Many dance artists who decide to pursue their MFA have already established professional careers, which can often be difficult to step away from to pursue further studies. Many universities have begun to recognize this, and offer low residency formats that are able to simultaneously accommodate academic and artistic studies, and professional dance careers. Learn about some of these low residency options below!
Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia, has perhaps the most robust low residency offerings in the country. In addition to offering a more traditional year residency track, Hollins’ 60-credit MFA program is also offered as a low residency two-summer or three-summer track. In addition to five-week summer residencies on campus, the program features three weeks of international study and immersion in Bulgaria. The three-summer track serves emerging artists, teachers and dance professionals, while the two-summer track is targeted at mid-career artists with at least 10 years of experience. To learn more about Hollins’ MFA program, visit www.hollins.edu/academics/graduate-degrees/dance-mfa.
University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, offers an internationally situated Dance MFA program with low residency, Philadelphia residency and flex tracks. The Philadelphia residency track is designed for young artists with three to five years of experience beyond an undergraduate degree in dance, while the low residency structure is designed for mid-career artists who hold eight to 10 years or more of experience as creative practitioners in their field. On a case-by-case basis, a Flex Structure is offered for both Philadelphia and low residency candidates, which extends the duration of study from 15 to 22 months. Summer terms for all curriculums take place in various cities, including Paris and Montpellier, France, and students develop practices, pedagogies and research models that value experimentation and continuously question the role of dance in today’s society. To learn more, visit www.uarts.edu/academics/graduate/mfa-dance.
Montclair State University in Montclair, New Jersey, has a new low residency Dance MFA designed for mid-career dance artists with at least five years in the dance field after their undergraduate degree. Much work for the 60-credit program is done online, and is complemented with four-week on-site summer residencies. Online coursework relies on reading, writing and reflection, and students are expected to be active in their home communities while off campus. Summer in-person sessions include opportunities to move, create, discuss, research, document and connect with both peers and faculty. For more information, visit www.montclair.edu/theatre-and-dance/academic-programs/graduate/mfa-in-dance.
Peck School of the Arts at the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, offers a low residency Dance MFA for professional working performers, choreographers and educators that balances on-campus and distance learning in the fall and spring semesters with intensive summer graduate course offerings. The program consists of 60 credits with an emphasis on contemporary choreography and performance, and a focus on individual creative research based on the reciprocity between critical dance studies and choreographic research. Through faculty mentorship and rigorous personal investigations, students integrate work into a final thesis project. Visit uwm.edu/arts/dance/graduate to learn more.
Jacksonville University in Jacksonville, Florida, offers an MFA in Choreography accredited by the National Association of Schools of Dance. This two-year, low residency, terminal degree program emphasizes choreography and the creative process of generating new works that are grounded in both classical and contemporary dance genres. The degree, which entails a five-week summer intensive term, as well as faculty mentorship and a one-week residency for pedagogy at the candidate’s location of choice, is geared toward artists in transition, and applicants are expected to have a bachelor’s degree in dance as well as professional experience in the field before applying. Students have the opportunity to participate in an optional in-person experience in San Francisco at Safehouse Art Center. To learn more about the program, visit www.ju.edu/dance/graduate/index.php.
St. Mary’s College of California in Moraga, California, supports highly motivated professionals seeking to sustain their portfolio as they develop their professional careers with a low residency 60-credit Dance MFA program that is concentrated in January (two weeks) and June (four weeks) intensive periods. The fall and spring terms are composed of synchronous online courses. The program offers some merit-based, partial tuition scholarships. In addition to offering two areas of emphasis – –Creative Practice and Design & Production – –the program offers five certificates: Choreography, Somatic Movement Studies & Dance Pedagogy, Lighting Design for Dance, Dance Management, and Design for Dance. To learn more, visit www.stmarys-ca.edu/mfa-in-dance.
Wilson College in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, offers a Master of Fine Arts in Choreography, as well as one in Interdisciplinary Arts. It is a two-year 60-credit hour terminal degree designed for professional artists. Each summer residency period is four weeks long, and consists of individual studio time with faculty mentoring and critique, as well as seminars addressing major artistic concerns with an interdisciplinary cohort. During non-residency periods, students work with mentors, complete online coursework and share critical responses with their peers. The program culminates in a thesis project and oral defence. For more information, visit www.wilson.edu/master-fine-arts.
Goddard College in Plainfield, Vermont, offers a 60-credit low residency Interdisciplinary MFA with concentrations in Performance Creation, and Indigenous & Decolonial Art. Each semester begins with an intensive eight-day residency in a retreat-like setting focused on developing an academic plan, expanding perspectives, and learning within a community of artists at Goddard’s historic main campus in Vermont or at the Port Townsend, Washington campus. Students pursue an individualized course of study working one-on-one with faculty advisors and taking part in collaborative and group learning during the 15-week semesters. To learn more about Goddard’s MFA, head to www.goddard.edu/academics/master-of-fine-arts-in-interdisciplinary-arts.
By Charly Santagado of Dance Informa.