Anne’s Admission Advice: Perfecting your dance resume

September 14, 2022

Rachel Harris dancing in front of the Glorya Kaufman International Dance Center

Rachel Harris (BFA '20) | Photo by Mary Mallaney

Fitting your many years of dance experience onto a single page can seem like a daunting task. In fact, I often get asked if the dance resume can be longer than one page. You can probably guess my answer.

So, why can’t your resume be more than one page? The reason is that, at USC Kaufman, you will define and refine your artistic identity, and we want you to start thinking about how to present yourself now.

It would be impossible to include all of your dance experience on one page, even if the words were in size two font and the page had no margins. Know that what we are most interested in are the highlights of your dance career up to this point—those things that have most impacted you.

Resume template and specifications

It’s critical that you follow our resume template. We devised this format to ensure that our faculty are able to look at all the information they need in a way that’s consistent across all applicants. Plus, it takes the guesswork out of things for you!

While you might be tempted to showcase your InDesign skills, we ask that you keep it simple. There are a few other specifics to remember:

  • Use a standard font.
  • Margins should be no smaller than 0.5”.
  • Only submit text (no photos please).
  • Upload the document on SlideRoom as a PDF (no Word or Pages please).

Resume requirements

What does the faculty committee want to see on your resume? As listed on the template, you should include:

  1. Your contact information, including your Common App ID number, at the top.
  2. A one- to two-sentence Statement of Objectives, which provides us with a quick snapshot of your goals.
  3. Your academic profile, including your GPA and test scores (if you are submitting test scores). This tells us a little bit about your academic preparation given that we don’t see your Common Application.
  4. Your dance training. Here’s where you’ll probably have to make the biggest cuts. Feel free to condense information in a way that makes sense. For example, you might have trained in Contemporary for seven years under seven different teachers; you might consider listing Contemporary for seven years with your most recent two instructors. You should also feel free to add any forms in which you’re self-taught and master classes that have had an impact on you.
  5. Programs and workshops, including intensives.
  6. Don’t forget to include any relevant roles under performance experience. In addition, list any performances on screen, including music videos.
  7. Have you taken part in any hip-hop culture battles? If so, let us know!
  8. Choreographic experience, if you have any.
  9. Awards and scholarships – or any other important dance distinctions.
  10. Finally, other activities you love – because we are interested in getting to know you as more than just a dancer. You can list your club involvement, leadership positions, hobbies, and anything else you want the faculty committee to know about you. For example, mine might include, “building dollhouse miniatures” or “collecting clip on earrings”.

If there are any sections that don’t make sense for you—for example, if you’re never choreographed or participated in a hip-hop culture battle—feel free to leave the whole thing off your resume.

What we don’t care about are your height, weight, eye color, age, etc. This is The New Movement after all!

Most importantly, don’t use Comic Sans, as I have a love/mostly hate relationship with the font.

Want more admission advice? Watch this video about the USC Kaufman Portfolio and visit our Admission Advice playlist on YouTube.

By Anne Aubert-Santelli, Associate Dean of Academic and Student Life