American University Dance Program

Be a forward thinker and a creative doer in a moving world.

Forward Thinking, Creative Doing

The Dance Program provides dance opportunities for every American University student. Diverse course offerings allow students to study movement from multiple perspectives: through a wide range of movement forms (Ballet, African, Contemporary, Urban, etc.), creative research, and dance theory.

Through studying dance, majors and non-majors alike develop distinct skills in embodiment of knowledge, creative problem solving, and critical thinking that students can carry with them into a multitude of careers.

Dance Faculty work closely with each student, providing individualized instruction and mentorship in the studio, classroom, stage, and community. Creative research and performance opportunities simultaneously prepare students, while entertaining and challenging AU audiences with innovative dance productions.

The Dance Program is for the innovative AU student who wants to make connections between disciplines and forms, who wants to push themselves physically, creatively, and academically, who wants to be a forward thinker and creative doer in a moving world.

Declare Major or Minor

Washington, DC

A Flexible, Innovative Degree Program

The Dance Program curriculum is designed for students who seeks artistic and intellectual rigor, whose academic journey may include studying abroad, internships, double majoring, and/or minoring.

The 43-credit BA in Dance and the 19-credit Dance Minor include study of

  • Embodied Knowledge (dance technique, movement forms, somatics)
  • Critical Inquiry (kinesiology, history, technology, business)
  • Creative Practice (creative tools, seminars, capstone projects) and
  • Advanced student-driven and faculty-mentored concentrations.

The Dance Program also works closely with Musical Theatre students, who take a minimum of four dance courses to fulfill their program of study.

Performance Opportunities

Fall semester features the annual CHOREOLAB on the Greenberg mainstage and Gallery: Senior Dance Capstone in rotating venues. CHOREOLAB is an annual workshop for emerging student choreographers who are mentored by Faculty Creative Advisors. Choreographer applications are typically due the last week of August, and auditions for dancers are held in the first week of September. Also, every fall, dancers can audition to perform in the senior capstone projects created by Dance Majors. Ths audition is held simultaneously with the CHOREOLAB audition. 

Spring semester features the American University Dance Company (AU/DC) in DANCEWORKS, at the Greenberg Theatre. This annual main stage concert presents fresh and seasoned perspectives on concert dance, choreographed by AU Faculty, visiting Guest Artists, and curated AU students. Auditions for AU/DC occur in the beginning of December. 

Performing in a AU Dance main stage show is open to all AU students, regardless of major or minor. Students will be asked to enroll in the corresponding performance course, at either 0- or 1-credits.

Students may also perform through the many student clubs, such as AU in Motion, the Ballroom Club, Bhangra Dance Club, and more! Find out more about AU Dance Program's Creative Opportunities.

Experienced Dancers Dedicated To Your Success

AU boasts a Dance faculty with a diverse range of artistic, scholarly, and educational experience. They have worked locally, nationally, and internationally with a variety of artists and arts organizations, including Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Ballet Austin, Bill T. Jones, Bmore Houseful, Capitol Tap, Coyaba Dance Theater, Donald McKayle, GroovMekanex, Kim Robards Dance, the National Ballet Company of Peru, Talley Beatty, and Bring In Da Noise, Bring In Da Funk.

In the last year AU Dance faculty's scholarship and artistic work has led them to:

  • Study dance and culture in Cuba.
  • Present work at the International Movement and Computing Conference in London, UK.
  • Teach over 665 yoga classes.
  • Join a symposium in Vienna on contemporary dance pedagogy.
  • Choreograph and perform at venues like The John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, National Museum of African American History and Culture, and Dance Place.

Read more about individual faculty members' experiences and areas of interest on the faculty profile page

Dance Opportunities In The Capital City

The D.C. Metro area is home to a vibrant dance community with many seasoned and emerging dance companies, choreographers, and artists. AU's close proximity to several leading arts organizations offers students a chance participate in internships in dance education, production, management, and performance.

A few of these organizations include The John F. Kennedy Center, Dance Place, Joy of Motion, the Washington Ballet, Dance Loft on 14, Dance Exchange, Urban Artistry Dance Academy, Joe's Movement Emporium, Dance/USA, Signature Theatre, and more.

Pathways Between Fields

The Dance Program's dexterous curriculum prepares students for careers in performance, choreography, education, non-profit, commercial, and/or individual enterprises. The experienced faculty seek to educate innovators who will utilize traditional skill sets within new contexts to develop art/business models and design new pathways between fields.

Students may:

  • Discover potential careers in physical therapy and movement therapy by taking Principles of Movement.

  • Explore dance scholarship, ethnography, and cultural diplomacy interests in Histories of Dance.

