This page answers frequently asked questions regarding the Department of Dance. Prospective students should contact the Office of Admissions for applications and deadlines.
If you feel your questions are still not answered after reading this page please send an email to Sandra Velasquez Dos Santos the Department Administrator at email@example.com or call the office at (212) 854-2995.
Do I need to audition to participate in the Department of Dance?
No. Audition tapes that are sent to the Department of Dance or the Admissions Office will not be reviewed or returned. Admission to both Barnard and Columbia is primarily based on a student's academic standing. Once admitted, a student can take any dance course that is appropriate for their level.
Can I observe and/or participate in a dance class? How do I know what level I am?
Yes. Please consult the current course schedule on the Dance hompage. A prospective may participate in or observe levels III, IV, V and VI in both ballet and modern, all Global Forms courses and any academic course in session. Once you know which course you would like to observe/participate in, fill out the Prospective Student Submission Form (found on the Dance website).
You'll want to arrive at least 15 minutes prior to the beginning of the class at the department (third floor Barnard Hall) so that someone can direct you to the dressing room and/or classroom.
You must attend the entire class from beginning to end. If you are confused about the proper level for you, please take into consideration that Level I courses are beginning dance courses for those who have never taken a dance class before while Level VI courses are pre-professional. So if you have been dancing you're whole life, you probably want to take/observe a Level V or Level VI class.
How many dance studios are there?
The Department has four dance studios and dressing facilities on campus. All studios have sprung floors, professional floor surfaces, barres, and media systems.
How big are the dance classes?
This is largely dependent on the size of both the studio and the course being taught. On average, there are 15-18 students per technique class. Lower Level courses (Modern I, Ballet I) tend to have the biggest population. Academic courses also range in class size: the Applied Anatomy for Human Movement course may have 10-20 students, the Dance in New York City courses may have 18-50 students, Performance Courses may have 6-24 students.
Is there live accompaniment for dance courses?
Yes. All technique courses have live accompaniment. Gilles Obermayer acts as coordinator for the musicians.
Are there more modern or ballet courses?
There are six levels of ballet and modern every semester. It is common for there to be more than one section of each level due to high demand. The department does not work within one syllabus of a discipline (Vaganova, Cecchetti, Graham or Limón, for example). This allows the department to reflect the breadth of theory and practice in the dance world.
Who can take a dance course?
The Department of Dance provides academic and technical studies in dance for undergraduates. All courses, except for Senior Seminar in Dance, Senior Repertory in Dance, and Senior Research in Dance, which are only open to majors and concentrates, are open to Barnard College, Columbia College, the School of General Studies of Columbia University, and SEAS.
How are Barnard and Columbia related?
Columbia University embraces many colleges and schools. Barnard College, Columbia College, the School of General Studies and the Fu School of Engineering and Applied Sciences are the four undergraduate colleges of Columbia University. The Department of Dance at Barnard College is the Department of Dance for all four colleges. If you are a matriculated Columbia College, or School of General Studies, student Majoring and/or Concentrating in Dance, your Major/Concentration work in Dance will be done at Barnard College.
How do I register for dance courses?
All registration is done online.
How many dance courses can I take per semester?
You can take as many courses as will fit into your schedule.
How is level determined in technique courses?
The first class of the semester serves as an audition/placement class. Individual professors determine whether students are the appropriate level for their course. Dance technique courses tend to be very popular so it is important to attend the first class of the semester.
How many dance majors are there?
Approximately 1200 students take dance classes per week. There are approximately 30 majors and minors.
How many faculty members are there?
There are 5 full-time, 35 part-time and guest artist, and 3 full-time staff.
Are there performance opportunities?
Absolutely. Please check the calendar page for a detailed description of major performances we do on and off campus.
Can I major in two departments?
Yes. In fact, most dance majors are double majors.
Does Barnard provide career counseling?
Yes. Visit the Office of Career Development for all current information and internship opportunities.
