BFA Course Descriptions

Get an overview of the courses offered to students pursuing the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at the USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance.

Complete information about courses of instruction (i.e. number of units and pre-requisites) is available through the USC Course Catalogue.


Courses within USC Kaufman

All Colloquiums, Dance Technique, Repertory and Performance, Improvisation and Composition, and studio-based upper division courses are open only to dance majors. Dance majors are also able to take additional advanced technique courses—in Jazz, Hip Hop, Ballroom, Afro Cuban, Bollywood, and Tap—as a supplement to their BFA Dance Technique courses.

DANC 101 Colloquium: What is the Medium of Dance Today?

Required in the first semester through the BFA Core

Topics related to dance techniques, repertory and varied art forms. Aimed at the interdisciplinary expansion of dance literacy and connections to allied art forms.

DANC 103 Conditioning for Dancers

Required in the first semester through the BFA Core

Designed for the specific needs of the dancer in preparation for professional training, combining somatic work with the foundation of scientific principles.

DANC 105 Dance Science: Analysis of Dance Movement

Required in the second semester through the BFA Core

A broad overview of the scientific principles of exercise physiology, functional anatomy, kinesiology, and bio-mechanics with applications to dance.

DANC 107 World Perspective on Dance Performance

Required in the first semester through the BFA Core

The practice and aesthetics of international dance styles through lecture and participant-driven interaction.

DANC 110 Dance Technique I

Required in the first and second semesters through the BFA Core

Fundamental technique studies in a studio setting. Concentration on classical ballet, hip hop and its derivatives, partnering and contemporary techniques essential to the dancers’ development.

DANC 120 Repertory and Performance I

Required in the first and second semesters through the BFA Core

Study and guided practice of traditional and contemporary choreographic repertory. Emphasis in choreographic intention, stylistic approaches and performance technique.

DANC 130 Improvisation and Composition I: Introduction

Required in the first semester through the BFA Core

An introduction to improvisational and composition skills that start to prepare students for the creative processes of dancing, dance-making and performance. Open only to dance majors.

DANC 131 Improvisation and Composition II: Introduction

Required in the first semester through the BFA Core

Continued investigation and introduction to improvisational and compositional skills in preparation for the creative processes of dancing, dance-making and performance. Open only to dance majors.

DANC 201 Colloquium: History of Performance and Cultural Context

Required in the third semester through the BFA Core

Study of the historical and cultural context of selected dance techniques. Guest lectures and student presentations will inform class discussions. Open only to dance majors.

DANC 210 Dance Technique II

Required in the third and fourth semesters through the BFA Core

Intermediate technique studies in a studio setting. Concentration on classical ballet, hip hop and its derivatives, partnering and contemporary techniques essential to the dancers’ development.  Open only to dance majors.

DANC 212g Dance in Popular Culture

Required in the third semester through the BFA Core

Examination of the role of dance in popular culture in a studio setting. Practical studies in styles and their evolution in recreational and professional settings.

DANC 218 Introduction to Dance for the Camera: New Media and Editing

Required in fourth semester through the BFA Core

Effective navigation and utilization of ubiquitous, portable digital technologies in film to create an individualized archive and portfolio of their choreographic projects and performances.

DANC 220 Repertory and Performance II

Required in the third and fourth semesters through the BFA Core

Continued studies and guided practice of choreographic repertory. Investigation of choreographic vocabulary, intention, stylistic approaches, and performance technique for group work.

DANC 230 Improvisation and Composition III: Intermediate

Required in third semester through the BFA Core

Expansion of improvisation and composition skills for the creative processes of dancing, dance-making and performance.

DANC 231 Improvisation and Composition IV: Intermediate

Required in the fourth semester through the BFA Core

Further development of improvisation and composition skills for the creative processes of dancing, dance-making and performance.

DANC 285L Elements of Dance Production

Concentration Elective

Theoretical aspects of creativity, choreography, accompaniment, dance notation, and production; application in individual and group composition.

DANC 301 Colloquium: The Role of the Dance Artist in Society

Required in the fifth semester through the BFA Core

Examination of the role of the artist in society. Development of an individual understanding and guiding philosophy for professional development in the dance field.

DANC 302g Hip Hop Don’t Stop: Exploring Black Vernacular Dance

Concentration Elective

Introduction to the history and practice of Urban Folk Dance including hip hop, freestyle, street dance and the relevant social dances of the 20th century.

DANC 310 Dance Technique III

Required in the fifth and sixth semesters through the BFA Core

Advanced technique studies in a studio setting. Concentration on classical ballet, hip hop and its derivatives, partnering and contemporary techniques essential to the dancers’ development.

DANC 312g African American Dance

Concentration Elective

Exploration of the discursive foundations, political motivations, and aesthetic strategies of dance writers and artists whose works have enabled the category of “black dance.”

DANC 320 Repertory and Performance III

Required in the fifth and sixth semesters through the BFA Core

Study and guided practice of new works and developing roles. Emphasis on the dancer as collaborator in the creative process.

DANC 330 Improvisation and Composition V: Advanced

Concentration Elective

Students will learn a series of intermediate improvisational and compositional systems for generating and modifying movement.

