Best Dance Colleges in the U.S.

Attending the best dance colleges allows you to explore various unique, creative careers. It’s a well-rounded degree option with a combination of creative expression and intellectual learning. If you’re interested in acquiring a dance major, we’ve found five of the top schools across the U.S. to consider.

Each of these schools meets the following criteria:

  • An average annual cost of no more than $12,000
  • A median starting salary of no lower than $70,000
  • Accredited programs by recognized bodies or government institutions

Note that they’re not ranked from the best to worst schools but from the lowest average annual cost to the highest.

5 Best Dance Colleges

1. Fresno City College

2 to 4 Year; Fresno, CA

Average Annual Cost: $2,584

Fresno City College has a phenomenal dance program that incorporates everything from performing arts to intellectual study. In this program, you’ll be able to experience the vibrancy, fun, and colorful nature of dance.

The program is comprised of an assortment of valuable courses, including:

  • Intermediate Jazz Technique
  • Beginning Tap Dance
  • Intro to Lighting Design
  • Beginning Acting
  • Beginning Modern Dance Composition
  • Beginning Ballet

As you can tell, along with their dance courses, you’ll also try your hands at other areas of performing arts. Students will explore the fundamental tenets of specialized dance techniques like Mexican folk dancing. Additionally, you’ll get experience with theatre, lighting, and other aspects of preparing the stage for performances.

Students at Fresno City College have multiple opportunities outside of their studies to experience a well-rounded education. There are many resources, such as a health and wellness center and a career and employment center. Students will feel like they’re a part of something greater with a good community environment.

2. Santa Monica College

4 Year; Santa Monica, CA

Average Annual Cost: $4,384

Santa Monica College is one of the more popular dance colleges to choose from.

During your studies, you’ll explore two fundamental areas of dance: technique and theory. Your program will also have independent studies and travel study tours to give you a worldwide dance experience.

With six different modern dance and ballet levels, there’s a robust selection of course offerings to consider. Students can choose from commercial dance, world dance, choreography, performance, and dance history.

Also, you’ll have a vast collection of electives to add to your studies to help further your knowledge in other areas.

Some of the most notable courses you’ll be able to choose from include:

  • Ballet
  • Modern Dance
  • World Dance
  • Commercial Dance
  • Fundamentals of Dance Technique
  • Dance in American Culture
  • 20th and 21st Century Dance History
  • Fundamentals of Choreography
  • Music for Dance

Alongside learning the theory and technique behind dancing, students will also explore teacher training and performance. If you intend to pursue a career as a performing artist, the performance courses are essential.

A few examples of course offerings within these two specialties include:

  • World Dance Performance
  • World Dance Staging Techniques
  • The Teaching of Dance for Children
  • Principles and Practices of Teaching Young Children
  • Child Growth and Development

3. Cypress College

4 Year; Cypress, CA

Average Annual Cost: $6,152

Cypress College’s dance program explores the profound aspects of the art using a nouveau approach to learning. Students will get the support they need and acquire a fundamental education to further their studies.

Graduates often perform in professional venues, teach and choreograph dances, and more. There’s no doubt that while at Cypress College, you’ll gain essential knowledge in various areas of performing arts.

Students in the dance program will be exposed to the following courses:

  • Middle Eastern Dance
  • Dance Ensemble
  • Dance Teaching
  • Dance Improvisation
  • Adaptive Dance
  • Costume Design for Dance
  • Dance in the U.S.
  • Jazz
  • Ballroom

There are two primary degrees you can earn when enrolled at Cypress College. Students can opt to work towards a Dance Teaching Certificate or an Associate in Arts Degree in Dance. Both options can help you further your career, depending on your specialty.

4. Fullerton College

2 to 4 Year; Fullerton, CA

Average Annual Cost: $7,721

Taking dance courses at Fullerton College is slightly different than at other colleges. Instead of being a part of a performing arts department, this course is wrapped in physical education.

As such, students will be able to obtain a Dance Associate in Arts Degree upon graduation.

The dance program at this school is a fantastic opportunity for those with a passion for performing arts. Your courses will explore dance techniques, performance, choreography, dance production, and more. You’ll also get fundamental collaborative and management skills with your dance training.

Students will be required to obtain between 28 and 30 units to qualify for their degree. Fortunately, there is a vast collection of fantastic courses to choose from, including:

  • Conditioning for Dance
  • Ballet
  • Advanced Beginning Modern Dance
  • Dance Appreciation
  • Dance Rehearsal
  • Dance Repertory
  • Dance History
  • Tap Dance
  • Commercial Dance

As you progress through your studies, your courses each year will vary. As expected, you’ll be gaining more exposure to various dance techniques. Your courses will become more challenging, helping refine your skills as a professional dancer, dance teacher, or choreographer.

5. Modesto Junior College

4 Year; Modesto, CA

Average Annual Cost: $11,267

The dance program at Modesto Junior College is designed to help students find an assortment of employment opportunities. After getting your Associate’s Degree in Dance, you can explore careers in competitive dance companies, teaching, theatre, commercial dance, and more.

This program is one of the more well-rounded options globally with a multidisciplinary approach. You’ll explore concepts of health, cultural studies, education, history, human movement, and art during your studies.

Above all else, you’ll have the fundamental skills to pursue a career in performing arts. This program is designed to help students acquire entry-level employment in careers with a dance emphasis upon graduation.

When enrolled, you’ll get real-world experience with performing arts at Modesto Junior College. Their dancers work alongside the American College Dance Conference annually.

You’ll also be able to attend unique lectures, master classes, and workshops from esteemed industry professionals.

Abs one of the best dance colleges, attending Modesto Junior College is a fantastic opportunity for your resume. It has been ranked as one of the top 10% of dance colleges in California and Arizona for over 13 years.

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