Theatre Major: Dance Option (B.A.)

Theatre Major: Dance Option (B.A.)

Dance students wearing red, doing aerial dance

What is the dance option in theatre?

By studying dance within the theatre degree program at UNH, you’ll be preparing yourself for a successful career on or off the stage. You’ll take classes in the history of dance, dance composition, choreography and performance, learning techniques in jazz, ballet, tap and even aerial dance. As a graduate of this program, you might work as a performer, choreographer or dance teacher.

Why study dance at UNH?

In addition to our award-winning faculty, the UNH Department of Theatre and Dance offers more than 25 performance opportunities every year in musicals, plays or dance concerts. You’ll be able to pursue independent studies and you’ll be eligible to apply for R.E.A.C.H., financial assistance provided to students who participate in internships with professional theatre or dance organizations. Our Cultural Stages program brings acclaimed playwrights, choreographers and other theatre artists from around the world to campus. If you’re interested in a teaching career, you might consider the five-year Master of Arts in Teaching program in the UNH Education Department for K-12 dance teacher certification.

Potential careers

  • Artistic director
  • Arts organization director
  • Choreographer
  • Dance fitness instructor
  • Dance teacher
  • Dance studio owner
  • Professional dancer


Jamie Clavet

Marketing & Promotions Specialist
Phone: (603) 862-2150
Office: Theatre & Dance, Paul Creative Arts Center Rm D22, Durham, NH 03824

Department of Theater and Dance
Paul Creative Arts Center
University of New Hampshire
30 Academic Way
Durham, NH 03824

Phone: (603) 862-2919
Fax: (603) 862-0298

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Curriculum & Requirements

The dance option offers a diverse program that is designed to give the dance teacher, choreographer and/or performer the skills needed to embark on a successful career. Technique courses in ballet, pointe, tap, jazz and the aerial arts are at the core of this program. Courses in history of dance, composition, choreography and dance pedagogy aid dancers in preparing for a variety of employment opportunities in the dance field. In addition, dancers are introduced to the technical aspects involved in staging a full-scale performance. Performance opportunities include yearly faculty-directed dance concerts and student-created dance showcases each semester. Dancers may focus on one or all dance forms.

Students may choose to combine the dance option with requirements of the UNH Department of Education, in conjunction with a fifth year Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) or Masters in Education (M.Ed.) program. This path will prepare students for dance teaching certification or elementary school teaching certification with an undergraduate specialization in dance. They also have the option of pursuing dance education leading to K-12 dance teacher certification.

Contact Gay Nardone, Newman Dance Studio, (603) 862-1728,

In the freshman and sophomore years, students should enroll for at least two major and two Discovery courses per semester. The minimum grade requirement for major courses is C- per course. Any grade lower than C- will not count toward the major. Under department policy, students who complete both COMM 401 American Sign Language I and COMM 502 American Sign Language II satisfy the bachelor of arts language proficiency requirement. All majors must take courses in the following areas: performance, design/theatre technology and theory/history as well as fulfill between four and eight practicums and complete a capstone course. Although timing will vary with each option, it is strongly suggested that all introductory courses be taken prior to the end of the student's sophomore year.

The required minimum overall GPA in major coursework is 2.0.

Candidates for a degree must satisfy all of the University Discovery Program requirements in addition to satisfying the requirements of each individual major program. Bachelor of arts candidates must also satisfy the foreign language proficiency requirement.

Theatre department majors may use one major-required course to satisfy one Discovery category requirement.

All UNH B.A. degrees require a minimum of 128 credit hours.

Required Courses
THDA 459Stagecraft4
or THDA 460 Elements of Design
THDA 487History of Dance4
THDA 551Acting I4
THDA 589Practicum (A - D) 14-8
THDA 795WIndependent Study (Writing Intensive)2
or THDA #796W Independent Study
THDA 799Capstone Project2
or THDA 798 Senior Thesis
Theory Courses
THDA 633Dance Composition4
THDA 732Choreography4
THDA 786Dance Pedagogy4
Fine Arts
Select 8 credits of the following:8
Famous Dancers of the 20th Century
THDA 459
THDA 460
Elements of Design
THDA 546
Costume Design for the Theatre
THDA 548
Stage Lighting Design and Execution
THDA 555
Musical Theatre I
THDA 564
THDA 655
Musical Theatre Scene Study
Select 16 credits of the following:16
THDA 462
Ballet I
THDA 463
Theatre Dance I
THDA 562
Ballet II (May be repeated to 16 cr)
THDA 563
Theatre Dance II (May be repeated to 16 cr)
THDA 576
THDA 662
Ballet III (May be repeated to 16 cr)
THDA 663
Theatre Dance III (May be repeated to 16 cr)
THDA 665
Aerial Dance (May be repeated to 16 cr)
Total Credits56-60

State K-12 Teacher Certification

Certification in Dance is part of the pre-service programs in teacher education, which seek to prepare teachers who demonstrate excellence in classroom practice and who will become educational leaders. The basic program to achieve these ends is the five-year program in which students begin preparation for teaching at the undergraduate level with field experience and professional course work in teaching. Students complete a baccalaureate degree in Theatre with a Dance Option and move into a fifth year of study and a full-year internship which lead to either the Masters in Education (M.Ed.) or a Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) degree and licensure for teaching. Students who have already completed a baccalaureate degree with dance as an option or major may also be able to enter the teacher preparation program at the graduate level. With a GPA of 3.2 or better, you may be eligible for early admission to the graduate program, allowing up to twelve credits to dual count for both undergraduate and graduate degrees. Successful completion of the Praxis Core test is required for UNH graduate school admission. With no prior course work in education, this program will normally require two years to achieve licensure and either the M.Ed. or M.A.T.

The kindergarten through 12th grade certification in the dance education program provides the foundation for public school teaching certification through the Five-Year Teacher Education Program at UNH. This program integrates a general education background with dance training in a variety of dance styles, dance history, choreography, and dance pedagogy for the purpose of understanding content, process, and methodologies of dance as an art form. All five-year candidates must meet requirements for admission to graduate school. All K-12 Education in Dance students must receive a “C-” grade or better in all Theatre and Dance courses required in the program and a “B-” or better in the graduate level courses. New Hampshire also participates in a reciprocal agreement with many other states, the Interstate Certification Compact. For further clarification regarding fifth-year certification options, contact Assaf Benchetrit, Paul Creative Arts Center, (603) 862-4485,

EDUC 500/935AExploring Teaching 14
NUTR 400Nutrition in Health and Well Being 14
BMS 507Human Anatomy and Physiology I 14
EDUC 605Educational Perspectives in Critical Times 14
EDUC 701/801Human Development & Learning: Cultural Perspectives 24
EDUC 751B/851BEducating Exceptional Learners: Secondary 14
EDUC 900AInternship and Seminar in Teaching6
EDUC 901AInternship and Seminar in Teaching6

Explore Program Details

In addition to the shared department learning outcomes for all THDA students, upon completion of the major with an Option in Dance, students will:

  1. Develop an awareness of proper dance technique, physical expression and kinesthetic exploration.
  2. Apply choreographic phrases and compositional skills through performance.
  3. Demonstrate a foundation in dance pedagogy.
  4. Demonstrate a reflective and critical awareness of dance history.
  5. Effectively apply dance principles to critical writing via journals, performance critiques, research assignments and a senior thesis.

Students may pursue undergraduate teacher certification in theatre or dance education.  Students looking for a second major and/or a minor wouldn’t have time to do the undergraduate certification.  However, students may pursue certification with a 5th year master’s degree through the Education department.

take the next step

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thompson hall in summer
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