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Dance Teacher Education

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

The Dance Education program at Illinois State University offers an intensive, individualized and performance-based approach. We provide a challenging yet nurturing environment that prepares you for diverse career options within the field of Dance Education, helping you achieve teacher licensure for grades 9–12 and providing you with a basis for future graduate study.

Why Study Dance Teacher Education?

The Dance Education sequence at Illinois State University is a rigorous program of study reflecting the standards set forth by the National Association of Schools of Dance Accreditation for Teacher Preparation. Additionally, students in this sequence are expected to develop the range of knowledge, skills, and competencies consistent with national, state, and local dance standards. 

Illinois State University, with its historic and enduring commitment to educating teachers, has the only teacher certification program in Dance within the State of Illinois. We therefore are uniquely positioned to prepare those undergraduate Dance students who are interested in preparing for teaching careers in public schools as well as in the private sector. The Dance Education sequence provides training and professional education which is both broad and deep, demanding proficiency as performers and excellence as educators. 

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

Performing

Employers

  • Community theaters
  • Regional theaters
  • Commercial theaters
  • Summer stock theaters
  • Dinner theaters
  • Children's theaters
  • University theater groups
  • Touring companies
  • Industrial shows
  • Show groups
  • Amusement and theme parks
  • Television/film studios
  • Radio stations

Strategies

  • Participate in acting workshops, courses, and seminars to get advice and experience and to make contacts with others in the field.
  • Join unions or actors' guilds to stay abreast of opportunities and developments in the field. Get as much acting experience as possible.
  • Perform in school productions, community theater, summer stock, etc. to hone acting skills.
  • Prepare a professional resume that lists your acting experience.
  • Have your resume attached to or printed on the reverse side of an 8" x 10" photograph of yourself.
  • Be prepared to make the rounds.
  • Distribute your resume to numerous agencies and offices.
  • Follow up with several personal visits.
  • Be aware that more opportunities exist in large cities such as New York and Los Angeles.
  • Learn about the entertainment industry as a whole: Take courses on entertainment law, business, management, etc.
  • An extensive network of contacts is essential.
  • Get to know people working in your field and related areas.

Directing

  • Direction
  • Technical Direction
  • Casting
  • Stage Management
  • Support Staff

Employers

  • Theaters
  • Television/film studios

Strategies

  • Participate in the Director's Guild Training Program.
  • Develop leadership skills through participation in campus and community organizations.
  • Experience with fund-raising is important.
  • Volunteer to do this with local theaters and arts councils.
  • Learn what types of permits and insurance are needed to film or perform in certain areas.
  • Volunteer with directors in local theaters to become familiar with the environment.
  • Serving as an assistant is a great way to get started in this area.
  • Gain directing experience by participating in college productions.

Behind the Scenes

  • Set Design/Construction
  • Property Design
  • Lighting Design
  • Sound Design
  • Costume Design
  • Camera Operation
  • Hair/Make-up
  • Special Effects
  • Wardrobe
  • Prop Management
  • Broadcast Technology
  • Riggers
  • Electricians

Employers

  • Community theaters
  • Regional theaters
  • Commercial theaters
  • Summer stock theaters
  • Dinner theaters
  • Children's theaters
  • University theater groups
  • Touring companies
  • Industrial shows
  • Show groups
  • Amusement and theme parks
  • Television/film studios
  • Radio stations

Strategies

  • Learn to work well in a team.
  • Develop a sense of artistry and creativity.
  • Becomeinvolved in the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE).
  • This organization can give you information about becoming an apprentice as wellas help you make valuable contacts.
  • Get experience. Offer your services to schooland local theaters.
  • Read industry magazines and books to learn about your area.
  • For sound design: Become familiar with computer technology as digital sound effects and electronic music replace traditional means of sound design.
  • For costume design: Supplement your program with courses in art history and fashion design.
  • Learn about different eras in history in order to recreate on stage.
  • A basic knowledge of history and architecture is helpful.

