2016 November

Time to hit the books, or the studio?

           Time to hit the books, or the studio?

Figuring out what you want to do with your life after high school can be extremely difficult. If you’ve grown up dancing, and have been serious enough about it to consider pursuing dance as a career, then it’s time to figure out what you need to do to make it happen. You can of course just dive in and audition for roles or a spot in a company, get an agent, or move to a big city to train and audition. Or, you can go to a post-secondary school to further your training and prepare for your dance career, while getting an education.  

What are your steps?

Ask yourself what it is you want out of your education. Do you want to teach, do you want to dance professionally? What styles do you want to focus on? There are so many options, so take time to really think about it. Some people want a degree as a back up plan in case their dance career doesn’t work out. Some people want the option to study something else while kick starting their dance career (minoring in kinesiology is popular amongst dancers).  If a degree sounds like a long term, intimidating plan, look into your diploma options!

Next, you need to determine what you want to get out of the program. Most Canadian schools offer options for ballet, contemporary, or commercial dance. Simon Fraser University, for example, is Contemporary based. You’ll study ballet, but the prime focus is on modern techniques such as Graham, Cunningham, and Horton. Ryerson offers a broader curriculum which includes modern, ballet, contemporary, and jazz. University of Regina offers an education degree with a focus on dance, preparing you to teach in public schools. George Brown College aims to prepare you for a career in commercial performance.

Find out what your options are

We’ve provided a list of post-secondary dance programs in Canada. Keep in mind that we have only listed Canadian schools, but there are international options, as well! We have also only listed Colleges and Universities. There are many additional professional training programs in Canada, we’ve just limited our list to those offering post-secondary accreditation.

Diploma Programs:

Undergrad Degrees:

  • Simon Fraser University
    • Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA), Major in Dance
    • Extended Minor in Dance
    • Joint Degree/Diploma program with the National Ballet School
  • University of Calgary
    • Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Dance
    • Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Dance
    • Combined BA (Dance) / BKin (Kinesiology)
    • Minor in Dance
  • York University
    • Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) Honours
    • Bachelor of Arts (BA) Honours
    • Concurrent Degree in Education (BEd)
    • Joint Diploma/Degree with the National Ballet Schoo, of Canada
    • Joint Diploma/Degree with the School of Toronto Dance Theatre
  • Ryerson University
    • Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) Performance Dance
  • University of Regina
    • Bachelor of  Arts Education Program (BEd) combined with Bachelor of Dance
  • Concordia University
    • Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) Major in Contemporary Dance
  • University of Winnipeg (In Partnership with Winnipeg’s School of Contemporary Dancers)
    • Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Arts (BA) Honours in Dance

Do Your Research

Your first step will be to check out the websites of the schools you are interested in. Find out when application deadlines and auditions are. It’s also worth your time to reach out to current students and alumni: ask them about their experiences, what they love about the program, what they find challenging, and what the audition experience was like.  Look up what their alumni are up to. Attend an info session or check out the campus. 

Find out what you need for the application & audition

In addition to your High School Requirements and the basic application process, dance programs will require an audition. You’ll either need to attend an audition (which means travel, staying in a hotel, making sure you have someone to accompany you), or submit a video audition- in which case, you need to make a video. You’ll also need headshots, a dance resume, references and/or reference letters, and you should be prepared to answer questions in an interview setting.

I hope this has given you some new information on your options for studying dance at university. There are so many great options out there, so find the one that’s right for you. Good luck on your journey!