  • Develop skills related to technology, business, and entrepreneurship through the Studies in Innovation requirement.

  • Establish a professional network by taking master classes and working with guest artists.

News & Notes

The Washington City Paper profiled Kit Aylesworth (CAS '20) for the article " COVID Hit All Artists Hard, But For Dancer Kit Aylesworth the Pandemic Put Their Life on Pause "

AU Danceworks dancers perform at Greenberg Theatre

Arts ·

DANCEWORKS 2024 Showcases Innovative Choreography on the Greenberg Theatre Stage

Read More

Level Placement & Auditions

Check back for upcoming Level Placement.

Check back for upcoming audition dates.

Declared Musical Theatre Majors must request permissions for practicum courses. Practicum requests are processed three times per semester. Contact us for more information.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes! Please send an email to, with the following information:

  1. Name
  2. Current year in school, and where you are from.
  3. Date of campus visit, and time of your AU Tour (if you already have one scheduled).
  4. Current interests in Dance.

An audition is not required to become a Dance Major or a Dance Minor. If you're interested in either program of study, please make an appointment with the Dance Program Director, Erin Foreman-Murray, to discuss how the Major or Minor could be a good fit for your interests and to map out your plan of study.

Students will need to participate in a Level Placement class, in order to register for a Level II or III Embodied Knowledge (technique) course. No placement or special permissions are needed for Level I courses. Level Placements occur in August, December, February (for new incoming students) and April. 

Level Placement includes exercises from various dance forms including African, Ballet, Contemporary, Jazz and Tap. Faculty observe and assess your skills, and will place you into the appropriate level dance course for your current abilities as a dancer. Level Placements are offered every semester and are not required for Level I Embodied Knowledge courses. Students are required to participate in all movement forms as it allows faculty to see the holistic dancer.

Auditions for performance opportunities in AU Dance Program productions, such as CHOREOLAB and the Spring Dance Concert, happen in September and December each year.

Yes! AU’s Dance Program brings in new guest artists each year to teach master classes and/or to set choreographic work on the AU Dance Company (AU/DC). We’ve recently hosted or will soon welcome guest artists Charles O. Anderson, Tiffanie Carson, Tatiana Desardouin, Cynthia Gutierrez-Garner, Marcia Howard, Christopher Morgan, Sarah Beth Oppenheim, Juan “Coel” Rodriguez, Zoe Scofield, Rosy Simas, and B-boy Toyz aRe Us.

Yes! The Dance Program at AU encourages students to consider studying abroad and will work with students to fit a semester or year abroad into their plans for the Dance Major or Dance Minor. Many Majors and Minors are able to take courses abroad that will work into their program of study.

AU Dance offers multiple levels of African dance, ballet, contemporary, dance improvisation, jazz, tap, musical theatre styles, somatics (including pilates, yoga, LMA, Alexander technique) and urban dance forms (inclduing breaking, house, locking, popping, waacking).

Dance technique courses are capped at 18 students for safety purposes and to ensure that our classes are a great place to learn!

There is no limit per semester — you’re limited only by what you can fit in your overall course schedule.

The primary dance studio, in the Katzen Arts Center, is equipped with a Harlequin fully sprung, marley-covered floor (installed 2016), portable barres, multifunction stereo, projection, and wireless internet connection. Classes and rehearsals may also occur in the Katzen Studio Theatre, a black box theater space. Performances are generally held at the Harold and Sylvia Greenberg Theatre, and the Abrahamson Family Recital Hall.

Yes. AU students can request time in the Katzen Dance Studio. Bookings are processed by Dance Program administrators, and must be requested 48 hours in advance. Please contact about studio rentals.

There are several student-run dance clubs that students can participate in throughout the year, including AU in Motion, Ballroom Club, Bhangra Dance Club, and the K-Pop Club. These clubs are best found via social media, AU Community Showcases or Club Fairs.

Yes! At AU you can perform every semester! Performance opportunities include:

  • CHOREOLAB: a workshop for student choreographers presented on the Greenberg Mainstage.

  • Dance Capstone: projects created by senior Dance Majors that are presented in new venues each year.

  • AU Dances: a twice-a-year performance of the work happening in our Embodied Knowledge classes.

  • DANCEWORKS - Annual Spring Dance Concert: Mainstage performance featuring the American University Dance Company (AU/DC).

  • American College Dance Association Conference: Each spring, some of the casts from AU/DC also travel to perform at the American College Dance Festival.

  • Student Clubs: student-led dance clubs at AU that perform on and off campus including AU in Motion and the Ballroom club.

Performance opportunities are open to all students regardless of major or minor. The majority of performance opportunities require an audition, held throughout the year, or registration in a dance course.

Two figures dance in an empty room

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