Department of Dance

Department of Dance

The Department of Dance offers the Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Classical Chinese Dance and the Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Classical Chinese Dance.

Both of these degrees specialize in classical Chinese dance and are the first of their kind in the United States. No other institution in the country offers degrees or extensive coursework in this specialized dance form.

The dance degree programs also include coursework in the liberal arts and sciences offered by the LAS Department that provides students with a certain breadth of knowledge that extends beyond their major or specialization and which rounds out their education.

Introduction to Classical Chinese Dance

Classical Chinese dance is one of the world’s most comprehensive dance systems. It was passed down in part through the martial arts, folk traditions, traditional Chinese opera, and the ancient court. Through history, classical Chinese dance was enriched with the philosophical and cultural traits of each of China’s dynasties, resulting in an art form that today can express the essence of Chinese culture in its movements, postures, and aesthetics.

In the modern era, classical Chinese dance has been organized into a formal dance system with methodological training in four component areas: shen-fa (form; the poses and movements that make up the vocabulary of the art form), shen-yun (bearing; a way of expressing the dancer’s inner feelings and the style of classical Chinese dance), ji-qiao (a variety of special techniques for jumping and spinning), and tan-zi-gong (flipping and tumbling techniques).