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  • Student wearing a purple dress dancing onstage
  • Two students dancing in a studio
  • Student dressed formally dancing on a dimly lit stage
College of Performing Arts

B.A. in Dance

» Dance

In this program, you’ll receive rigorous dance training in modern, jazz and ballet techniques. You’ll also build a strong liberal-arts foundation to become a well-rounded, thinking dancer with a firm grasp of both performance and theory.

You’ll be able to hone your dance skills, perform in your first year, take electives, and even double major in an additional academic subject if you want to.

There are 2 dance degree programs at Chapman: the B.A. in Dance and the B.F.A. in Dance Performance. All dance majors begin in the B.A. program. From there, you can choose to apply to the B.F.A. program in your sophomore year or stick with the B.A. program.

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Program Overview

Earning a B.A. in Dance from Chapman prepares you for a successful career as a dancer. In the program you’ll:

  • Start performing in concerts your first year
  • Learn choreography and choreograph full concerts and dance productions
  • Refine your technique and hone your creative process
  • Receive training in modern, jazz and ballet technique (we’re one of the few universities that offer comprehensive training in all three)
  • Build a thorough understanding of dance theory, history and science
  • Collaborate with other students and industry professionals
  • Take classes in:
    • Acting
    • Ballroom
    • Choreography
    • Dance history
    • Dance performance
    • Dance production
    • Dance science
    • Dance teaching methods
    • Hip-hop
    • Music for dancers
    • Somatics
    • Tap

More information about Dance classes and program requirements is available on our B.A. in Dance catalog page.

Performance Opportunities

Performing matters. That’s why the B.A. in Dance program gives you plenty of opportunities to perform throughout the year. You can perform in productions like:

  • Fall Dance Concert
  • Chapman Celebrates (fundraiser show for musical-theatre scholarships)
  • Chapman Dance Alliance Concert
  • Works in Progress concerts
  • Concert Intime
  • Spring Dance Concert
  • And more!


Render of a studio in the new dance facility

We’re building a brand-new, state-of-the-art center for dance at Chapman to help all our dancers reach their highest potential — coming in fall 2021!

Where This Degree Will Take You

With a dance degree, you’ll have the skills and knowledge you need to:

  • Start your career as a dancer
  • Continuously improve your craft
  • Choreograph for yourself and others
  • Articulate your knowledge of dance
  • Teach the science and techniques of dance

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A dance degree will prepare you to succeed in: 

  • Dance companies
  • University dance departments
  • Professional performing arts organizations
  • Dance studios
  • Public schools
  • Talent agencies
  • Community centers

In addition to performance, teaching and choreography, Dance majors have a great foundation for occupations like body work practitioners, dance movement therapists, movement analysts, physical therapists, athletic trainers and dance historians.

You’ll also be able to get free lifetime career advising from our dedicated Career Advisor for the College of Performing Arts. That means that you can get career advice and preparation with your advisor from when you start to program to after you’ve graduated.
Ben Bigler '16
Alumnus Ben Bigler performs onstage with Cher
Ben Bigler '16
Dance alumnus
Ben Bigler used his experience in the program to launch his career as a backup dancer for Cher — and now he has even bigger plans.
Check out Ben's story

Program Faculty and Guest Artists

You’ll develop your skills alongside experienced professors and guest artists from around the world.

Chapman students have worked with guest artists like Ido Tadmor and performers from:

  • Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
  • Batsheva Dance Company
  • Complexions Contemporary Ballet Company
  • Cirque du Soleil
  • Hubbard Street Dance Chicago
  • Plibolus
  • The cast of La La Land

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Dance Faculty

Here are some of the faculty you’ll be working with and learning from:

  • Jennifer Backhaus (expertise: modern, choreography, pilates)
  • Julianne Pedersen (expertise: dance pedagogy, choreography, Laban/Bartinieff movement analysis)
  • Robin Kish (expertise: dance kinesiology, dance medicine, injury prevention)
  • Wilson Mendieta (expertise: choreography, musical theatre, arts management)
For a full list of faculty, visit the faculty directory.
Ido Tadmor
Ido Tadmor talking to students in a dance studio
Ido Tadmor
Presidential Fellow
World-renowned dancer Ido Tadmor didn’t just teach classes at Chapman. He also accompanied Dance students on a 10-day summer travel course to his native Israel.
Learn more about Ido Tadmor’s visit

Professional Opportunities

You’ll get plenty of opportunities to connect with dance professionals, perform with renowned companies and get your career as a dancer started. You’ll have the chance to meet talent agents and get signed with them or earn your pilates pre-certification and become a pilates teacher.

Student Clubs and Organizations

Joining a student club is a great way to expand your interests and community. You can join any of Chapman’s 230+ clubs and student organizations, but here are the ones Dance students like to get involved in!

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Dance Clubs

Admission & Tours

All applicants are required to submit the Common Application, a Creative Supplement and an audition video. You may also be asked to perform a live audition by invitation.

You can learn more about applying here.

While you consider Chapman, come visit us in person! You can:

Related Programs

You can explore all of Chapman’s undergraduate majors and minors with our program finder.

Contact Us


(714) 516-5223

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