What do dance majors do when they graduate?
Former dance majors become professional dancers, choreographers, doctors, teachers, professors, executives, art administrators, and everything else you could possibly imagine.
Can I audit a dance course?
No. All dance courses must be taken for credit and students must be officially enrolled in them through the Office of the Registrar.
What is Advanced Studio?
For Barnard College students
Advanced Studio is a course primarily used by junior and senior students to continue study within a level of studio technique courses for credit or to move down a level for reasons specific to the student.
Studio technique courses may be used to fulfill the two Physical Education requirements and may additionally be taken for credit in a fall and/or a spring semester. After these four courses within one level are taken, a student may continue in the same level by registering for Advanced Studio.
For example, if a Barnard student takes Modern (or Ballet) IV in the fall and spring of her first year, these courses fulfill the two-credit Physical Education requirement. When the same student moves on to Modern V in both semesters of the second year, credit will register on the student's program. If the student continues study in Modern V during the third year for both fall and spring semesters and desires credit for the courses, the student registers for Advanced Studio. The same is applicable for courses taken in the senior year.
There are often students who enter Barnard at the highest level (VI) of ballet or modern classes. The scenario for first-years and sophomores is the same as the example in the preceding paragraph. When a student takes Ballet (or Modern) VI during both semesters of the first year, these courses will fulfill the Physical Education requirement, and the second-year credits can be applied toward either major or elective credits. The student will then use Advanced Studio for the remaining four semesters of a level VI course.
Sometimes a student begins at a high level of a studio technique course for one or two semesters and then decides to move down a level or more. The college does not grant credit for dropping down in level, so the student uses Advanced Studio to receive credit for the lower level.
Advanced Studio can be used once a semester with a maximum of four semesters.
For Columbia College students
Advanced level dancers (levels IV-VI) can take a Barnard studio technique course to fulfill the first Physical Education requirement, but the second semester of the requirement has to be taken at Columbia. However, if the student decides to become a dance major, he/she can fulfill both semesters of the requirement at Barnard. In either case, the student must fulfill the swimming requirement.
Does a studio technique class fulfill a Physical Education requirement and how?
It can. Students are required to complete 122 points for the degree. Of those 122 points, 2 fulfill the PE requirement. Students must pass two courses (any combination of PE classes at BC or CU and/or varsity sports and/or dance technique), in different semesters, one by the end of the first year and the second by the end of the junior year. Students will receive 1 point for each of those courses, and may receive a maximum of 2 points for fulfilling the PE requirement. (Students entering as transfers but with fewer than 24 transfer credits are subject to this requirement.) Once a student has completed the PE requirement, she may receive credit for additional dance technique courses (see below), but she may not receive credit for any further PE courses that she takes.
Dance technique—for PE and for additional credit
Any student who has completed or is concurrently completing the PE requirement may receive credit for dance technique: no more than 2 points for the same level (e.g., Modern II), no credit for a lower level after receiving credit for a higher level (e.g., Modern II after receiving credit for Modern III), maximum of 6 points for non-Dance majors, unlimited for Dance majors. Credit for dance technique can come only after or concurrent with fulfillment of the PE requirement.
Example: a first-year who takes three dance technique courses in her first semester here and three in her second may receive credit for only one in the first semester (because she has not completed and is not concurrently completing the PE requirement) but may receive credit for all three in the second semester (1 point for PE and 2 for dance technique) depending on level. The maximum is 2 points (1 point for transfers) for courses in the PE department; only dance technique may receive more than 2 points.
It follows that a student who completes the PE requirement with dance technique, thus receiving 2 points for dance as PE, may receive an additional 6 points for dance technique, subject to the limits in the preceding paragraph. (A student who received 2 points for basketball, for example, may also receive an additional 6 points for dance. The 2 points for PE are not included in the dance technique maximum, whether or not they were taken in dance.)