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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




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


  • American Ballet Theatre
  • Arts Council of Erie
  • Ballet Concerto
  • Ballet New England
  • Ballet Theatre Midwest
  • Graphic Design
  • Boston Dance Company
  • Broadway Dance Center
  • California Ballet School Inc.
  • Count Basie Theatre
  • Dancenter
  • Disney College Program
  • Erie Bayfront Dance
  • Erie County Historical Society
  • Erie Dance Conservatory
  • Erie Dance Consortium
  • Erie Philharmonic
  • Hersheypark Entertainment
  • Hilton Head Dance School
  • Interlochen Center for the Arts
  • Lake Erie Ballet School
  • Macfadden
  • Mercyhurst Ballet Theatre
  • Mercyhurst College Dance Department
  • Mercyhurst College Summer Dance Experience
  • Mercyhurst University Center for Arts/Culture
  • Morriss Center (The)
  • NWPA Collegiate Academy
  • Paige Conservation, Inc.
  • Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School
  • Pittsburgh Youth Ballet
  • SoMar Dance Works


Guest Artists and Residencies

Each year, dance department presents internationally acclaimed guest teachers from companies such as American Ballet Theatre, Bad Boys of Dance, Ballet Hispanico, Ballet Jazz de Montreal, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Cuban National Ballet, Dutch National Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, Martha Graham Dance Company, MOMIX, New York City Ballet, North Carolina Dance Theatre, Pilobolus, Paul Taylor Dance Company, STREB Extreme Action, Trey McIntyre Project, Royal Danish Ballet, and Jin Xing Dance Theatre Shanghai.  Below is a list of some of our master classes, guest artists, residencies, and other opportunities that have been affiliated with the Mercyhurst University Dance Department in the past.

Robert Barnett



Former Artistic Director of Atlanta Ballet

Shannon Lee West



Resident Choreographer-Missouri Contemporary Ballet

Kara Jones




Amanda Edge


Master Classes

New York City Ballet, Current performer with “Phantom” on Broadway

Matthew Prescott


Master Classes/Guest Artist Chat

Instructor for Joffrey NYC, Interlochen Arts Academy, Former dancer with Joffrey Ballet, Current performer with “Phantom” on Broadway

Maria Caruso


Master Classes

Bodiography Contemporary Ballet

Ursula Payne


Master Classes/Residency

Slippery Rock University Dance Department Chair

Compagnie Käfig


Master Classes

Performance in MIAC

Moscow Festival Ballet


Master Classes

Performance in MIAC

Diego Salterini


Master Classes

Co-director and Co-founder of DANCE!Now Ensemble

Bad Boys of Dance (Rasta Thomas)


Master Classes

Performance in MIAC

Laura Alonso


Master Classes

-Performed with Ballet National de Cuba for 25 years

-Stages classics for London’s Royal Ballet School and The Royal Danish Ballet

Vivi Flindt


Master Classes

-Originated many roles with The Royal Danish Ballet

Bill Evans



-Undergraduate program director at the College at Brackport & State University of New York

-Professor of Dance at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque

-Artistic & Executive Director of the Bill Evans Dance Company

-Creator of the Evans Modern Dance Technique

Maria Caruso


Master Classes

-Artistic Director of Bodiography Contemporary Ballet

Lisa de Ribre


Master Classes


-Former dancer with New York City Ballet and Soloist with American Ballet Theater

Chita Rivera


Guest Artist Chat

 -Original Broadway Cast of West Side Story, Chicago, Bye-Bye Birdie

Tim Veach   Master Classes

-Director, Columbus Dance Theater

Amanda Dunster   Guest Choreographer

-Ballet Mistress for Pennsylvania Ballet

-Stage La Fille Mal Garde on The Mercyhurst Dancers

Eddie Tovar   Guest Artist

-Past principal of Texas Ballet Theater

-Past company member of Orlando Ballet

Bruce Marks  

Guest Artist

-Internationally acclaimed dancer, teacher, choreographer, artistic director, consultant, and competition judge

-Metropolitan Opera Ballet, ABT, Royal Danish Ballet, Boston Ballet, Ballet West, etc

Nancy Jordan   Guest Choreographer

-Stage Limon repetoire as member of Jose Limon Foundation

-Previous ballet mistress of the Juilliard School

Wei Wu   Masterclass/Guest Choreographer -Liaoning Ballet Academy of China
Daniel Lewis   Guest Choreographer -Jose Limon Foundation


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. 


Performance Season

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Mary D'Angelo Performing Arts Center

Friday, November 07, 2014 - 4:30 pm 

Saturday, November 08, 2014 - 2:00 pm 

Saturday, November 08, 2014 - 7:00 pm 

Sunday, November 09, 2014 - 2:00 pm

Presented by The Mercyhurst Dancers

Enjoy a weekend filled with fantasy, fairies and the mischievous antics of sprites. Bring the family and enjoy the comedy, romance and beauty of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream performed by The Mercyhurst Dancers. Following the Friday and Saturday evening performances, meet and talk with the dancers and choreographers at the “Talk Back” session.


