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Dance Dept. FAQs

What kind of dancer is the best candidate for the Mercyhurst University Dance Department?

  • The Mercyhurst Dance Department is classical ballet rooted program that caters to the well-rounded dancer by offering elective courses in jazz, modern, tap, choreography, pedagogy, music theory and more.  While the dance major is required to take ballet every term, they have the freedom to mold the program to their personal needs and expectations by their choice in elective courses to accompany those ballet courses.  However- the most successful and ideal applicant to the Mercyhurst Dance Department molds their high school dance education around an average of 4-5 hours of ballet a week.  This dancer also places high priority in their academics and scholastic achievements, which easily transitions them to a university status dance major anchored in a liberal arts setting. 

Can a dancer come take a dance major level ballet class when visiting for a campus tour?

  • No.  Unfortunately, the only time a prospective dancer major can participate in a dance major class is via their dance application and confirmation of audition.  However, when scheduling campus visits, dancers are welcome to contact the dance department and schedule a time to come in and observe dance classes and have a chance to meet with department chair, Tauna Hunter. 

What separates the Mercyhurst Dance Department from the rest?

  • The department acts as a whole-no huge divide between concentrations or classes-everyone works together to help one another and to be a family in order to promote confidence and a huge success rate as seniors begin to go audition. The network that Mercyhurst alum has established reaches across the globe. The department as a whole has sponsored dance conferences on site such as ACDFA and RDA; which they have plans to continue to do in the future. When they are not hosting them, they send groups of interested students to ACDFA, RDA, and Project Dance (a liturgical dance conference: this year in Jerusalem).  They have a group that travels to Tanzsommer in Austria, every summer as well as a network with ABT for the summer college program; which allows transfer credits for the dance major.  Starting next year, the program will have a foreign exchange dance study program in Paris, France as well.  The dance faculty in the Mercyhurst Dance Department is willing to try to accommodate anything that interests a dance major and will go that extra mile to make sure they are successful.  The department acts as a united support system before, during, and after a dancer’s time as a dance major.

Where will I be having all of my dance classes?

  • The Dance Department enjoys a state of the art complex including expansive studios, faculty and staff offices, lecture room, dressing rooms, lobby and student lounge. This self contained complex neighbors the Art Department and is adjacent to the D'Angelo School of Music and the Mary D'Angelo Performing Arts Center.

Are there any kinds of reviews as a dance major throughout my four years?

  • All dance majors are required to participate in annual reviews. Portfolios outlining Dance Progress, Academic Scholarship and Service are submitted to a review board for evaluation for continuing as a dance major. A more extensive review takes place in the sophomore year to determine if a student should continue as a dance major. The review board is comprised of the dance faculty and at the discretion of the faculty, invited members with expertise in the field. The board’s approval is required for students to continue in the B.A. Dance program and for acceptance into the Department’s Performance Concentration or Applied Theory Concentration. Majors are expected to maintain a 3.0 grade point average in all dance courses and a 2.5 accumulative grade point average. Majors are evaluated in terms of their grades and overall performance including their ability to sustain an injury free work ethic and establish a professional approach to a theatrical aesthetic that includes maintaining a positive approach to mental and physical wellness and health. Their attendance record, potential for promotion and successful completion of all requirements including service to the dance department and community are also considered.
    Student Handbook Policies and Procedures

    A Student Handbook is provided each year to each dance major and minor outlining the policies and procedures for the Dance Department. Guidelines for the four-year Portfolio Review and a recommended degree plan are also included.

What are the expectations for attendance in dance major courses?

  • Dance students are expected to attend all classes and rehearsals, and are also held responsible for any work missed because of tardiness or absence.  Absences may be made up according to the policies and procedures of the student handbook.  Attendance is of major importance to the students’ progress and retention of a dance scholarship.  

Will there be academic work associated with my dance classes?

  • The Dance Department supports the Mercyhurst Writing Across the Curriculum program by requiring writing assignments as part of the curriculum. 

What other clubs or organizations are linked with the dance department?

  • Aside from the The Liturgical Dance Ensemble, dance majors can also participate in two other student run organizations: Nu Delta Alpha and Dance Club. 
    Mercyhurst University's Nu Delta Alpha (NDA) chapter is an honors society that recognizes students for their achievements, both artistically and academically, in the dance world. Nu Delta Alpha's focus is to promote academic excellence in the dance field and provide outreach opportunities for Mercyhurst students and faculty as well as the community at large. NDA participates in annual service projects such as the Erie Festival of Dance and the Phi Eta Sigma Talent Show and facilitates performance and outreach at Assisted Living and Children’s Learning Centers. Additionally, this honors society conducts fundraising events such as “Candy Grams,” apparel and bake sales, senior cords sales, Dancers Responding to Aids, and cancer prevention programs to build community, benefit department functions, and, most recently, to supply the Jenni-Lyn Memorial Scholarship Fund. In the 2010-2011 Academic Year, Nu Delta Alpha received the Most Philanthropic Club/Organization Award from Mercyhurst University.  The mission of the Mercyhurst chapter of Nu Delta Alpha is to promote academic achievement, voluntary outreach work, and a sense of community within the organization. 

    Dance Club is a student run organization that is open to not only dance majors, but also all students on campus.  The Dance Club supports and raises money to help enforce the awareness of the art of dance across campus. It provides students with service opportunities, sponsors the Mercyhurst Dance Department, organizes fieldtrips to other dance related organizations or performances, and produces a yearly calendar to raise funds for the Jenni-Lyn Watson Memorial Scholarship Fund.