Admissions Frequently Asked: Repertory & Performance

September 5, 2018

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BFA students perform a new work by Sonya Tayeh at USC Kaufman | Photo by Carolyn DiLoreto

Let’s be honest: Performance opportunities are a huge factor when deciding which dance program to attend. In fact, the number one question I get asked from prospective students is, “How many performance opportunities are there at USC?” My response: “A ton.” This includes several mid-semester and end-of-semester performances, and probably eight to ten others—all just for our BFAs. USC Kaufman students learn and perform a wide variety of repertoire from some of the most profound artists in dance, as well as to show their own works.

Core repertory includes master works by Paul Taylor, George Balanchine and Jiří Kylián, and faculty member William Forsythe. Both core faculty and Artists in Residence staging these works worked directly with these acclaimed artists. They are passing down what they learned to our students. It’s cool to think that our students are only once removed from some of the biggest legends in dance. And, of course, they get to learn from and play with Mr. Forsythe directly.

They’ve also danced works by Christopher Scott and Jessica Lee Keller, YNOT and Raphael Xavier, as well as two works by Sonya Tayeh. Thanks to our partnerships with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and Complexions Contemporary Ballet, our students have performed Lickety-Split by Alejandro Cerrudo and several pieces by Dwight Rhoden, respectively.

And let’s not forget the choreography of our own faculty, including Jodie Gates, Jennifer Lott (Caught in the Chamber), d. Sabela grimes, Moncell Durden and Artist in Residence Victor Quijada.

Over the past three years, our students have had some truly unique opportunities as well. They have shared the stage with the Martha Graham Dance Company, collaborated with Bill T. Jones on a work they performed 24 hours later and danced for last year’s USC Village Opening and USC’s Homecoming half-time show (in front of about 70,000 people!). They’ve also performed off campus in Tokyo and Mexico.

This year’s repertory promises to be just as exciting. We will bring back some of the works students have already performed, including Monger by Barak Marshall and Busk by Aszure Barton. Both choreographers joined us as Artists in Residence this year. Look for works by Matthew Neenan and Crystal Pite, and others… (Sorry, but I have to keep some things a secret.)

And then there are the opportunities for students to showcase their work, including mid-semester and end-of-semester. One of our signature spring shows is sophomore year’s Choreographers and Composers, which is a collaboration with students from the USC Thornton School of Music. We’re also excited to launch a new signature “performance” focused on dance on film. Stay tuned for more details…


By Anne Aubert-Santelli