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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


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


Additional Programming

Arts Management Minor
Organizational Leadership


A Midsummer Night's Dream - November 7 - 9

midsummer night's dream



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

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



Sara Lawrence


Dancing Wheels

Noelle Lelakus


Former Dancer with Missouri Contemporary Ballet

Danielle Feller

Master Classes

PGT Entertainment, Princess Cruises (Line Captain)

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

Lesley Bories-Scalise

Master Classes

Former soloist with Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre

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

Trevor Sones

Master Classes

Current performer with “Beauty and the Beast” on Broadway

Justin Hogan

Master Classes/Guest Artist

Current dancer with Louisville Ballet, Former dancer with St. Louis Ballet

Alyssa Alger

Master Classes/Guest Artist

MFA from University of Arizona, Featured in Dance Magazine

Erin Alarcon

Master Classes

Company Dancer with Ballet Nebraska, Recipient of the Omaha Entertainment & Arts “Best Featured Dancer” Award

Elizabeth Watson

Master Classes

MFA from University of Arizona

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



  • 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

Performance Groups

 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. 


Alumni Information




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

For more multimedia material, check out the Mercyhurst University Dance Department's Facebook, Twitter, blog, or Pinterest. Also check out Eileen's "The Lakers' Dancing Doctor" blog.

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

Lesley Bories-Scalise Adjunct Faculty 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 Associate Professor, Chairperson Office: danceSpace Phone: (814) 824-2587