Emily Schoen Masterclass F21


That Move You

From ballet and modern dance, to hip hop, jazz, tap, ballroom, and hula, we immerse our students in diverse movement traditions and techniques.

JesseJ - JingZi photography


to Empower You

Our theory courses give students a historical and social context for understanding the ways dance communicates as a cultural, personal, and political expression. These courses empower students to think critically, speak articulately, advocate effectively and contribute substantially to the community.

Lumi Dance Image


to Transform You

Western Oregon University is the leading university in the Pacific Northwest to work with the latest technology including immersive fiber optics, dances with drones, and dance for the camera.

Emily Schoen Masterclass F21

Guest Artist Programing

to Connect You

Nationally and internationally renowned guest artists teach a regular series of dance classes and workshops for our students. The guest artists choreograph works on our students that are performed in our annual Spring Dance Concert and on tour to the American College Dance Association regional conference.

Dancer Wellness screening

Dance Science

to Equip You

We are interested in dancer wellness training and research. Each year we participate in an national dancer wellness screening and our students take coursework in conditioning for dancers, wellness for dancers, and kinesiology for dancers.

Hip Hop dancer breaking through a wall


to Inspire You

Our talented dance majors and minors have multiple opportunities to express themselves through the creation of choreographic work. We cultivate dance artistry with exciting and diverse programs of new works.

BA Degree in


We offer the opportunity to develop knowledge, skills, understanding, and appreciation of dance as an art form. The curriculum is structured to develop well rounded dancers who are prepared for careers in dance or any field that requires creative thinking, problem solving, collaboration, and innovation. 

Minor in


WOU students who are working toward a degree in another discipline can choose to add a minor in dance to continue their dance training and to be part of the dance community including multiple performances each year.

Add a Concentration in:

Dance Choreography and Performance

 The concentration in choreography and performance allows students to specialize their degree as performing artists. It focuses on dance composition and performance skills, musicianship and concert production, and provides several opportunities to choreograph and perform in independent projects as well as in our annual dance concerts.

Add a Concentration in:

Dance Film and Technology

 The concentration in Dance Film and Technology allows students to focus on the innovative ways dance utalizes technology to enhance performance. This concentration focuses on choreography for the camera, and provides hands-on experience creating screendance works, and immersive trining in STEM technologies that support multi-media dance performance. 

Add a Concentration in:

Dance Education and Studio Management

 The concentration in Dance Education and Studio Management allows students to specialize their degree towards inspiring a new generation of dancers. Understanding methods for teaching dance as well as the busness savvy for successfully managing a dance studio or a dance company.

Paid Internships WITH

Rainbow dance theatre

WOU’s Resident Dance Company

Selected students have the opportunity to earn a degree in dance while gaining professional experience by touring and performing with Rainbow Dance Theatre. This professional dance company performs nationally and internationally to places like: Canada, China, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Japan, Mexico, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, and Taiwan. The company celebrates the diversity of its company members as well as the divers cultural influences in the choreography that fuses West African Dance, Haitian Dance, Hip Hop, Martial Arts with American Modern Dance. 

As WOU’s resident dance company it offers our students a window into the life of professional dancers and current dance majors and minors are able to take company class and observe rehearsals on a weekly basis.

Additionally, many WOU dance alumni have found employment with Rainbow Dance Theatre after graduation.

Dance Performances and Events

Upcoming Events

Dance Scholarship Audition Day Feb. 25

Dance Scholarship Audition Day

Click Here to Register for the Audition Day

Interested in becoming a dance major or minor? Come to this audition and learn about what life is like as a dance major or minor at Western Oregon University.

You do not need to prepare a solo for this audition. Just come prepared to take a contemporary modern dance class.

Can’t make it to the audition? Contact Tim Cowart, head of dance at cowartt@wou.edu


Spring Dance Concert 2024

Thursday – Saturday, May 9, 10, 11, 2024 Rice Auditorium 7:30 pm 

$14 General | $8 Students | $10 WOU Fac/Staff/Seniors/Veterans | WOU Students FREE with ID

Buy tickets here, or by calling the box office 503-838-8462

Spring Dance Concert 2024 Poster

Kaeja Elevations Teacher Certification Workshops

Sign up to become a Kaeja Elevations Certified Teacher Today!

