The SCA Dance program provides the unique opportunity to study, create and perform dance within a collaborative, interdisciplinary department. The program features a variety of courses that include: dance technique and composition, choreography, repertory and performance, and the history and aesthetics of dance. This is enriched by courses in improvisation, experiential anatomy and body conditioning, and dance/movement analysis.
Our students are challenged in studio and lecture courses to be versatile and articulate, to interact with new technology, and to understand that the collaborative process is crucial to their development as contemporary artists. Students engage with contemporary ideas and concepts through an understanding of dance viewed historically and in relation to other art forms.
We believe in a versatile approach to training and, to this end, offer technique courses in modern, contemporary, and ballet techniques. These courses, plus the course in experimental anatomy and body conditioning introduce students to the fundamental principles of movement while offering strong technical skills. Studio courses are accompanied by lecture courses in aesthetics and history as well as a selection of critical theory and history courses offered throughout the School.
For information about applying to the program, please follow the links at the Future Students section of our site.
Our students have the opportunity to produce and perform original works throughout their four years of study. We provide numerous opportunities for performances; from informal concerts arranged and created by the students to highly produced performances with national and international guest artists and faculty. We are committed to offering our majors these opportunities in the belief that learning how to perform as an individual and as a member of a company is fundamental to their preparation for a professional career.
Composition and collaboration are important activities within the dance area and across the School, and we encourage cross-disciplinary projects in many of our courses. Now that we are located in downtown Vancouver, we hope to continue deepening our existing connections and forming new ones with the local, national and international dance community through platforms such as our Apprenticeship and Guest Artist programs.
- To promote a deeper understanding of the numerous expressive possibilities inherent in the human body.
- To contextualize these possibilities through an understanding of dance in relation to the history of art, aesthetics, and critical theory.
- To explore these possibilities through collaborative projects with other disciplines, including an engagement with new technology.
- To present the results of these explorations as finished creative works that foreground the expertise of the artist as choreographer, performer, and thinker.
To see detailed descriptions of the program options in the Dance area, please see the Academic Calendar.
Major in Dance (BFA)
To graduate with a BFA, major in Dance, a student must complete 80 credit hours for the major itself, plus the 30 credit Faculty of Arts Breadth requirements within the total of 120 credits required for the degree.
Extended minor in Dance
An extended minor in Dance requires a minimum of 45 credit hours in dance and related areas in contemporary arts.
Joint Degree/Diploma program with the National Ballet School
This is a joint degree/diploma program with the National Ballet School Teacher Training Program. This five-year program allows students to initiate their studies at SFU or the National Ballet School (NBS). To obtain a BFA degree and a NBS Teacher Training Diploma, students must spend their first three years at SFU, then transfer to the NBS for the remaining two years. Students who transfer to SFU after three years of study at NBS, then complete two – three years at SFU.
The curriculum includes:
- Technique classes in contemporary dance and ballet
- Dance composition
- Choreography courses, which include interdisciplinary explorations and collaborative experiences with students in the School
- Dance improvisation
- Experimental anatomy and body conditioning for dancers
- Dance/movement analysis
- Dance Aesthetics
- Dance History: 20th Century to the Present
- Intensive Studies in Performance
The dance program is enriched with courses from Film, Music, Theatre, Visual Art, and Visual Culture and Performance Studies, and by the visiting dance companies and artists that perform at the SFU theatre and in the local community.
Performance is a major emphasis of the program. Students have opportunities to perform in choreography created by faculty and guest choreographers, student-choreographed work, interdisciplinary performances, and graduate student productions.
Apprenticeships with local dance companies are facilitated and provide students with additional pre-professional experience. The dance area provides a solid foundation for students who choose to pursue careers as performers, choreographers, teachers, writers, dance critics, dance/movement therapists and arts administrators
SCA BFA dance graduates have performed with Le Group Dance Lab (Ottawa), EDAM, Noam Gagnon and Vision Impure, Ravin Spirit Dance, Judith Marcuse, Justine Chambers, Jennifer Mascall, Aeriosa, Thodos Dance (Chicago), Dancers Dancing, Compagnie Marie Chouinard (Montreal), Tans & Kunst (Switzerland), Le Patin Libre (Montreal), Serge Bennathan, Faye Driscoll (USA), Khambatta Dance Co. (USA), Tara Cheyenne Performance, Action at a Distance, Kokoro Dance, Company Erasga Dance Society, Kinesis Dance, Flowmotion Dance (Vienna), Emily Johnson/Catalyst Dance (USA), and many more.
Local choreographers who are SCA BFA dance graduates include Tara Cheyenne, Tony Chong, Desiree Dunbar, Vanessa Goodma, Sarah Coffin, Starr Muranko, Naomi Lefebvre, Mark Pillay, Mahalia Patterson-O’Brian, and many more. Performance collectives that developed out of the SCA dance area include Hong Kong Exile, Warehaus Collective, Con8 Collective, Triadic Dance Works, The Body Narratives Collective, and others. Our BFA students also teach at, run, and own dance studios throughout Vancouver and elsewhere – even all the way to the Trinity Laban Conservatoire in London, UK.
As well as performers and choreographers, our BFA graduates also work within dance in other ways as well as in other related fields, including: arts administration, K-12 Education, working with children, teaching body work/pilates/conditioning, physical therapy, community engagement organizations, arts festivals, arts related public policy, and more, as well as pursue MA, MFA, and PhD degrees.
Collaboration / Composition
The SCA emphasizes interdisciplinary pedagogy within and across the practice-based disciplines reperesented in the school – Dance, Film, Music, Theatre: Performance, Theatre: Production & Design, and Visual Art. CA 285: Interdisciplinary Studio – Composition/Collaboration, for example, is a core course requirement for all six BFA areas.
Students in CA 285 collaborate on compositional studies using movement, lighting, image-making, video, and sound. The experimental nature of the course produces inspiring works that push the boundaries of each discipline while opening up new ways of making and looking at performance. The relationships developed in CA 285 by students from across the SCA continue into their upper division coursework, encouraging great collaborations and partnerships that often last beyond graduation. The dance area not only encourages collaboration across the SCA, but also believes it to be integral to the education of all dance artists.