a line of five women in black dresses with arms held out in a ballet position


About the Program

In both studio and classroom work, the dance curriculum treats dance as a global phenomenon with culturally specific and individual differences in expressive form. Dance classes at all levels encourage students to develop their capacity to move and think creatively and to recognize movement as an essential element of one's identity. 

Most dance courses accept no more than 20 students, and our program offers a B.A. in dance and a minor in dance. Students with significant dance training prior to admission to the university often double-major in dance and some other field.

Dance majors may emphasize either ballet or modern dance training, but all majors and minors study dance composition. Other studio courses include contact improvisation, jazz, tap, musical theater, Dunham technique, Spanish dance, Argentine tango, bharata natyam, and West African dance. Courses emphasizing somatic training, such as Alexander Technique and Authentic Movement are also available. Seminars in dance history, theory, and ethnology and a wide range of electives complement studio work.

Master classes and guest artist residencies supplement instruction by the regular faculty, all of whom have danced professionally.

Dance Placement Class
Registration in any upper-level dance course is subject to approval after the Placement Class, a 2-hour class, which takes place during first-year orientation in August. 

David Marchant, professor of practice in Dance

Welcome the Dance Program at WashU

With Spring 2020 performances canceled and in-person dancing abruptly halted, the dancers at WashU found a way to connect in spite of being socially distanced all summer. Their version of an “exquisite corpse”—or, perhaps more aptly, an “exquisite corps”—is based on the Surrealist concept of artists collaboratively creating a chain of dances without knowing what came before. This short film features students, alumni, and faculty dancing apart…yet together.

Das wins NDEO Book Award along with co-authors for "Milestones in Dance in the USA"

Das wins NDEO Book Award along with co-authors for "Milestones in Dance in the USA"

PAD Dancers represent in many ways at the 2023 ACDA

PAD Dancers represent in many ways at the 2023 ACDA

four students watch as a man and woman dance in a practice space

Take a Closer Look

Major & Minor Requirements

Plan your path ahead by reviewing the requirements for our drama major and minor in the Bulletin.

Learn More About the Requirements

certification programs

Learn about our Post-Baccalaureate Dance Teacher Certification Program and our Certificate Program in Somatic Studies.

Learn More About Our Certificate Programs

Dance Opportunities at Washington University

Washington University Dance Theatre

Washington University Dance Theatre is the Performing Arts Department’s annual mainstage dance concert and is performed at the end of the fall semester in the Edison Theatre.  Open to all students, dancers are selected by audition.  Dancers gain experience and skills working under the direction of faculty and guest professional choreographers, both restaging masterworks and creating new premieres.

WUDance Collective

Washington University Dance Collective serves as the Performing Arts Department’s resident dance company.  WUDC is a unique blending of talented and expressive movers from very diverse backgrounds who bring with them a wide range of movement styles and performance acumen. Under the artistic direction of Cecil Slaughter, the dancers work with faculty, community, graduate and undergraduate student choreographers.  The company can be seen in performances throughout the St. Louis community.

Washington University Student Dance Showcase

The Washington University Student Dance Showcase is a concert that runs every other spring and is choreographed, danced, directed, and designed entirely by students. It serves as an opportunity for student choreographers to showcase their work in a professional-style concert, while experiencing the autonomy and personal responsibility of working  on a student-run production. The student-oriented nature of the showcase leads to an exciting variety of works and aesthetics. 

Internships & Careers

Graduates of the dance program have gone on to top graduate schools and to careers in professional dance, dance education, and dance related fields such as art management and physical therapy.

Dance Careers & Internships
five women on stage in a backward-leaning dance position


For any questions about the Dance Program or curriculum, please contact David Marchant.

Contact David Marchant