'Tis the Season with Babes in Toyland

Mary D'Angelo Performing Arts Center

Friday, December 05, 2014 - 4:30 pm 

Friday, December 05, 2014 - 7:30 pm 

Saturday, December 06, 2014 - 11:00 am 

Saturday, December 06, 2014 - 2:00 pm

The Mercyhurst Dancers and Liturgical Dance Ensemble

Treat the family to a new holiday tradition. Tis the Season, an hour-long dance concert by The Mercyhurst Dancers and Liturgical Dance Ensemble features Babes in Toyland, a heart-warming story ballet; Passion Sculpture, a spiritual work to music of Johann Sebastian Bach; and a seasonal premiere combining dancers and vocalists that is guaranteed to delight children of all ages. Enjoy pre-performance holiday music and photo opportunities with members of our cast in the lobby following the performance.  


Beyond Words IV

Mary D'Angelo Performing Arts Center

Friday, February 20, 2015 - 4:30 pm 

Saturday, February 21, 2015 - 2:00 pm 

Saturday, February 21, 2015 - 7:00 pm 

Sunday, February 22, 2015 - 2:00 pm

An Evening with Mercyhurst Ballet Theatre & SoMar Dance Works

With unparalleled artistry and innovation, Mercyhurst Ballet Theatre and SoMar Dance Works team up again to present an exciting evening of dance. The resident companies bring the best of ballet and contemporary dance to the stage which will include a special multi-media collaboration with award-winning Erie children’s book author Mary Arete Moodey. The Saturday evening performance will benefit SafeNet, Erie’s domestic violence safety network, and the Dance Department’s Jenni-Lyn Memorial Scholarship Fund. Following the Friday and Saturday evening performances meet and talk with the dancers and choreographers at the “Talk Back” session.

Raw Edges

Mary D'Angelo Performing Arts Center

Friday, May 01, 2015 - 4:30 pm 

Saturday, May 02, 2015 - 2:00 pm 

Saturday, May 02, 2015 - 7:00 pm 

Sunday, May 03, 2015 - 2:00 pm

Presented by The Mercyhurst Dancers and Returning Alumni

, Now in its 17th year, Raw Edges is a Mercyhurst dance tradition showcasing the work of student and guest choreographers. This year’s performance will feature the first movement of The Waldstein Sonata, the unfinished work by modern dance legend, José Limón, and completed by Daniel Lewis of the José Limón Dance Foundation. Intermissions will include a “Talk Back” session, an opportunity for the audience to explore insights into the choreography with the choreographers. Always fresh and imaginative, Raw Edges will keep you at the edge of your seat.


Please visit our MIAC site for more information


Alumni Information




Lauren Stenroos


Dayton Ballet

Erin Alarcon


Ballet Nebraska

Alyssa Alger


ASU; Master’s of Dance

Theresa Bonivuto


Ohio Dance Theatre, Dance, Choreog, Teacher

Michelle Conroy


Gin Dance Company

Danielle Feller


Princess Cruises; dancer/ACPM; MU Dance Department; Admin. Assist

Amanda Fisher


Bodiography Contemporary Ballet Co.

Elizabeth Galloway


Atlanta Festival Ballet

Sarah Hartmans


Lake Erie Ballet; instructor

Jennifer Kitchens


Atlanta Festival Ballet

Rachel Leavenworth


La Luna Dance Studio; instructor

Jennifer Mihu


Washington Redskins Cheerleader

Eliza Quigley


Walt Disney World Entertainment

Trevor Sones


Royal Carribbean Cruiseline, CATS National Tour

Elizabeth Watson


ASU; Master’s of Dance

Jessica Borowczyk


Bodiography Contemporary Ballet; dancer, choreog, faculty

Heather Gorres


Dance Theatre of Tennessee

Claire Hinde


Gelsey Kirkland Academy of Classical Ballet; Student Life Coordinator

Sarah Hricko


Dance Cleveland, Admins. Coordinator

Heather Mills


Ballet Theatre of Maryland

Lindsey Smith


Storling Dance Theatre

Amy Deer


Dance Now! Ensemble

Kelly Clymer


Dancing Wheels

Julianna Franks


Seven Dance Co.

Kristina Weimer


Joffrey Performance Group

Rachel Meislin


Atlanta Festival Ballet

Kathleen Hays


Baltimore Ballet School & Company

Anastasia Welsh


Manassas Ballet Theater

Eileen McDonnell


Columbus Dance Theater

Kelsey Chamberlain


Marshall Ellis Dance Inc.

Tess Sinke


Tapestry Dance CO.

William Dula


Ballet Flemming

Rachel Gnatowski


Baltimore Ballet

Ashley Cook


Ballet Quad Cities

Linnea Stureson


Giordano Dance Chicago (junior performer)

Emily McAveney


Ballet Fleming

Alexandra Orenstein


The Lexington Ballet Company (apprentice)

Allegra Glinsky


NYC free-lance teacher

Rachel Bauer


Missouri Ballet Theatre

Andrea Lankester


Ballet Fleming (apprentice)

Tiffani Thomas


Gainesville Ballet Co. (apprentice)

Emily Reed


Ballet Theater of Maryland (apprentice)



The dance department is proud to provide you with our newsletter, To the Pointe... Each edition is filled with exciting news from the dance department including student and faculty experiences and accomplishments.

Fall 2012

Spring 2012




Social Media and Photo Gallery

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

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

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

Melissa Bobick Assistant Professor

Michael Gleason B.A. 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 M.F.A Professor, Chairperson Office: danceSpace Phone: (814) 824-2587