The BFA Core provides students with a strong foundation in technique, performance and composition (approx. 25-40 hours per week), combined with courses in history, theory, health, music, digital media and dance management. Annual colloquiums further develop critical thinking and speaking skills.
The BFA Core includes 65 of the 132 units required for the degree. Courses are listed below. Official course descriptions are available in the USC Catalogue.
Lower Division Requirements
DANC 110 Dance Technique I (fall and spring)
Freshman year dance technique includes ballet each morning, followed by hip-hop and contemporary twice a week and partnering on Fridays.
DANC 120 Repertory and Performance I (fall and spring)
Freshmen are provided the opportunity to learn and perform pieces from renowned choreographers such as George Balanchine, William Forsythe, Paul Taylor and Jiří Kylián—in addition to new and masterworks by faculty, Artists in Residence and guest choreographers. Also, in their first year, freshmen typically work on a singular piece as a class.
DANC 130ab Improvisation and Composition I/II (fall and spring)
Freshmen will explore various methods of improvisation and composition, and ultimately be introduced to William Forsythe’s signature Improvisation Technologies as a way to generate material. Freshmen will show their choreography in an informal setting during the second semester.
DANC 101 Colloquium: What Is the Medium of Dance Today? (fall)
Freshmen engage in this discussion-based course to explore topics relevant to the current and evolving field of dance. During their residencies at USC Kaufman, guest artists may also join students for specific discussions.
DANC 107 World Perspective on Dance Performance (fall)
Through lecture and participant-driven interaction, freshmen will practice and learn distinguishing aesthetics of international dance styles.
DANC 103 Conditioning for Dancers (fall)
This course introduces principles of nutrition, cross-training and the use of Somatic techniques as methods of promoting holistic physical health for dancers. Students will practice physical conditioning and self-reflection in every class meeting.
DANC 105 Dance Science: Analysis of Dance Movement (spring)
In a broad overview of the principles of the physiology of exercise, functional anatomy, bio-mechanics and kinesiology, freshmen learn how to analyze movement and apply this knowledge to their dance studies.
MUCO140 Music for Dancers (spring)
Through an introduction to the basics of music theory and structure by a USC Thornton faculty member, freshmen gain a greater understanding of musicality.
DANC 210 Dance Technique II (fall and spring)
Sophomore year technique includes ballet each day, followed by hip-hop and contemporary twice a week and partnering on Fridays. Jazz replaces contemporary in the second semester.
DANC 220 Repertory and Performance II (fall and spring)
Sophomores engage in continued study of various repertory pieces from Kaufman’s faculty, Artists in Residence and guest choreographers.
DANC 230ab Improvisation and Composition III/IV (fall and spring)
Sophomores continue to cultivate an understanding and practice of William Forsythe’s Improvisation Technologies, and begin to hone in on their ability to choreograph. In the second semester, they will collaborate with students at the USC Thornton School of Music for the Choreographers and Composers performance.
DANC 212g Dance in Popular Culture (fall)
In their second year, students examine the role and presence of dance in popular culture. This course takes place in a classroom setting, and fulfills both a BFA Core and GE-A requirement.
DANC 201 Colloquium: History of Performance and Cultural Context (fall)
Sophomores continue their study of dance’s historical and cultural significance in this discussion-based course, focused on bridging the gaps between their technical and academic dance studies. During their residencies at USC Kaufman, guest artists may also join students for specific discussions.
DANC 218 Introduction to Dance for the Camera: New Media and Editing (spring)
In this course, sophomores will learn how to feel comfortable both in front of and behind the camera, through an in-depth study of the technological needs of the modern-day hybrid artist. They will use technology to create their own content for professional use, including a professional website, a dance reel and high-quality recordings of personal choreographic and/or performance work.
Upper Division Requirements
DANC 320L Repertory and Performance III and DANC 350 Advanced Composition are offered as concentration electives each semester and are required for certain concentrations.
DANC 310 Dance Technique III (fall and spring)
Junior year technique includes ballet, hip-hop and contemporary, but allows for greater flexibility. Students may choose between three or five days of ballet per week, and options such as partnering, advanced hip-hop, advanced jazz, mat pilates, etc.
DANC 301 Colloquium: The Role of the Artist in Society (fall)
Through discussion, juniors will examine how artists both influence and are products of social and cultural contexts, and will begin to further develop their own philosophy as artists. During their residencies at USC Kaufman, guest artists may also join students for discussions.
DANC 342g International and Historical Perspectives in Dance (fall)
Dancers explore dance’s artistic, political and socio-cultural contexts in a classroom setting. This course fulfills BFA Core requirements and both GE-B and GE-H requirements.
DANC 470 Dance Leadership: Dance Management and Entrepreneurship (spring)
Juniors examine leadership in the dance world through concepts of capacity building, strategic planning and infrastructure to articulate a mission statement, understand models of entity structure, contracts, marketing, financial responsibilities, governance, community engagement, grants and funding.
DANC 410 Dance Technique IV, DANC 420L Repertory and Performance IV and DANC 350 Advanced Composition are offered as concentration electives each semester and are required for certain concentrations.
DANC 480 Advanced Performance Studies: Senior Seminar (fall)
Seniors participate in a seminar lead by Vice Dean and Artistic Director Jodie Gates to prepare for their senior projects, which are presented in the spring semester. The seminar also weaves in career services.
DANC 485 Advanced Performance Studies: Senior Project (spring)
In their last semester, seniors will focus on the development and presentation of their senior projects within the performance, choreographic, media-based, scholarly or entrepreneurial enterprises. All senior projects must combine dance with two other mediums.