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What is a Dance Major at Drexel?
Our mission is to inspire and nurture civically engaged artists/practitioners through physical, intellectual, creative, and therapeutic experiences in dance.
The performing arts major in dance combines rigorous academic coursework with extensive stage and studio dance experiences. Drexel features outstanding faculty of noted dancers, choreographers and educators to prepare our graduates for a variety of careers in dance and related fields. We achieve this through Drexel’s outstanding co-op program, which has all students working for six months in a job in the dance field. We encourage our students to take one of the dozens of minors offered in the University be it business, film, art history or in other subjects that ensure that our graduates receive a well-rounded education that best prepares them for successful careers in the industry.
Drexel Westphal's undergraduate dance majors will explore extensive experiences to improve as a dancer, choreographer, and performer, while being interested in other areas of study offered by an outstanding university. The student who enters the Dance major at Drexel University is an academically achieving student with a passion for dance. This student wants to study dance —both physically and cognitively— while preparing for gainful employment after graduation.
What Skills Will Be Acquired Through A Drexel Dance Degree?
- Develop high level of technical skills in dance
- Understand the value of diversity through a developing awareness of the world and their place in it
- Appreciate each dance form for its aesthetic properties and interactions with time periods and culture
- Demonstrate a professional work ethic
- Understand the interdisciplinary nature of dance and dance-related fields including; music and media arts
- Demonstrate visual literacy and kinesthetic proficiency
- Demonstrate an understanding of physical and emotional self-care practices
- Develop choreographic and improvisational skills
- Develop and demonstrate skills for critical thinking and the application of these skills in therapy, pedagogy and performance
- Understand and demonstrate a knowledge of musculoskeletal anatomy, kinesiology and musicality
- Describe movement using a range of theoretical and somatic frameworks
What Careers Can You Pursue With A Dance Degree?
Drexel dancers go on to successful and fulfilling careers. Check out some of our alumni to see what they've been up to!
Become a Dance Therapist
Students focused on dance/movement therapy prepare for jobs as dance/movement therapists—these students earn a BS degree in Dance during their first four years of study. From there, they have the option to do two additional years of study to earn an MA in Creative Arts in Therapy through the College of Nursing and Health Professions at Drexel, in order to become a registered dance/movement therapist.
Become a Dance Teacher
Students focused on dance in education prepare for jobs as elementary school teachers (grades kindergarten through 4) who may also serve as school dance specialists. Students choosing this option will earn a BS degree in Dance and may elect to continue for a fifth year of study to earn an MS in Teaching, Learning and Curriculum through the Drexel School of Education. Students who successfully complete the five-year BS/MS option in education will then be recommended to the State for a Pennsylvania Teaching Certificate in the area of Elementary Education for K-4 certification in general education.
Become a Physical Therapist
Students focused on physical therapy prepare to work as physical therapists in a variety of settings, including hospitals, treatment centers, schools, and private practice. Students interested in the physical therapy option will complete the four-year BS degree in Dance along with a series of recommended electives in the physical sciences. After completion of the BS degree, students may opt to continue their education for an additional three years in the College of Nursing and Health Professions to earn a DPT and become a licensed physical therapist.
Become a Performer
Students focused on the custom design track work closely with faculty mentorship and advice to create a unique career in dance. Many students in this focus select dance performance, which prepares them to work as performers and/or choreographers in a variety of settings. Students interested in the performance option will complete the four-year BS degree in dance, with an emphasis on collaborative and interdisciplinary work.
What Else Does Drexel Dance Have To Offer?
Drexel Westphal's dance program offers three dance companies; FreshDance, Dance Ensemble and Touring Ensemble.
FreshDance is the freshman year dance company that provides professional performance opportunity for first year students. This company works with professional choreographers, faculty and guest artists, as well as students, and present their pieces twice a year in the Mandell Theater.
Drexel Dance Ensemble is a professional quality dance company comprised of students beyond their freshman year. Twice a year, this dance company performs a fully-produced concert in Mandell, showcasing their work for more than 1000 patrons every season. Entrance to the company is by biannual audition and is open to any dancer in their second year or above.
Youth Performance Exchange Touring Ensemble
This ensemble is for those inspired to work with young audiences. The Youth Performance Exchange Touring Ensemble provides an exciting and satisfying opportunity to utilize dance as a conduit to teaching and connecting with children. Drexel students interested in becoming a member of the touring ensemble must audition and interview for the group at the beginning of the academic year. Learning and developing the performance material happens during the Fall Quarter, and touring to the schools happens in the Winter and Spring Quarters on Friday mornings, making the Touring Ensemble a year-long commitment.
Community Based Learning
In addition to our dance companies, students have the opportunity to work with our Community Based Learning Programs.
Drexel dancers are partnered with the Dornsife Center for Community Partnerships to offer free dance classes to youth and seniors in West Philadelphia. Weekly dance classes are taught by Drexel dance students and alumni and mentored by Drexel dance faculty to extend the physical, intellectual, creative and therapeutic aspects of dance to the community.
During the spring term the YPE Residency Program assign small groups of Drexel dancers to develop choreography with middle school students throughout the city. This weekly collaborative process fosters artistic development and culminates with a finished dance work.
This program partners dancers from Drexel with wheelchair bound teenagers with cerebral palsy from HMS School for a yearlong process to create dances that is presented at a matinee performance in June in the Mandell Theater.
Drexel Pilates is an active and growing Pilates community that includes a fully equipped studio, personalized instruction, mixed equipment classes, mat classes, and its trademark 450-hour Drexel Pilates Training Program. Drexel Pilates is a subsidiary of Drexel Dance and is housed in the Drexel Athletic Center at 33rd and Market Street in the heart of University City.
The Drexel Pilates studio offers high-quality, rigorous Pilates instruction in a welcoming and focused environment. We provide an array of services to best suit each client's workout preferences and needs. From rehabilitation of injury to high performance athleticism, Drexel Pilates offers motivating classes and sessions to increase strength and flexibility, improve posture, and leave you feeling revitalized.
Facilities at Drexel
Students study, rehearse, and perform in a variety of spaces during their time at Drexel. The most commonly used spaces for the dance program are:
Ellen Forman Dance Studio
418 Main Dance Studio
Drexel Dance Faculty
Check out our diverse faculty who bring a wide variety of experience and talent into the classroom!
Read faculty spotlight features here!
The Philadelphia Dance Community
Our faculty share their talents outside of Drexel's campus, working with Philadelphia dance companies such as:
- Olive Prince Dance
- Cardell Dance Theater
- Ma'at Works Dance Collective
- JCWK Dance Lab
- Danse4Nia Repertory Ensemble
Learn about our Pre-College Dance program