Concentrations

In the junior and senior years, students explore one of four concentrations: Dance Performance, Choreography for Stage & Screen, Dance & Music or Design Your Own. Faculty mentors and academic advisors help them select elective courses that support their artistic and professional goals. Concentrations culminate in a senior project.

Concentration electives include 23 of the 132 units required for the degree. A sampling of electives for each concentration is provided below. For a full list of courses,  visit the USC Catalogue.


Choreography for Stage & Screen

The Choreography for Stage & Screen concentration is designed to guide students who are interested in the field of dance for the stage, motion pictures, television, digital media and animation. Students will also be mentored in experimental dance media, both as individual performers and in collaboration with other visual and performing artists.

This concentration requires four semesters of Advanced Composition. The fourth year of Dance Technique and additional semesters of Repertory & Performance are recommended. Students in this concentration may take some concentration electives in the School of Cinematic Arts, Thornton School of Music and School of Dramatic Arts. A sampling of additional concentration electives might include:

  • CTPR 327 Motion Picture Camera
  • DANC 150L Dance and New Media: The Art of Video Projection
  • DANC 175 Choreography for the Screen
  • DANC 187 Bollywood Dance
  • DANC 191 Gaga: Dancers
  • DANC 285L Elements of Dance Production
  • DANC 345 Artist in Residence
  • DANC 355 Performance Lab: Forsythe Repertory
  • DANC 370 Dance in Los Angeles
  • DANC 462g Dancing on the Screen
  • THTR 332 Lighting Design I

Dance Performance

The Dance Performance concentration is designed for students who are interested in becoming professional dancers or performers in other mediums. Students will work with artists and scholars in the field, learning essential tools and skills needed for a successful career in a variety of entertainment positions

This concentration requires two semesters of Dance Technique IV and the last four semesters of Repertory & Performance. Additional semesters of Advanced Composition are encouraged. Students in this concentration may take some concentration electives in the School of Cinematic Arts, Thornton School of Music, and School of Dramatic Arts. A sampling of additional concentration electives might include:

  • CTPR 454 Acting for Film and Television
  • DANC 171 Commercial Dance: Professional Dance Preparation
  • DANC 180 African Dance
  • DANC 355 Solo/Partnering and Performance: Classical Variations and Duets
  • DANC 362 Pilates Mat Training
  • DANC 399 Maymester: Dance Capitals of the World (Berlin)
  • DANC 452 Dancing with Words
  • DANC 495 Dance Internship
  • MPVA 153 Individual Vocal Arts Instruction

Dance & Music

The Dance & Music concentration provides students with a unique perspective on dance by combining dance training with substantial study in music. Courses such as songwriting and music history, as well as instrumental and vocal lessons, will equip students interested in choreography or dance performance with the knowledge to explore careers in the music and larger entertainment industries.

This concentration requires additional semesters of Dance Technique, Repertory & Performance and Advanced Composition. Students in this concentration may take some concentration electives in the School of Cinematic Arts, Thornton School of Music and School of Dramatic Arts. A sampling of additional concentration electives might include:

  • ARTL Music and Dance in Paris Salon Culture (Maymester)
  • DANC 186 Afro Cuban Dance
  • DANC 189 Tap Dance
  • DANC 333gw Origins of Jazz Dance
  • DANC 347 Artist Collaborative
  • DANC 432 Creativity, Culture, Commerce and Community
  • DANC 499 Special Topics: Hip-Hop Explorations
  • MPPM 240 Drumming Proficiency for the Popular Musician
  • MTEC 246 Introduction to Audio Recording and Editing
  • MUSC 400m The Broadway Musical

Design Your Own

The Design Your Own concentration allows students to pursue a truly custom program of study by combining dance electives with hand-picked courses from across the university. This is the only concentration for which students must formally apply. The application requires students to demonstrate how their proposed concentration is different from a major and minor combination and to provide preliminary ideas about how their senior project brings together their hand-picked courses with their dance studies.

This concentration requires additional semesters of Dance Technique, Repertory & Performance and Advanced Composition. Students who choose to design their own concentration may take relevant classes in any of the USC schools.

Examples of past DYOs include combining computer science and coding to aid in dance composition, researching how dance can act within the social justice field, examining the mind-body connection and applying occupational therapy principles to the teaching of dance.