CWU News

CWU to offer new Bachelor of Arts in Dance

Central Washington University will offer a new dance major beginning with the 2017 fall quarter. It will currently be the only Bachelor of Arts offered by a Washington university east of the Cascades.

The new major, approved Friday, March 31 by the CWU Board of Trustees, will allow students to develop knowledge of dance styles and techniques, and hone their proficiencies and the skills necessary to pursue positions in a variety of fields. 

“Upon graduation, students enrolled in the new program will be ready a range of careers, in performance, choreography, education and teaching across an array of dance genres,” said Therese Young, CWU dance program director. “They may also pair the major with minors—such as Business Administration, a dance endorsement [for kindergarten through high school teachers], nutrition, physical activity and recreation programming, recreation management, or theatre studies—to further enhance their professional career readiness.”
Young, named the 2011 Dance Educator of the Year by the Washington Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, has developed the CWU program based on her broad-based background, which includes work with renowned professionals including the Nikolai and Alvin Ailey dance companies, jazz artist Gus Giordano, and instructors from the Royal Ballet of London.
She noted that national statistics indicate that there are now nearly 203,000 employed dance teachers, which includes those in non-academic settings, and more than 20,000 professional dancers and choreographers.

“Dancers and choreographers will more and more be supplementing their performing careers by teaching,” Young added. 
The new major is an outgrowth of a survey that was conducted by Young and her fellow dance program faculty during the 2016 spring quarter. That survey found nearly one in four students—including a large percentage of university freshman—had interest in a CWU dance major.
In addition, CWU will offer a dance minor, to complement majors from departments across campus including theatre studies, education, nutrition, physical activity and recreation programming, and recreation management.
CWU dance program students are encouraged to participate in the American College Dance Association and collaborate with study abroad to take advantage of openings to teach in other countries.
“We also like our dance students to join Central’s Orchesis Dance Company,” Young added. “It promotes dance as a performing art and allows them additional opportunities to choreograph, learn, and perform original artistic works, particularly modern and jazz dance.”
Media contact: 
Robert Lowery, director of radio services and integrated communications, 509-963-1487,
April 7, 2017