DANC 331 Improvisation and Composition VI: Advanced

Concentration Elective

Further development in a series of advanced improvisational and compositional systems for generating and modifying movement. Prerequisite: DANC 330; recommended preparation: Extensive Ballet Training. Open only to dance majors.

DANC 342g International and Historical Perspectives in Dance

Required in the fifth semester through the BFA Core.

Exploration of dance as an art form in its artistic, political, and socio-cultural climate. Studies of the continuum of dance within its historical context.

DANC 345 Artist in Residence

Concentration Elective

Investigation and development of choreographic methods and practices through observation and active participation with the guest artist.

DANC 347 Artist Collaborative

Concentration Elective

Development of an artistic work of two or more media, working with colleagues and or faculty in allied disciplines.

DANC 355 Solo/Partnering and Performance

Concentration Elective

Intermediate and advanced partnering techniques in classical and contemporary repertory. Solo work and acting techniques studied, developing character and style through gesture and movement.

DANC 362 Pilates Mat Training

Concentration Elective

Mat exercises designed to promote healthy movement practices, develop strength, balance, flexibility and coordination.

DANC 363g Dancing on the Screen

Concentration Elective

The study of dance in movies, television, internet, mobile devices and new media. Examining dance on screen, influenced by storytelling, camera technology and editing.

DANC 420 Repertory and Performance IV

Concentration Elective

Study and guided practice of significant roles in new and existing choreography. Emphasis on refinement of partnering, solo and group performance technique.

DANC 430 Improvisation and Composition VII: Upper Level

Concentration Elective

Delving into complex strategies for creating and analyzing choreographic composition, as well as processing and composing embodied information in real-time at the upper level.

DANC 431 Improvisation and Composition VIII: Upper Level

Concentration Elective

Continued studies of complex strategies for creating and analyzing choreographic composition, as well as processing and composing embodied information in real-time at an upper level.

DANC 432 Creativity, Culture, Commerce and Community

Concentration Elective

Exploration of artistic entrepreneurial mechanisms to initiate innovative endeavors in the professional dance world which are relevant to today’s culture, communities, customs, and business landscape.

DANC 442 International and Historical Perspectives on Dance II

Concentration Elective

Exploration of dance as an art form in its artistic, political, and socio-cultural climate. Studies of the continuum of dance within its historical context.

DANC 452 Dancing with Words

Concentration Elective

Development of descriptive and analytical skills for dance writing (journalism, education, scholarship, audience development, marketing) and refinement of social-media expertise to connect with relevant audiences.

DANC 470 Dance Leadership

Required in the sixth semester through the BFA Core

Preparation for leadership in the dance world including structuring companies, marketing choreography, obtaining financing as a dance-maker, collaborating dance initiatives, and leading in dance education.

DANC 480 Advanced Performance Studies: Senior Seminar

Required in the seventh semester through the BFA Core

Seminar and studio course in preparation of the senior project to be presented in spring semester, in performance, choreography, scholarship or entrepreneurship.

DANC 485 Advanced Performance Studies: Senior Project

Required in the eighth semester through the BFA Core

Development and presentation of senior project in performance, choreography, media, music, scholarship or entrepreneurial enterprise. Senior projects presented to faculty panel in open performance venue.

DANC 490x Directed Research

Concentration Elective

Individual research and readings. Open only to juniors and seniors.

DANC 495 Dance Internship

Concentration Elective

Practical experience linked with information and learned skills. Providing supervised field application of dance theories and practices within a part-time employment context in dance. Open only to juniors and seniors.

DANC 499 Special Topics

Concentration Elective

Selected topics of current interest.


Courses in Other Schools

All USC Kaufman’s BFA students are able to use about half of their concentration elective units within the USC School of Dramatic Arts, USC Thornton School of Music, and USC School of Cinematic Arts in order to build additional skills. A small sampling of possibilities includes…

Thornton School of Music
  • MUCO 140 Introduction to Music for Dancers (required through BFA Core)
  • MPPM 240 Drumming Proficiency for the Popular Musician
  • MPKS 150a Beginning Piano
  • MPVA 153 Individual Voice Instruction
  • MUCO 137 Introduction to Music Composition
  • MUIN 272 Basics of the Music Industry
  • MUSC 400m The Broadway Musical
  • MUSC 420m Hip Hop Music and Culture
  • MUSC 460 Film Music: History and Function from 1930 to Present
School of Cinematic Arts
  • CNTV 367 The Music Video
  • CTAN 330 Animation Fundamentals
  • CTAN 495 Visual Music
  • CTPR 327 Motion Picture Cinematography
  • CTPR 335 Motion Picture Editing
  • CTPR 371 Directing for Television
  • CTPR 454 Acting for Film and Television
  • CTWR 105 Nonverbal Thinking: Visual and Aural
  • IML 328 Sonic Media Art
  • IML 420m New Media for Social Change
School of Dramatic Arts
  • THTR 101 Introduction to Acting
  • THTR 222 Stage Make-up
  • THTR 236 Stage Sound
  • THTR 330 Scene Design I
  • THTR 331 Costume Design I
  • THTR 332 Lighting Design I
  • THTR 343 Musical Theatre Audition
  • THTR 453 Taking it out on the Road and Beyond
  • THTR 467 Going Viral: Performance for New Media

Students pursuing the Design Your Own concentration, of course, are able to choose from across the entire university.