• Dance student performing at Chapman University
College of Performing Arts

Department of Dance

» Welcome to the Department of Dance!

Chapman University's Department of Dance offers rigorous professional training with high-caliber productions, renowned faculty and guest artists, a new state-of-the-art dance center, and all the benefits of a small liberal arts university.

The B.A. and BFA degrees focus on equitable and varied training in ballet, jazz, and modern technique supported by tap, hip hop, ballroom, and other forms. Additional curricular strengths include choreography (with more than 100 student works produced annually in four performance venues), and dance science and wellness (with courses in somatics, Pilates, yoga, anatomy, and kinesiology). The department is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Dance and ranked as a Best College Dance Program by Dance.org.

Faculty are experts in their fields and include world renowned artists Dwight Rhoden and Ido Tadmor.  Located in beautiful Orange, California, Chapman frequently hosts master classes, performances, and auditions with L.A.’s top artists and talent agencies.

Chapman Dance Programs

You can choose from a pre-professional BFA in Dance Performance or a more broad-based B.A. in Dance. Both degrees provide excellent preparation for entering the professional dance world or graduate school. We also offer a Minor in Dance.

EXPLORE DANCE PROGRAMS »

Talent, innovation, and artistry come together in every Chapman dance student performance!

Learn and Perform in Professional-Grade Spaces

Chapman Dance students have learning and performance advantages that include a range of cutting-edge spaces, including:

Sandi Simon Center for Dance

Dance Center rendering

Anticipated to open fall 2022, our new home for dance will include:
  • Five dance studios, including a performance studio.
  • A dedicated health clinic.
  • Student lounge.
  • Classrooms, rehearsal studios and all the other facilities a top dance program needs and deserves.

Learn more about our new Sandi Simon Center for Dance >>

Versatile Performance Spaces

  • Musco Center for the Arts—a world-class, 88,000 sq. ft. performance space; seats up to 1044 patrons across three levels.
  • Waltmar Theatre—an intimate 240-seat theatre.
  • Chapman Auditorium—a 905-seat performance space located inside the historic Memorial Hall, built in 1921.
  • Simon Center black box theatre—a 100-seat, informal performance space.

Learn from the Best

You’ll develop your skills alongside faculty, who are expert teachers and accomplished artists in their own right, and guest artists from around the world. 

Faculty Expertise

Our highly accomplished faculty specialize in both traditional and contemporary techniques in many genres; in dance science and somatic practices; in choreography, production, and artistic directorship; and in pedagogy, history and aesthetics.

For a complete list of our dance faculty, visit the faculty directory.

Guest Artists

Chapman dance students have worked closely with an impressive roster of guest artists and companies in residencies, or multi-day intensives, that cover topics like setting up company repertory, choreography mentorship, auditions, performances by the companies and students, lectures, workshops masterclasses. Previous key artists include:

  • Cirque du Soleil®
  • Complexions Contemporary Ballet Company
  • Rennie Harris, choreographer, founder, Rennie Harris Puremovement, American Street Dance Theatre
  • Peridance Contemporary Dance Company
  • Pilobolus
  • Fatima Robinson, choreographer, director, creative director
  • Monika Felice Smith, choreographer, movement director 
  • Lula Washington, founder, Lula Washington Dance Theatre

And master classes with:

  • BODYTRAFFIC
  • Chloe Arnold & Syncopated Ladies
  • Tyce Diorio, choreographer, So You Think You Can Dance
  • Bret Easterling, gaga technique
  • Justin Giles, SoulEscape
  • Channing Cook Holmes, tap dancer for The Gregory Hines Show and A Showtime Original: Bojangles
    Bojangles
  • Rina Mehta, Kathak master teacher, SPEAK artistic director
  • Matthew Rushing, rehearsal director, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
  • Kurtis Sprung, The Bad Boys of Dance

Career Connections for Life

Chapman Dance students have career support from our dedicated performing arts career advisor from day one and beyond graduation. A few notable dance alumni are listed below.

dancer
Brian Golden ('21)

Choreography recently chosen for Martha Graham Dance Company fall season at the Joyce Theatre in New York.

Smiling woman with long blonde hair wearing a black tank top.
Natalie Peterson ('20)

World Pro-Am American Ballroom Rhythm Champion.

Female dancer in a mid-air crouched position with arms up.
Vanessa Burns ('20)

Pursuing a M.Phil. in Genomic Medicine at Cambridge University, UK.

Smiling young man with crew-cut hair in green t-shirt.
Jonah Almanzar ('20)

Works in entertainment for Holland America Cruise Lines.

smiling man with short-cropped dark hair.
Santiago Villarreal ('19)

Company dancer with NW Dance Project in Portland, OR.

Female with shoulder-length brown hair wearing a green t-shirt.
Sammi Waugh ('17)

Director of Early Childhood and instructor of dance at O.C. Music & Dance in Irvine, CA.

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Student Clubs and Organizations

Joining a student club is a great way to expand your interests and community. You can join any of the  hundreds of Chapman clubs and student organizations, but the following section lists the ones Dance students enjoy most:


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Our performance season begins in fall semester of each academic year. Watch this space for dance event and ticketing information as it becomes available!