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A classical ballet program rooted in a traditional liberal arts setting, we strive to make an impact on the survival of high quality ballet and the building of future leaders for the arts in this country. 

We take pride in our accreditation with the National Association of Schools of Dance as well as faculty prestige as an ABT® Certified Teacher, having completed the entire National Teacher Training Curriculum, Primary through Level 7 (Melissa Bobick).

Have some questions? See if we ansewered them in the Dance FAQ's

A degree from Mercyhurst prepares you for this exciting and dynamic career.

Major(s) Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A)-Dance
  Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)-Dance
Concentration(s) Dance Major with Pedagogy Concentration
Other Program(s) Arts Management Minor
  Returning Professional
  Organization Leadership


Ready to begin your journey in dance?  Apply online today -- it's free and getting your application started takes only a few brief minutes.  Interested students may also consult the course catalog for more information.  As a liberal arts institution, all undergraduate students complete Mercyhurst's core curriculum



Read our latest newsletter

National Water Dance: The Ripple Effect on Saturday, April 16, 2016 at 4pm, Dobbins Landing. The advocacy component of this event is organized by the Mercyhurst University Chemistry Department in collaboration with the School of Arts and humanities in partnership with various community organizations.

Black & White Salon: April 2, 2016 at 7:00, Walker Recital Hall. Featuring Choreographers, Artists, Musicians, Dancers, and Writers, a showcase for artists to celebrate the memory of Jenni-Lyn Watson and her passion. Come show your support and spread the word about this event.  

Past performances:



News from alum Donna Russo ‘81:




The Dance Department's mission is to generate leadership for the dance field, through rigorous B.A. and B.F.A. programs emphasizing the development of professional dancers, teachers, choreographers and scholars through cognitive, affective, and psychomotor taxonomies. The Dance Department's vision is to proliferate the art of dance while promoting excellence in leadership for the field.

mercyhurst dancers Goals:

  • To generate creative leaders who pay tribute to the past, strive for the highest standards of excellence and proactively collaborate to celebrate and serve their communities whilst moving the dance field forward.
  • To cultivate empowerment through vigorous involvement in a progressive curriculum grounded in classical and contemporary ballet supported by diverse dance disciplines, theoretical and somatic studies.
  • To prepare confident artists who recognize and apply the transferable learning and knowledge embedded in dance to coalesce with developed critical thinking, writing and oral expertise as support to all of their life choices.
  • To nurture compassionate and balanced human beings who hold sacred the honor of body, mind and spirit for themselves and others. 


  • Demonstrate a high level of technical mastery in ballet and/or other dance disciplines
  • Identify a significant body of theoretical &historical knowledge pertaining to the dance field
  • Produce & present work by confronting professional problems through analysis, experimentation & development of coherent goals evident in scholarly & creative presentations
  • Recognize & assess positive approaches to mental & physical health, professional theatrical aesthetic & an injury-free work ethic

Performance Ensembles

 Booking Information

The Mercyhurst University Dance Department is pleased to connect our faculty and our performing ensembles with the community. We will tailor our presentation to your venue, needs and interests offering presentations such as:

  • Performances
  • Lecture demonstrations
  • Workshops
  • Seminars
  • Outreach
  • School performances
  • And more...

Our fees are reasonable, and vary upon ensemble choice, program length and content. Revenues directly support scholarships and departmental programming.  For more information, contact Tauna Hunter, Dance Department Chair, at 814-824-2587.



Our goal is to generate leadership for the dance field while striving to maintain high integrity ballet in our community through performance and service outreach with our multiple dance ensembles. 


2015-2016 Performance Season

The Mercyhurst Dance Department strives to make an impact on the survival of high-quality ballet and the building of future leaders in the arts. Experience the culmination of the students' creative exploration and discovery as performers and choreographers.



New saving opportunity: DANCE FLEX PASS

Purchase 3 admissions for the price of 2 (excludes 'Tis the Season). Use the pass to attend three different events, bring a guest or tow to an event, or attend more than one performance. Offer is available through March 17.


DANCE 1-2-3

Mary D'Angelo Performing Arts Center

Friday, November 06, 4:30 pm 

Saturday, November 07, 2:30 pm 

Saturday, November 07, 7:00 pm 

Sunday, November 08, 2:00 pm

The solos, duets and trios of Dance 1-2-3 showcase the unique talents of this extraordinary generation of dancers from around the world. The show on Nov. 7 includes a post-performance Dress- Up '70 Disco Dance until midnight, featuring "Captain" Dan Geary, late-night snack, costume prize and a Chinese auction supporting the Regional Cancer Center Foundation.



Mary D'Angelo Performing Arts Center

Friday, December 04, 4:30 pm 

Friday, December 04, 7:30 pm 

Saturday, December 05, 11:00 am 

Saturday, December 05,  2:00 pm

Celebrate the holiday season with The Mercyhurst Dancers by treating the family to this hear-warming story of hope, featuring the Liturgical Dance Ensemble

. Kids of all ages will be moved by the story of The Little Match Girl, based on the Hans Christian Andersen tale of the same name. In keeping with the spirit of the season, a portion of the proceeds from these performances will benefit the Second Harvest Food Bank. 

All Tickets: $5 (one child per family, 12 and younger, is admitted free with the donation of a nonperishable food item.)

Beyond Words V

Mary D'Angelo Performing Arts Center

Friday, March 18,  4:30 pm 

Saturday, March 19,  2:00 pm 

Saturday, March 19, 7:00 pm 

Sunday, March 20,  2:00 pm

This mixed program highlights Mercyhurst Ballet Theatre and SoMar Dance Works in presentations that will make you laugh and cry and even take your breath away. To raise awareness of violence against women, the March 19 gala performance will include a reception and silent auction to raise funds for SafeNet and the Jenni-Lyn Watson Memorial Scholarship Fund. Following the Friday and Saturday evening performance, meet and talk with the dancers and choreographers at the "Talk Back" session.


Raw Edges

Mary D'Angelo Performing Arts Center

Friday, May 06, 4:30 pm 

Saturday, May 07, 2:00 pm 

Saturday, May 07, 7:00 pm 

Sunday, May 08,  2:00 pm

Now in its 18th year, Raw Edges is a Mercyhurst dance tradition highlighting the work of student and guest choreographers. Intermissions will include "Talk Back" sessions, an opportunity for the audience to hear from these young and upcoming choreographers about their artistic process.

Please visit our MIAC site for more information


Social Media and Photo Gallery

For more multimedia material, check out the Mercyhurst University Dance Department's Facebook, Twitter, blog, or Pinterest.

C. Noelle Partusch
Associate Professor
Office: danceSpace
Phone: (814) 824-3352

Lesley Bories-Scalise
Artist in Residence
Office: danceSpace
Phone: (814) 824-2256

Mark Santillano
Assistant Professor
Office: danceSpace
Phone: (814) 824-2176

Melissa Bobick
Assistant Professor
Office: danceSpace 02
Phone: 814-824-2258

Michael Gleason
Concurrent Faculty and Production Mgr./Resident Designer
Office: danceSpace
Phone: (814) 824-2240

Nathaniel Johnson
Adjunct Faculty
Office: danceSpace
Phone: (814) 824-2256

Solveig Santillano
M.F.A., M.A.
Assistant Professor
Office: danceSpace
Phone: (814) 824-3866

Tauna Hunter
Professor, Chairperson
Office: danceSpace
Phone: (814) 824-2587