriptions of all courses can be found in the NYU Bulletin available from the admissions office.

Q: What if I want to switch tracks after I am enrolled?

A. Because each track shares a core of identical courses, it is possible to switch tracks without significantly extending the duration of study and with no or little expense.

Q: Can I still perform?

A. The mission and vision of our program rests on the belief that pedagogy, research and artistic development are intertwined. Therefore, our students’ artistic development is encouraged. Along with core artistry/creative inquiry courses that aim to stretch one’s artistry, we offer a number of extra-curricular performance opportunities.

We produce two concerts annually. The Distinguished Faculty Concert gives students the opportunity to perform in faculty choreography. The M.A. Student Concert is an opportunity to both choreograph and perform in student works. Only NYU students and alumni may perform in our concerts, ensuring that our students will have many performance opportunities.

Kaleidoscope Dancers for Children (doc) is a student performance group that learns repertory, develops new works, designs lesson strategies and performs for Pre-K–12 students. Each spring, groups of school children attend our studios to closely interact with our dancer/educators. The group also performs in outdoor venues in the city.

Our faculty and alumni often invite our students to perform in professional outside venues.

If you want to continue performing professionally, part-time study is an option and some curricular requirements can be fulfilled during summer study. Students may also take two leaves of absence for one semester each to fulfill commitments such as touring.

With our central location in downtown NYC, we advise our students to take advantage the multitude of dance resources that New York City has to offer.

Q: Can I work and still do the program full-time?

A. The Dance Education program is constructed similar to other graduate study in that most of our courses begin in the late afternoon and continue until 9:00 PM. Your advisor will guide you in determining a balance that best supports your needs.