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 and dance concerts. You’ll be able to pursue independent studies and 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 choreographers and other theatre artists from around the world to campus. Interested in a teaching career? You can pursue NH Dance K-12 teacher undergraduate certification or a fifth-year master’s in teaching program through the UNH Education Department. A master’s degree can raise your teaching salary.

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

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.

If you are interested in teaching grades K-12, you could pursue dance education, either through NH Dance K-12 teacher undergraduate certification, or you could pursue a fifth-year master's in teaching program through the UNH Education Department.  A Master's degree can raise your salary significantly when entering the workforce.

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.  Students must also complete a digital portfolio that demonstrates fulfillment of student learning outcomes related to their area of study.

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
Acting The Song
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

The practicum ensures a breadth of experience in the major, including sets, costumes, lighting, props, box office, marketing, and performing.  Students must register for practicum every semester.  They are notified of their practicum assignment at the beginning of each semester.

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. You may achieve dance licensure in two different ways. You may pursue dance education/licensure through the undergraduate program.  This leaves no room for double majors or minors. If you want to broaden your undergraduate education and need more space for classes outside of THDA, you may pursue the five-year program, beginning preparation for teaching at the undergraduate level and then pursuing a graduate degree to get dance certification. Students complete a baccalaureate degree in theatre with a dance option and move into a fifth year of study with a full-year internship, leading to either the Masters in Education (M.Ed.) or a Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) degree and licensure for teaching. 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. To complete the work in five years, students must plan for dual admission to graduate school and also take multiple education courses during the undergraduate years.

The kindergarten through 12th grade certification in the dance education program provides the foundation for public school teaching certification. 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 undergraduate or graduate teacher certification options, contact Assaf Benchetrit, Paul Creative Arts Center, (603) 862-4485,

4-Year Teacher Licensure B.A. Program

The 4-year teacher licensure B.A. program includes the same requirements as the B.A. dance option but with the following modifications.

  • The THDA 551: Acting I requirement is waived.
  • The THDA 798/799 requirement is replaced with EDUC 694 Courses in Supervised Teaching.
  • The Performance requirement is reduced from 16 credits to 12 credits. 
  • The following requirements are added:
BMS 507Human Anatomy and Physiology I0 or 4
EDUC 500Exploring Teaching4
EDUC 605Educational Perspectives in Critical Times4
EDUC 694Courses in Supervised Teaching8
EDUC 701Human Development & Learning: Cultural Perspectives4
EDUC 751AInclusive Elementary Education: Literacies and Learning for Diverse Learners4
or EDUC 751B Methods of Inclusive Secondary Education: Literacies, Learning, and Transitions
NUTR 400Nutrition in Health and Well Being0 or 4
THDA 791Internship in Theatre and Dance2

5-Year Teacher Licensure M.A.T. or M.Ed. Program

The 5-year teacher licensure M.A.T. or M.Ed. program includes the same requirements as the B.A. dance option but with the following modifications.

  • The following requirements are added:
BMS 507Human Anatomy and Physiology I 14
EDUC 500/935AExploring Teaching 14
NUTR 400Nutrition in Health and Well Being 14
EDUC 605Educational Perspectives in Critical Times 14
EDUC 701/801Human Development & Learning: Cultural Perspectives 24
EDUC 751A/851AInclusive Elementary Education: Literacies and Learning for Diverse Learners 14
or EDUC 751B/851B Methods of Inclusive Secondary Education: Literacies, Learning, and Transitions
EDUC 900AInternship and Seminar in Teaching6
EDUC 901AInternship and Seminar in Teaching6

Must be taken before the teaching internship.


May be taken at the undergraduate level or the graduate level.

Core Student Learning Outcomes for the Bachelor of Arts in Theatre major: On completion of the B.A. in Theatre, students will:

  • Recognize and distinguish between various styles and forms of theatre or dance that have shaped the evolution of these disciplines.
  • Effectively communicate artistic ideas and/or critical analysis of theatre or dance works through appropriate oral, written or practical means.
  • Demonstrate knowledge and fundamental skill level of the basic areas of theatre or dance production in areas related to performance, design, technology or management.
  • Create and demonstrate informed and personal artistic choices in coursework and productions (i.e., design, dance, directing, acting).

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

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

Explore Program Details

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

student posing in doorway on campus
thompson hall in summer
student at Career Event