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Dance Performance

  • Overview
  • Careers
  • New Freshmen
  • New Transfer
  • Illinois State Students

The Dance Performance program at Illinois State University offers an intensive, individualized and performance-based approach connecting theory with practice. We provide a challenging yet nurturing environment that prepares students for careers in performance, choreography, teaching, and for future post-graduate study. The program is supported by a diverse and ambitious nationally recognized faculty, bringing a wide variety of movement styles and philosophies to the program.

Students in the Dance Performance sequence take an extensive range of courses that emphasize different aspects of dance training and creativity within the fine and performing arts. Dancers will develop their intellectual and artistic abilities through coursework that includes choreography and improvisation, dance history, multicultural perspectives, dance kinesiology and somatic practices. Additionally, students have opportunities to study abroad, work with a variety of guest artists, and to network with Illinois State alumni working in the field.

Students will experience a variety of diverse performance opportunities alongside a strong and comprehensive curriculum. Illinois State Dance Theatre is the pre-professional dance company supported by the School of Theatre and Dance that offers students consistent performance opportunities to work with nationally recognized faculty and guest artists each school year. The program sponsors Dance Association, a registered student organization that offers weekly workshops, supports guest teachers, and produces the annual Dance Inventions Student Choreographed Concert. Students are also involved in theatrical productions within the College of Fine Arts, as well as touring productions of faculty and guest artists' work on a regional and national level.

Why Study Dance Performance?

The Dance Performance program is supported by a diverse and ambitious faculty who embrace a wide variety of movement styles and philosophies. They are committed to nurturing the technical and artistic potential of each student. Our Dance teachers are nationally recognized practicing artists, scholars and arts administrators. Their creative activities further enhance their instruction in the Dance program while providing strong connections within the field, both professionally and academically. 

Related Majors

Being Successful in the Field

  • Network! Talk with people working in the field to find out about jobs and opportunities.
  • Get involved with several dance studios, dance companies, and productions in any way you can.
  • Be prepared to take class often and to enhance your performance and choreographic skills.
  • Be prepared to move to a metropolitan area where more opportunities may exist.
  • Volunteer with fundraising efforts for the arts.
  • Complete an internship or an apprenticeship with a local dance company and organization.
  • Join professional groups as an opportunity to make contacts.
  • Invest in practicing different somatic approaches to keep your physical instrument healthy and to insure longevity in your performance career.

Related Fields

When thinking about a career in dance, it is common to envision a professional dancer or dance teacher. These are wonderful options, but only speak to a fraction of the numerous possibilities within the ever expanding field of dance.

Through a rigorous and comprehensive curriculum, dance majors will be prepared for a variety of professional pursuits upon graduation. Certain career paths may require studies in additional areas, and through consistent advisement and communication, students can construct an academic plan that speaks to their future goals.

Below is a list of dance-related careers to consider.

Performance, Choreography, and Teaching

  • Dancer/Dance Artist
  • Choreographer
  • Technical Director
  • Rehearsal Director/Ballet Mistress/Ballet Master
  • Artistic Director
  • Dance Teacher/Educator (community, private business, public school)
  • Studio Owner/School Director/Business Manager
  • Dance History Teacher/Dance Historian
  • Dance Research/Performance Studies
  • Dance Notator
  • Movement Analyst
  • Dance Professor (Higher Education)
  • Musical Theatre (Choreographer/Performer)

Traditional Stage Production

  • Set Designer
  • Lighting Designer
  • Costume Designer
  • Sound Designer
  • Stage Manager/Stagehand
  • Tour Manager
  • Makeup Artist
  • Producer
  • Booking Agent/Ticket Services
  • Box Office Manager

Therapeutic and Somatic Practices

  • Physical Therapist
  • Dance Trainer/Sports Medicine/Exercise Science
  • Dance Therapist/Movement Therapist
  • Nutritionist
  • Kinesiology Specialist
  • Pilates Instructor
  • Alexander Technique Teacher
  • Barteniff Fundamentals/Movement Analysts
  • Feldenkrais Practitioner
  • Yoga Instructor
  • Massage Therapist

