Department of Dance

BFA in Dance | Course Descriptions

Chair: Jennifer Pontius (936) 294-1300

Faculty: Cindy Gratz, Dana Nicolay, Andrew Noble, Dionne Noble, Jonathan Charles Smith

"The Dance is the mother of the arts." — Curt Sachs


The Dance Department at Sam Houston State University delivers a dynamic, challenging experience that integrates creativity, performance and scholarly pursuits designed to prepare each student for a 21st century career in dance.

Academic Programs

Admission to the BFA is by audition only. These audition scheduled is posted on the dance program's website. Secondary Teaching certification is available in Dance through the College of Education.


The Dance Program at Sam Houston State University:

  • Was identified as one of the ten top dance programs in the country by Dance Teacher Magazine.
  • Is housed in beautiful James and Nancy Gaertner Performin Arts Center including four large studios with sprung floors, a state of the art dance theater, 19-station Mac lab, fully equipped Pilates/conditioning studio, and spacious dressing rooms with showers.
  • Is an active member of the American College Dance Festival Association. Choreography created by students and faculty of the Dance Program has been regularly selected for Gala presentation. In 2010, we were invited to perform at the Kennedy Center National ACDFA conference.
  • Has alumni of the program performing with diverse professional dance companies, including Pilobolus, The Houston Met, Hopestone, NobleMotion Dance, and Blue Lapis Light.
  • Regularly host a wide variety of guest artists, which have included Dominic Walsh Dance Theatre, Paul Taylor II, Houston Ballet II, The Dance Gallery, Jane Weiner, Ben Stevenson, Bill Evans, Rennie Harris, Marlies Yearby, Astrid von Ussar, and Charlotte Boye-Christenson.

Career Opportunities

  • Dance Performance
  • Dance Education
  • Arts Administration
  • Health-related Professions

Suggested Minors

  • Business
  • Secondary teaching
  • Theatre

Student Organizations

Chi Tau Epsilon, the prestigious national dance honor society, recognizes, supports, and promotes superior achievement in dance and in the performing arts. Membership in the society is recorded on the student’s transcript. Each year, Chi Tau Epsilon is an active student organization, sponsoring the student choreography showcase, Dances @ 8, conducting recruitment workshops for the dance program, and sponsoring community support activities including Adopt a Highway, food drives, and participation in the Special Olympics. Chi Tau Epsilon also awards annual scholarships for outstanding choreographic and academic achievement.


The Dance Program awards numerous scholarships ranging from $500 to $ 3,000 per academic year. Approximately $25,000 in performance-based scholarships is awarded each year. In addition the Mary Ella Montague Endowed Scholarship is awarded to the outstanding returning Dance major each year and the Kelley Barber Award is given annually to a Dance major for outstanding performance. The Theatre and Dance Endowed and Nancy Gaertner Performing Arts Scholarship Applications are available online at and in the dance office.


Required Courses for Major

All dance majors must repeat DNC 110 <DANC 1101> for four semesters. Candidates for the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree must complete at least two semesters each of DNC 430 <DANC 4330>, 433 <DANC 4333>, and 434 <DANC 4334>. DNC 133 <DANC1333>, 134 <DANC1334>, 233 <DANC 2333>, 234 <DANC 2334>, 333 <DANC 3333>, 334 <DANC 3334>, 335 <DANC 3335> 430 <DANC 4330>, 433 <DANC 4333>, 434 <DANC 4334>. Students are placed in the appropriate level for ballet and modern when they audition for admission to the program. Ballet and modern techniques courses ( <1333>-<4333> and <1334>-<4334>) may be repeated up to four times with academic credit applied. BFA candidates enroll in two majors’ dance technique courses every semester. A minimum of 12 hours drawn from DNC 433 <DANC 4333>, 434 <4334>, and 435 <4335> must be completed. Initial placement level and promotions in the technique sequence are determined by the dance faculty. Students are promoted based on faculty assessment.

3 Digit to 4 Digit Crosswalk

Bachelor of Fine Arts
Major in Dance

SHSU Course NumberHoursRecommended Sequence
Core Curriculum
Component Area I (Communication)
ENG 164 <ENGL 1301> and ENG 165 <ENGL 1302>
6 Freshman
Component Area II (Mathematics) 3 Freshman
Component Area III (Natural Sciences):Any lab sciences from core 8 Freshman, Sophomore
Component Area IV (Visual/Performing Arts)
DNC 172 <DANC 1372>
3 Freshman
Component Area IV (Literature or PHL <PHIL>) 3 Senior
Component Area IV (Cultural Studies) 3 Junior
Component Area V (Social/Behavioral Sciences)    
HIS 163 <HIST 1301>, HIS 164 <HIST 1302> 6 Freshman
POL 261 <POLS 2301>, 200-level POL <2000-level POLS> 6 Junior, Senior
Behavioral Sciences 3 Junior
Component Area VI (Institutionally Designated Option
KIN 215 <KINE 2115>
1 Sophomore
Major Core
DNC 110 <DANC 1101>, 4 semesters 4 Freshman, Sophomore
DNC <DANC 1201> 2 Freshman, Sophomore
DNC 172 <DANC 1372>** 3 Freshman
DNC 133 <DANC1333> 3 Freshman
DNC 134 <DANC1334> 3 Freshman
DNC 232 <DANC 2332> or DNC 273 <DANC 2373> 3 Sophomore
DNC 233 <DANC 2333> 3 Sophomore
DNC 234 <DANC 2334> 3 Sophomore
DNC 272 <DANC 2372> 3 Sophomore
DNC 276 <DANC 2376> 3 Sophomore
DNC 333 <DANC 3333> 3 Sophomore, Junior
DNC 334 <DANC 3334> 3 Sophomore, Junior
DNC 335 <DANC 3335> 3 Junior, Senior
DNC 373 <DANC 3373> or DNC 374 <DANC 3374> 3 Junior
DNC 376 <DANC 3376> 3 Junior
DNC 430 <DANC 4330>, 1 semester 3 Senior
DNC 433 <DANC 4333> 3 Senior
DNC 434 <DANC 4334> 3 Senior
DNC 472 <DANC 4372> 3 Senior
DNC 474 <DANC 4374> 3 Senior
DNC 476 <DANC 4376> 3 Senior
DNC 477 <DANC 4377> 3 Senior
DNC 477 <DANC 4388> 3 Senior
DNC 478 <DANC 4389> 3 Senior
Dance or Theatre electives 6  
Total Hours: 120

**The total reflects DNC 172 <1372> satisfying three hours from Component Area IV.

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