Dance (DANC)

Graduate Degree Program
College: Arts and Humanities


The School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies offers a Master of Fine Arts degree in Dance, encompassing choreography, performance, dance and technology, scholarly research, and pedagogy. Emphasizing creative work and collaboration with TDPS MFA candidates in Lighting, Set, Costume and Media/Projection Design, the program is grounded in rigorous academic study and offers a transformational education to those who are curious, motivated, self-directed and possess a spirit of expansive inquiry and innovation. The program is designed to give outstanding students advanced training, experience in teaching, and opportunities for creative growth. For more information visit the MFA in Dance website at or the School website at

Aimed primarily at modern or contemporary dancers with a high skill level and background in creating and performing at a professional level, opportunities abound in the creation of cross-disciplinary projects, presenting choreography in formal and informal settings throughout the three years, performing in guest artist and faculty works, presenting academic work at conferences and symposia, and participating in community-based performance and scholarly events.

The degree culminates with a thesis: an original choreographed and performed creative project and a written thesis. The third year also includes an off-campus internship option with a professional arts organization, research venue, agency, company, or school.

The competencies that students learn during the program will allow them to teach a broad range of dance and dance-related subjects after they graduate. They will be able to produce and present dance in a number of contexts and modalities, on campus, in professional and site-specific venues, and in the community.

We wish our graduates to exhibit a high degree of insight into the cultural contexts in which dance has developed in the past and continues to develop today.  Students are expected to spend a significant amount of time learning about technical aspects of dance as well as promotion and house management and the myriad of other organizational details that go into producing a dance performance. They will be actively involved in the practical application of this knowledge as part of their training.

The program is highly selective and auditions are required. The MFA is a full-time three-year program. Financial support is available.

Financial Assistance

Up to four candidates are admitted each Fall, and each of the four are offered financial support through teaching assistantship appointments, or if available, fellowships. Assistantships are never guaranteed and funding can change year to year. All qualified applicants may be nominated for Graduate School fellowships; the deadline for all applications is posted on the TPDS website annually. For more information, visit or call 301-405-6694.


Crystal Davis
Graduate Director of MFA in Dance

School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies
2810 Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at Maryland
8115 Alumni Drive
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742
Telephone: 301.405.3198
Fax: 301.314.9599
Crystal Gaston
Coordinator of Graduate Services
School of Theatre, Dance and Performance Studies

2809 Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at Maryland
8270 Alumni Drive
University of Maryland
College Park MD, 20742
Telephone: 301.405.6675


Courses: DANC

General Requirements

•    Statement of Purpose
•    Transcript(s)
•    TOEFL/IELTS/PTE (international graduate students)

Program-Specific Requirements

  • Letters of Recommendation (3)
  • CV/Resume
  • Description of Research/Work Experience 
  • Sample of Work: Share video weblinks and time stamps of what to review that totals 10-15 minutes of video footage. The sample collection should include examples of applicant’s choreography, performance (footage of applicant moving), and (if possible) teaching with a description to include name of the work(s), performers, and other choreographers. Examples of weblinks can include the applicant's professional website links of Vimeo/YouTube links entered into the Multimedia Requirements section of the application

Applicants should have a strong undergraduate preparation in dance technique and dance composition. They should have completed the following undergraduate courses or their equivalent: improvisation, kinesiology, dance teaching methods, dance production, Laban Movement Analysis, and two semesters of dance history or one semester of history and one of dance philosophy, ethnology or aesthetics. Undergraduate deficiencies will be considered on an individual basis.

Application Deadlines

Type of Applicant Fall Deadline Spring Deadline
Domestic Applicants
US Citizens and Permanent Residents January 24, 2025 N/A
International Applicants
F (student) or J (exchange visitor) visas; A,E,G,H,I and L visas and immigrants January 24, 2025 N/A


Program Website:
Application Process:

The location of the campus, eight miles away from Washington D.C., places the School a half hour away from America’s arts district where one may study and enjoy a wide variety of offerings of ballet, modern and broad variety of dance forms. Washington D.C. is also a center for policy and participation in the public discourse about the arts.

Last Name First/Middle Name Graduate Faculty Status Academic Credentials Positions
Davis Crystal U. Full Member B.A., Emory University, 2000; M.F.A, Texas Woman's University, 2003; M.A., New York University, 2004. n/a, Dance
Fang Adriane Full Member M.F.A. Dance, George Mason University, 2009; B.A. Dance/Psychology, University of Wisconsin Stevens Point, 1996.NYC: Wally Cardona, Gwen Welliver, Ronald K. Brown, Christian Canciani, Kevin Wynn, Jackie Villamil, Jan Miller, Cherylyn Lavagnino Assistant Professor, Dance
Keefe Maura Full Member University of California, RiversidePhD, Dance history and theory 2002Dissertation:Talking Dancing: The Choreography of Space and Character in Contemporary U.S. Dance.Smith College, Northampton, MA MFA in choreography and performance, Dance 1992William Smith College, Geneva, NY BA with Honors in Dance and English 1985 Associate Professor, Dance
Mayes Alvin Adjunct Member BS in Mathematics, University of Michigan 1969, Teaching certification 1970. Modern dance Elizabeth Bergmann and Gloria Newman. Choreography with Gloria Newman and Phyllis Lamhut.Partnering and support with Antony Tudor and Gloria Newman. Lecturer, Dance
Pearson Sara Full Member BA, Music/Dance, University of Minnesota, 1971; Nikolais Louis Dance Lab 1973-74 Alexander Technique/Somatic Training, Regina Wray, Ann Rodiger, Judith Blackstone 1976-96) Associate Professor, Dance
Portier Kendra Full Member B.F.A, The Ohio State University, 2003; M.F.A., the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign n/a, Dance
Widrig Patrik Full Member BA, Education, Pädagogische Hochschule Rorschach, Switzerland 1981); Nikolais/Louis Dance Lab, New York City 1984-87); Alexander Technique/Somatic Training, Regina Wray, Ann Rodiger 1986-96) Associate Professor, Dance