Kaeja Elevations® is an approach to partnering where all genders, experience and physique are on a level playing field. Rooted in contact improvisation, KE relies on the architectural structure of two bodies interacting while complimented by gravity, momentum, propulsion, breath and flow.

Certification Level 1 The Art of Flying – June 19 – 23

Certification Level 2 Flight – June 26 – 30 

Kaeja Elevations Flying Lift


Jump Start Dance Concert

We jump into the new school year with our annual Jump Start Dance Concert! Our professional dance faculty members choreograph and perform works they have been creating over the past year. We also invite our alumni and guest artists to preform works from their repertory and to get the year started with a leap.

Dance Out Day

A site-specific dance performance event for the entire campus community. Take a walking tour around our beautiful campus while enjoying the fall weather and live dance performances choreographed by our advance composition students and performed by our talented dance majors and minors.

Fall Dance Concert

Our fall term concludes with an exciting free performance in our Maple Hall Theatre. This concert is produced and crewed by the Dance Production class and with dances choreographed by our advanced choreography class and performed by students in the dance program. It is a great way to see some of the great work being produced by our emerging dance artists. 

Symposium for Dance Research and Applied Social Action

This cross-disciplinary event occurs every winter term and is about the ways dance is being used to bring people together to help improve their lives and work on social problems that are important to various communities. Annually the dance program partners with one of the other disciplines on campus (e.g. criminal justice, environmental studies, sustainability, technology, gerontology, ASL, etc.) to examine an issue of importance to identify potential solutions and take action to create positive change. 

Winter Screendance Concert

A screening of award-winning dance films from around the world. We curate an evening of short films (less than 15 minutes each) that use dance as the driving force of the film. Screendance is a hybrid artform that blends the best elements of dance and cinema. These dances are choreographed specifically for the screen environment and careful attention is paid to camera movement and frame design. 

American College Dance Association

Every year our students attend and perform at the American College Dance Association’s (ACDA) Regional Conference. ACDA is a national organization of university dance educators who sponsor regional and national conferences to recognize and encourage excellence in performance and choreography in higher education. Participation in this event provides an opportunity for college dancers to have their works adjudicated and critiqued by established professionals. 

Spring Dance Concert

The annual Spring Dance Concert showcases guest artist, student and faculty choreographed works in an exciting blend of new and innovative choreographic premieres. This not-to-be-missed event held every year on the magnificent Rice Auditorium stage features the versatility and skill of our talented dance majors and minors.


Dance Program

503-838-8340| e-mail: killipl@wou.edu| Monmouth Campus Location: Rice Auditorium

Office Open Monday – Friday from 9am – 3pm


Dr. Diane Baxter

Darryl Thomas

Professor of Dance

M.F.A. in Dance Performance and Choreography – University of Hawaii
B.F.A. in Dance – University of Maryland

WOU information

Darryl Thomas is a Professor of Dance here at Western Oregon University and is Co-Artistic Director for Rainbow Dance Theatre. At WOU he teaches a range of classes from West African, hip hop, salsa, and hula, to dancing with drones and technology for dance. As a former dancer and artistic collaborator in the world-renowned Pilobolus Dance Theatre he brings a wide range of performance and choreographic experience to the WOU dance program.  

Dr. Diane Baxter

Timothy Cowart

Associate Professor of Dance and Dance Program Coordinator

M.F.A. in Dance – University of Oregon
M.S. in Arts Administration – University of Oregon
B.F.A. in Dance and Choreography – Virginia Commonwealth University
WOU information

Timothy Cowart teaches coursework in all levels of modern dance, dance partnering, contact improvisation, ballroom dance, dance in world cultures, and dance on camera. He performed nationally and internationally with the Bella Lewitzky Dance Company, the Pittsburgh Dance Alloy and Impact Productions. He is certified in Kaeja Elevations, a form of modern dance partnering work that utilizes momentum, dynamic tension and flight. 