Dance/Art Administration

  • Development Director
  • Program Manager/Company Manager
  • Marketing Director
  • Public Relations Director
  • Grant Writer
  • Outreach Coordinator
  • Executive Director/Administrative Director

Writing and Dance Studies

  • Dance Critic
  • Journalist
  • Graphic Designer
  • Dance Photographer

Other Opportunities

  • Dance Wear Companies
  • Dance Competitions/Conventions
  • Studio/Stage Equipment Sales
  • Software/App Development for Dance
  • Film/Video Production
  • Video Technology and Editing
  • Media Development
  • Collaborative Musician/Accompanist/Composer

Career Advising

Name Office Email Phone
Mark Fauble  110 Student Services Building  mbfaubl@ilstu.edu  (309) 438-5825 

Internship Coordinator

Name Office Email Phone
Sara Semonis  Centenial West 201 J  ssemoni@ilstu.edu  (309) 438-8021 

Applying to Illinois State

Illinois State's preferred filing period for freshman students for the fall semester is September 1-November 15. Applying early is encouraged, as the University must limit enrollment due to space at the University and in specific majors/programs. Visit the Office of Admissions to apply today!

Program Requirements

Students seeking admission to the School of Theatre and Dance begin by applying for admission to the University, using the regular admissions procedure. When you fill out your admission application form, you will also select a date for a Dance Program audition, portfolio review or interview. More information about this process is outlined below. (If you later need to change your selected date, please contact the Head of the Dance Program, Sara Semonis at ssemoni@ilstu.edu.

2017-2018 Dance Program auditions on the Illinois State University campus:
Saturday, November 4, 2017
Saturday, February 17, 2018
Friday, March 30, 2018 (not for scholarship consideration)

2018 Dance Program audition in Chicago, Illinois:
Saturday, January 20, 2018, 1 p.m.
Dovetail Studios
2853 W. Montrose Ave., Chicago, IL

Dance Performance and Dance Teacher Education majors participate in the same audition.  

Audition Schedule

  • Audition Check-in: Center for Performing Arts Lobby
  • Turn in photo and receive audition number - Photo in first arabesque 
  • Sign-up for solo/interview time
  • 90-minute technique class (ballet, modern & jazz components) – Centennial East 116
  • Individual solo/interview with Illinois State Dance Program Faculty – Centennial East 116

Audition Preparation

All prospective Dance Performance or Dance Teacher Education students should prepare a solo dance or variation in the genre of their choice.

  • Solos: 2-3 minutes in length and can feature the choreography of the applicant or another choreographer.
  • Dancers should bring a device if they wish to use musical accompaniment. Please have a CD as a backup recording.
  • Each student should wear professional, fitted dance attire with footless tights or leggings.
  • Students should bring ballet and jazz shoes and will also dance barefoot.

Electronic Audition

If you cannot attend one of the on campus auditions you may upload your audition electronically via Acceptd. A Skype or phone interview will also be required if uploading electronically. The submission must include the following:

  • ballet barre
  • Center pirouette combination
  • a turning and leaping phrase across the floor
  • a two to three minute solo

Electronic Submission Guidelines

Prospective students submitting electronic auditions must follow these guidelines:

  • Dancers must wear the same dance attire throughout the video
  • Dancers must record the audition material on the same day in the same space
  • Send link to video with resume and photo in first arabesque in email attachment to:
    • Sara Semonis, Head of the Dance Program, at ssemoni@ilstu.edu
    • Video audition submissions must be received by March 15 for scholarship consideration

Deadlines and Review Dates

Students are accepted into the Dance major within the School of Theatre and Dance on a rolling basis, contingent on admission by Illinois State University. Normally students are notified within two weeks whether or not they have passed their audition or portfolio review.

Dance Audition Dates for Fall 2017

Saturday, November 4, 2017
Saturday, January 20, 2018 (Dovetail Studios, Chicago)
Saturday, February 17, 2018
Friday, March 30, 2018 (not for scholarship consideration)

School of Theatre and Dance scholarship awards are announced after March 1.

