As part of the Department of Theatre and Dance and the Division of Creative Arts, dance students have opportunities for performance in plays, musicals, and faculty and student projects. Students also have opportunities to learn and practice their art in collaboration with students and faculty from the other arts disciplines. Additional performance and choreographic opportunities include student choreography for both formal and informal productions, senior thesis projects, repertory ensemble performances and annual dance concerts. Regionally and nationally renowned choreographers annually set repertory works, historical works or create new works for WOU students. Emphasis is in modern dance with strong support classes in ballet. Course work includes improvisation, composition, jazz, tap, world dance, dance history, rhythmic awareness, creativity, dance and technology, dance production, pedagogy, creative dance for children, kinesiology, wellness for dancers, notation, musical theater, and repertory.
The Dance Program at Western Oregon University provides the opportunity to develop creative, technical, pedagogical, and performance skills under the guidance of professional faculty in a supportive environment. The dance curriculum offers learning experiences that introduce the student to historical, practical, technical, and creative aspects of dance. The degree offers a broad scope of applied dance skills and theoretical knowledge, preparing students for graduate study, teaching, and for a wide variety of professional opportunities in the performing arts.
Resources include two full-time studios, a main-stage theater which seats 619 and houses a scene shop and lighting, sound, costuming and makeup areas. Western has four full-time and three part-time dance faculty. Guest artists are invited to choreograph, offer workshops, performances and lectures throughout the year for the campus community and the general public. Internationally famous dance companies frequently appear on campus as part of the Edgar H. Smith Fine Arts Series, many offering workshops and master classes including Pilobolus Dance Theatre, Martha Graham Dance Company, St. Petersburg Ballet, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Alonzo King LINES Ballet, Paul Taylor Dance Company, and The David Parsons Dance Company. Auditions for placement are required.