World Arts and Cultures/Dance / Undergraduate Study

Dance BA

All students take a set of courses as preparation for the Dance major that focus on the integration of dance and critical analysis. For students who transfer into the major, depending on the year of entry and prior coursework, lower-division preparatory coursework may be waived or substituted. When students enter the major, they continue their studies of dance technique, composition, and analysis, and they also enroll in a primary and secondary research area.

The three research areas are (1) creative inquiry as research, (2) critical dance studies, and (3) dance and civic engagement. The creative inquiry as research area is grounded in contemporary choreography with a focus on dance-making and performing in a wide range of genres from throughout the world. Opportunities are provided for students to present their own choreography, to participate in performances by others, and to study performance production and videography. The critical dance studies area focuses on study of scholarship examining the body and dance, in their cultural and historical contexts. Courses in dance history, dance and culture, and dance as an identificatory practice are offered that enable students to analyze the rhetorical and ideological significance of dance. The dance and civic engagement area is grounded in the investigation and activist-oriented work of artists and the role of dance in the public sphere, and offers a wide range of courses in the nature of activism as well as opportunities for fieldwork, education internships, and other forms of community involvement.

Students select one area as their primary area and another as their secondary area. Elective options provide further deepening of student knowledge and skills in any or all of the areas. Students may also consider courses from programs outside the department and may organize their course of study in relation to their particular interests.

Students who wish to confer with the departmental student affairs officer regarding program planning and major requirements should contact the undergraduate counselor at 310-825-8537.

Learning Outcomes

The Dance major has the following learning outcomes:

  • Choreography of dances in various settings, cultural contexts, and media, with emphasis on progressive approaches
  • Creative problem-solving of issues tied to arts and activism, dance-making, and producing in multiple formats, in an intercultural and interdisciplinary context
  • Think critically about the relationship between esthetics and politics through choreography, written analysis, and multiple research methods
  • Demonstrated advanced proficiency in at least two movement disciplines
  • Analysis of vocabulary, location, and syntax of dance works
  • Analysis of political, cultural, and historical implications of dance works
  • Demonstrated ability to understand and implement collaboration in an art-making practice
  • Written and oral recognition and synthesis of key concepts in critical dance studies


New students are admitted to the Dance major for fall quarter only. All applicants are reviewed individually, based on submission of a written research paper, transcripts, two letters of recommendation, and one personal essay. These supplementary materials are requested from students in mid-December, after the general UC application is received and processed, and are due back in the department in January. For freshman applicants, college placement test scores are also considered. Students must participate in a late January/early February audition. Specifics about the audition are included in the e-mail requesting the above-mentioned supplementary materials.

Change of major applications are considered once a year. Current UCLA students who petition to change their major are required to meet with the student affairs officer prior to application, but no later than the eighth week of fall quarter in order to participate in the departmental supplemental application process during fall/winter quarters for admission into the program the following spring or fall quarter. They are required to take selected departmental courses before and during the term in which they apply to the program (contact the student affairs officer for a list of selected courses). They must have a minimum 2.0 overall grade-point average, a minimum 2.0 GPA in all departmental courses taken, and no more than 90 quarter units at the time of application. All students are required to audition in early winter quarter and may be interviewed as part of the application process.

Preparation for the Major

Required: Dance 1, 16, 44, 45, 67A, 67B, 70.

The Major

The Dance major consists of 76 units of coursework.

Required: (1) Dance 101, 117A, 117B and (2) 10 units in the primary area and 5 units in the secondary area selected from the following: (a) creative inquiry as research — Dance 114, 116, 117C, 118, 119, C122, 169, 170, C171, 174A, 174B, C180, or other upper-division courses with faculty approval, (b) critical dance studies — Dance C145, C152, M157, 158, 159, 160, 161, CM168, C171, 182, World Arts and Cultures 199, or other upper-division courses with faculty approval, (c) dance and civic engagement — Dance 165, 166, 167, C184, World Arts and Cultures 100A, 100B, 103, 114, 144, 160, 177SL, 195, or other upper-division courses with faculty approval (no more than 8 units of courses 114 and/or 160 may be applied toward this area). Students also have the option to propose a senior honors project through Dance 186A and 186B.

Movement Arts/Dance Practices — Required: A total of 48 units of practice courses. A minimum of two technique courses per term until completion is strongly recommended. Thirty of the total 48 units must be selected from Dance 6, 9, 13, 15, 56, 59, 63, 65, C106A, C113A, C115, 116. Of these 30 units, a minimum of 6 units of a first style and 4 units of a second style must be at the advanced level. Eighteen of the total 48 units may be selected from Dance 5, 10, 11, 12, 16, 52, 60, C112A, 116, 159, 160, World Arts and Cultures 55, 78, 80, 178. No more than 8 units of World Arts and Cultures 78 or 178 may be applied toward this requirement.

Senior Honors Project

Students may participate in a senior honors project consisting of 10 additional units. The project provides students with opportunity to demonstrate mastery and integration of knowledge and learned abilities from the major. The project may take various forms — from choreographic performance projects or an academic research paper to field/internship work in an identified area of research focus. With faculty advising, students must declare their intent to participate by spring quarter of their junior year. They identify a faculty mentor and work closely with that person on the development of the project, submitting a senior project proposal for faculty approval by the beginning of the senior year. In their senior year they enroll in a two-term course sequence (Dance 186A, 186B) to coordinate and present their research findings.