Dr. Diane Baxter

Corrie Cowart

NTT Professor of Dance

M.F.A. in Dance – University of Oregon
Certified Movement Analyst (CMA) – LABAN/Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies
B.F.A. In Dance – Cornish College of the Arts
WOU information

Corrie Cowart is a certified DanceAbility instructor and a certified movement analyst. She teaches all levels of ballet and modern dance as well as dance composition, Human Movement Analysis, and dance teaching methods.  She performed with the Pat Graney Dance Company, Mary Miller Dance Company, LABCO Dance, Minh Tran and Dancers, the Dance Theatre of Oregon, and the Pittsburgh Opera. 

Headshot of Cynthia Garner

Cynthia Gutierrez-Garner

NTT Professor of Dance

MFA in Dance – University of Wisconsin Milwaukee’s Peck school of the Arts
B.F.A. in Dance University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
WOU information

Cynthia Gutierrez-Garner is a choreographer and dance educator committed to inclusion, representation and social consciousness in both pedagogy and creative practice. She teaches course work in all levels of modern, jazz and tap dance as well as Latin Dances around the World, Dance Gender and Society, dance production, and advanced dance composition. She has been commissioned to create numerous original works of choreography for colleges and professional dance companies across the United States. 

Headshot of Marita Cardinal

Dr. Marita Cardinal

Professor, Health & Exercise Science

Ed.D. in Dance Education – Temple University
M.A. in Physical Education, Dance, Music, and Theatre: Eastern Washington University
BA in Theatre/Dance – Eastern Washington University
WOU information

Winner of the WOU Outstanding Faculty Advisor Award (2008), and the mario & Alma Pastega Award for excellence in Scholarship. She teaches coursework for both the Division of Health and Physical Education and the Dance Program. She offers classes in Wellness for Dancers, Conditioning for Dancers, and Kinesiology for Dancers. Her publications can be found in the Journal of Dance Medicine and Science; Medical Problems of Performing Arts; IMPULSE: the International Journal of Dance Science, Medicine, and Education: Kinesiology and Medicine for Dance; Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport; Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise; and the Journal of Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance, among others. 

Les Watanabe Headshot

Les Watanabe

NTT Professor of Dance

M.F.A. in Dance – University of California-Irvine
B.F.A. in Dance – California Institute of the Arts
WOU information

Les Watanabe performed as a soloist for such companies as: Donald McKayle’s Inner City Repertory Company, Lar Lubovitch Dance Company, Joyce Trisler’s Danscompany, Alvin Ailey II, Burch Mann Folk Ballet, Sachiyo Ito Japanese Dance Company, L.A. Jazz, and with Peter Gross Dance Company in Paris, France. At WOU he teaches all levels of ballet technique, choreography for the camera, introduction to dance, and dance in world cultures. He has performed extensively in theater and television including Hal Prince and Stephen Sondheim’s Broadway production of Pacific Overtures, and Alvin Ailey Presents Duke Ellington CBS special, Academy Awards, and Emmy Awards.



At Western Oregon University we understand that selecting the right university and dance degree program takes time and a little research. Incoming freshmen, transfer students, and graduate students who are ready to take the steps to begin pursuing a music degree with us are encouraged to visit campus, take a free lesson with your prospective applied lessons professor, make application to the university, and schedule an audition for program entry and scholarships.


Please email Tim Cowart (cowartt@wou.edu) so we can get to know you better and direct your inquiries to the correct faculty member(s).


We encourage you to spend a day with us while classes are in session. Take a campus tour, visit our classes, and have a chance to dance in the studio. This is the best way to see if WOU is the right fit for you. Contact the dance program to schedule your visit. Campus tours can usually be scheduled on the same day through the admissions office.


Undergraduates will make formal application to the university through the admission process website. We accept applications throughout the year. We suggest, however, that you apply early so that you will meet eligibility requirements and deadlines for scholarships.


(Links Coming Soon)

A Day in the Life of a Dance Major

Common Q & A’s

Dance Curriculum

Student Handbook

Dance Alumni

Gallery of Student Videos

Gallery of Performance Photos

Dance Program Facilities

Social Media Links

Careers in Dance