Plan of Study

This information is based on requirements for the academic year(s) indicated. Students should consult the catalog year they were admitted under for their academic requirements.

Applying to Illinois State

Program Requirements

Students seeking admission to the School of Theatre and Dance begin by applying for admission to the University, using the regular admissions procedure. When you fill out your admission application form, you will also select a date for a Dance Program audition, portfolio review or interview. More information about this process is outlined below. (If you later need to change your selected date, please contact the Head of the Dance Program, Sara Semonis, at ssemoni@ilstu.edu.)

2017-2018 Dance Program auditions on the Illinois State University campus:
Saturday, November 4, 2017
Saturday, February 17, 2018
Friday, March 30, 2018 (not for scholarship consideration)

2018 Dance Program audition in Chicago, Illinois:
Saturday, January 20, 2018, 1 p.m.
Dovetail Studios
2853 W. Montrose Ave., Chicago, IL

Dance Performance and Dance Teacher Education majors participate in the same audition.  

Audition Schedule

  • Audition Check-in: Center for Performing Arts Lobby
  • Turn in photo and receive audition number - Photo in first arabesque 
  • Sign up for solo/interview time
  • 90-minute technique class (ballet, modern & jazz components) – Centennial East 116
  • Individual solo/interview with Illinois State Dance Program Faculty – Centennial East 116

Audition Preparation

All prospective Dance Performance or Dance Teacher Education students should prepare a solo dance or variation in the genre of their choice.

  • Solos: 2-3 minutes in length and can feature the choreography of the applicant or another choreographer.
  • Dancers should bring a device if they wish to use musical accompaniment. Please have a CD as a backup recording.
  • Each student should wear professional, fitted dance attire with footless tights or leggings.
  • Students should bring ballet and jazz shoes and will also dance barefoot.

Electronic Audition

If you cannot attend one of the on campus auditions you may upload your audition electronically via Acceptd. A Skype or phone interview will also be required if uploading electronically. The submission must include the following:

  • ballet barre
  • Center pirouette combination
  • a turning and leaping phrase across the floor
  • a two to three minute solo

Electronic Submission Guidelines

Prospective students submitting electronic auditions must follow these guidelines:

  • Dancers must wear the same dance attire throughout the video
  • Dancers must record the audition material on the same day in the same space
  • Send link to video with resume and photo in first arabesque in email attachment to:
    • Sara Semonis, Head of the Dance Program, at ssemoni@ilstu.edu
    • Video audition submissions must be received by March 15 for scholarship consideration

Deadlines and Review Dates

Students are accepted into the Dance major within the School of Theatre and Dance on a rolling basis, contingent on admission by Illinois State University. Normally students are notified within two weeks whether or not they have passed their audition or portfolio review.

Dance Audition dates for Fall 2017

Saturday, November 4, 2017
Saturday, January 20, 2018 (Dovetail Studios, Chicago)
Saturday, February 17, 2018
Friday, March 30, 2018 (not for scholarship consideration)

School of Theatre and Dance scholarship awards are announced after March 1.

Minimum GPA

2.00

Middle 50% GPA

2.53 - 3.32

Required Courses

None

Recommended Courses

None

Additional Information

Sequence requires an audition.

Academic Advising

Name Office Email Phone
Cristen Monson  Centennial West 203  cbmonso@ilstu.edu  (309) 438-3936 

Middle 50% GPA

2.53 - 3.32

Plan of Study

This information is based on requirements for the academic year(s) indicated. Students should consult the catalog year they were admitted under for their academic requirements.

Application Period

Applications are always accepted.

Application Information

Current students can use the Apply to Your Program tool on My.IllinoisState.edu.

Major Requirements

Sequence requires an audition.

Academic Advising

Name Office Email Phone
Cristen Monson  Centennial West 203  cbmonso@ilstu.edu  (309) 438-3936 
2016-08-03T11:23:40.188-05:00 2016
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