Writing

  • Playwriting
  • Screenwriting
  • Journalism
  • Publicity (Press Agents)
  • Research

Employers

  • Theaters
  • Television/film studios
  • Television stations
  • Magazines
  • Newspapers
  • Freelance

Strategies

  • Review plays, movies, and TV shows for school or local newspaper.
  • Theatricalpress agents publicize and promote theatrical productions.
  • They write press releases, arrange press conferences, and other media events.
  • Take courses in related areas such as public relations, advertising, and business.
  • Reporters spend time on the set absorbing everything.
  • They interview actors as well as craftspeople.
  • Get as much writing experience as possible: Write for the college newspaper, enter play writing contests, etc.
  • See many different productions and shows.
  • Read variety of scripts to see how scripts are developed.
  • Researchers gather information for movie writers.
  • They may also track down photographs or historical documents to make the film more authentic.

Business

  • Producing
  • Management
  • Agents
  • Marketing
  • Fundraising and Development
  • Coordination of Volunteers
  • Administration of Arts Programs
  • Box Office Sales

Employers

  • Theaters
  • Arts councils
  • Television/film studios

Strategies

  • Secretarial/clerical positions in theaters and studios are often stepping-stones to other positions and a good way to make contacts.
  • Take business courses to supplement your program.
  • Obtain a working knowledge of computers.
  • Gain a thorough understanding of theater.
  • Develop skills in leadership, negotiation, budgeting, and fundraising.

Education

  • Teaching

Employers

  • Public and private schools
  • Colleges and universities
  • Performing arts centers

Strategies

  • Obtain certification for the state in which you wish to teach.
  • Obtain dual certification for more teaching opportunities.
  • Get experience in various areas of theater,as well as working with young people.
  • Obtain a graduate degree to teach on the college level.
  • Develop one or two areas of expertise within theater arts.

Other Professions

  • Actor/Actress
  • Advertising/Marketing Manager
  • Booking Agent-Resort Industries
  • Campaign Director
  • Children’s Theatre Director
  • Community Affairs Liaison
  • Convention Director
  • Costume Designer
  • Costume Shop Supervisor
  • Development Officer
  • Director, Tourism
  • Events Coordinator
  • Fashion Merchandiser
  • Fund Raiser
  • Journalist
  • Lighting Designer
  • Minister/Clergy
  • Museum Manager
  • Non-Profit Arts Manager
  • Professor/Theatre
  • Props Designer
  • Puppeteer
  • Recreational Supervisor
  • Sales Rep-Theatre Industry
  • Scriptwriter
  • Set Designer
  • Set Designer Specialist
  • Sound Designer
  • Stage Manager
  • Stunt Performer
  • Teacher (HS/College)
  • Technical Theatre Manager
  • Theatre Company Manager
  • Theatre Educator
  • Theatre Manager
  • Travel Guide
  • Voiceover Artist
  • Universal Information Specialist

Career Advising

Name Office Email Phone
Renee Carrigan  110 Student Services Building  rdcarugl@ilstu.edu  (309) 438-5864 

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.

2016-2017 Dance Program auditions on the Illinois State University campus:
Monday, November 5, 2016
Saturday, February 18, 2017
Friday, March 31, 2017 (not for scholarship consideration)

2017 Dance Program audition in Chicago, Illinois:
Saturday, January 21, 2016, 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.

Video Audition

Though an in-person audition is preferred, the Dance faculty will accept video auditions from prospective students with extenuating circumstances.  The video must include the following:

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

Video Submission Guidelines

Prospective students submitting video 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 Education 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.

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

Plans of Study and Progress Tracking

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.)

2016-2017 Dance Program auditions on the Illinois State University campus:
Monday, November 5, 2016
Saturday, February 18, 2017
Friday, March 31, 2017 (not for scholarship consideration)

2017 Dance Program audition in Chicago, Illinois:
Saturday, January 21, 2016, 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 recieve 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.

Video Audition

Though an in-person audition is preferred, the Dance Faculty will accept video auditions from prospective students with extenuating circumstances.  The video must include the following:

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

Video Submission Guidelines

Prospective students submitting video 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 Education 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.

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

Minimum GPA

2.50

Middle 50% GPA

2.53 - 3.32

Required Courses

None

Recommended Courses

Additional Information

Sequence requires an audition.

It is strongly recommended that students meet the Basic Skills Requirement prior to enrollment. Visit the College of Education's website for details on acceptable ACT or SAT scores which can be used to meet this requirement.

Plans of Study and Progress Tracking

Academic Advising

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

Middle 50% GPA

2.53 - 3.32

Plans of Study and Progress Tracking

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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