SFUAD Launches New Career-Driven Dance Curriculum

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Lauren Eichmann

Santa Fe, N.M.—July 8, 2013— Santa Fe University of Art and Design (SFUAD) announced its new curriculum for the BFA in Theatre with a specialization in Dance, which trains dancers to have a versatile approach to the profession and emphasizes both concert and commercial dance training.

“Our new specialization in dance curriculum trains students to be highly skilled performers who can excel in their careers while doing what they love for a living,” said Shannon Elliott, director of the SFUAD Dance program and assistant chair of the Performing Arts Department. “Our program emphasizes training and preparation for the concert dance world as well as commercial and entertainment-based work. It attracts students who are drawn to a smaller campus community and aren’t necessarily interested in a big-city experience during college.”

SFUAD dancers are immersed in a collaborative arts school environment—studying alongside visual artists, filmmakers, musicians and writers—while receiving broad and diverse training in modern dance, ballet, jazz, musical theatre dance, tap and hip hop, plus special studies courses such as African, flamenco and ballroom dance styles. Dancers also train in voice and acting to increase their versatility as performers. In addition to this performance-based curriculum, students take courses in dance history and canon, improvisation and choreography, so they have a broad understanding of their art form.

Dance students are directly mentored by professors in small class settings, and they also learn important career skills—such as such as current auditioning techniques, adaptability, collaboration, and professional behavior—from visiting industry teacher-choreographers. Faculty members in the Performing Arts Department have backgrounds in dance, acting, voice and technical theatre, with impressive professional credits that include work with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Boston Ballet, Cirque Du Soleil, River North Chicago Dance Company and Actors Theatre of Louisville. Faculty members also have national opera and musical theatre credits and have worked extensively in the TV and film industries and Broadway productions.

Off campus, students are surrounded by the creative and culturally rich community of Santa Fe. Dance majors are members of the Garson Dance Company, which performs formal dance concerts and other events both on and off campus.

“The commercial focus of the program emphasizes skills that a graduate needs to land a job,” Elliott said, adding that graduates can seek careers in television and film, musical theatre work, dance companies, the music industry and resort entertainment, among other professions.

For more information about the Dance program, visit this link.

About SFUAD’s Performing Arts Department

The Performing Arts Department at Santa Fe University of Art and Design introduces students to all facets of stage production, giving them the opportunity to perform, design and build sets, develop and produce costumes, devise and execute lighting schemes, and create and stage sound effects. Because of this strong foundation, SFUAD theatre graduates are known and respected around the country for their knowledge and professionalism. Each year, the department produces three plays, one musical and two dance concerts in the Greer Garson Theatre, a proscenium-style venue dedicated to the late actress, who is remembered for her philanthropy and distinguished career on the stage and screen.

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