About Us

The Department of Dance is distinguished as one of the oldest of the 30-plus MFA dance programs in institutions of higher education. Founded in 1975, it continues to offer both graduate and undergraduate degrees in a small conservatory-like environment with its distinguished faculty who guide students through the unparalleled four semester choreography sequence, professional-level technical training, and notably, a unique music training program allied with the Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM). Through our internationally recognized dance wellness program and several performing and research opportunities, students are challenged and prepared for an exploration of unchartered territory as intellectual and aesthetic voyagers and leaders. Undergraduate students can major in multiple disciplines and graduate students can focus on their unique interests in a supported environment at this world-class university.

Housed in Mather Dance Center, the department reaches beyond the university community to embrace the greater Cleveland dance community while memberships in state, national and international organizations give it a global profile. Partnering with various institutions such as DanceCleveland, the Cleveland Institute of Art and CIM, faculty and students enjoy the benefits of various collaborative projects.

As a founding member of the National Dance Association, the department has roots to the heritage of 20th century Modern Dance pioneers whose risk taking gave birth to a new art form. Yet, it has charged into the 21st century as a leader with new programs such as dance and technology, an internationally recognized dance wellness program, and the engagement of various guest artists along with its distinguished faculty all of which promotes contemporary artistic and intellectual inquiry to support the ever changing landscape of dance.


The mission of the Department of Dance in the College of Arts and Sciences at Case Western Reserve University is to provide the highest caliber of education and dance training, and opportunities for creative and scholarly research for those pursuing the MFA or MA in Contemporary Dance and undergraduates pursuing a range of degrees, often with two majors or a minor in dance.

Committed to being an international leader in the burgeoning fields of Dance Medicine and Science as well as Dance/Technology and celebrating dance from both a global and historical perspective, we strive to contribute to the advancement of dance as a vital and necessary art form. In an environment that supports dancer health, the promotion of excellence in technical training, the advancement of critical thinking, the encouragement of exploration into new territories, the mastery of craft with breadth of vision, and the development of mature and contemporary aesthetics are at the heart of this small program based in a research institute.

Mission Statement

  • To provide professional-level technical training to graduate students in a conservatory like setting to assure preparedness for entry into the professional and/or academic arenas of dance.
  • To provide professional-level technical training to undergraduate students that provides a foundation for personal expression and the development of the creative voice.
  • To provide a comprehensive examination of craft elements related to the art of choreography along with opportunities to explore and develop working relationships with creative resources to promote mature, sophisticated contemporary, artistic explorations with clear evidence of thoughtful and intellectual comprehension.
  • To provide additional programs and areas of course work and exposure such as Dancer Wellness and Dance and Technology.
  • To foster critical thinking and analytical exchange.
  • To ensure a positive, nurturing environment for ongoing creative and intellectual development.
  • To provide students and audiences with a diversity of artistic experiences.
  • To contribute to the cultural vitality of the university community as well as the local, national and international artistic communities.


The focus of the Department of Dance, which is composed of the Graduate Dance Training Program and an undergraduate BA degree program, has always been on Contemporary Dance. Areas of emphasis in the MFA and MA degree programs include Choreography, Performance and Pedagogy with an emerging emphasis in Dancer Wellness, Medicine, and Science. The undergraduate students are immersed in a strong liberal arts education, the core of which is the unique Seminar Approach to General Education and Scholarship (SAGES).

Dance at Case Western Reserve has always facilitated an intense interaction between students and faculty ensuring quality education and personal attention while also providing an environment for healthy and rigorous physical training, varied performance opportunities and creative investigation in the choreographic process.


  • To provide performance opportunities in works by noted choreographers, faculty, and peers to broaden and intensify the repertory and transformative performing experience for undergraduates and graduates and community participants.
  • To increase laboratory teaching experiences for the graduate student by affording undergraduate teaching opportunities as well as choreographing and overseeing the undergraduate performance ensemble.
  • To provide quality physical training in dance by incorporating vigorous and thoughtful cross training based on quantifiable, professional evaluations.
  • To strengthen and maintain existing alliances with area, regional, and state dance organizations and arts organizations and seek alliances where cosponsoring may serve broader audiences.
  • To broaden, strengthen, and expand working relationships with other non-local institutions and to establish new associations.
  • To support undergraduate exposure to a wider range of a dance forms through student groups where possible.
  • Ensure heightened perceptivity of aesthetic and kinesiological principles.
  • To maintain ongoing review of curriculum as it relates to the development of dance in the 21st century.
  • To carry forth, with continual reflection upon and acknowledgement of the excellence of the program, and thus promote both the department, college and university on national and international level.


Embracing a philosophy of education that is committed to the development of the total individual, emphasis is placed on the technical, aesthetic, professional and academic training of every student with keen guidance that allows the individual to nurture their creative spirit and sharpen their cognitive and analytical skills. The curriculum which includes a spectrum of course offerings provides the foundation for stimulating artistic and academic inquiry. Faculty, both full and part time are encouraged to structure their courses with a trans-/inter- disciplinary approach when possible, especially in the undergraduate curriculum, to promote a sensibility that the study of dance as an art form is most relevant when coupled with an understanding of literature, politics, art, sociology, and other areas of the arts and humanities.