Mercyhurst University

Dance Bachelor of Arts • Bachelor of Fine Arts

Artistic expression, technical excellence, transferable skills

If you dream of performing, choreographing, teaching, running a studio, or engaging with your community, a degree in dance can help you set the stage.

The Mercyhurst Department of Dance is a classical ballet program rooted in the liberal arts tradition and accredited by the National Association of Schools of Dance.  Our Bachelor of Fine Arts and Bachelor of Arts offerings emphasize the development of professional dancers, teachers, choreographers and scholars.

The rigorous programming emphasizes high quality training in a supportive environment from a faculty of experienced professionals, with the mission to generate leaders in the dance field.

In addition to numerous performing opportunities (regionally, nationally, and internationally), our diverse curriculum (which includes an array of dance techniques, history, choreography, pedagogy, theory, and dance-related sciences), offers enough flexibility to accommodate the pursuit of a minor or even a second major. With leadership development as a goal, our department houses three clubs and offers service opportunities, internships, and study abroad programs.

Through our program you will gain experiences and cultivate skills that are necessary for the dance field, and are also applicable and transferable to a wide variety of careers.



The dance department is home to over 4 different performance ensembles including the Mercyhurst Dancers, The Liturgical Dance Ensemble, SoMar Dance Works, and Dance Outreach. 



Dance majors will have the opportunity to perform between two to four times a year in our mainstage performances at the beautiful Mary D’Angelo Performing Arts Center, regardless of year or age. 



Students can choose between a more rigorous BFA track, or the BA track with options to minor and double major in other areas. 



Each year the dance department brings in between five to eight guest artists to work with majors in masterclass and residency formats. 


We asked our students to tell us why they love studying dance?
Image for Jenna Swartz '20
"Living my passion every day"
Jenna Swartz '20
Image for Marcela Gomez Lugo '19
"Independent learning and artistic development."
Marcela Gomez Lugo '19
Image for Megan Carnuche '20
"Outwardly expressing strength and passion"
Megan Carnuche '20
Image for Austin Duclos
"Beautiful, exhilarating, dedication, imaginative, passionate"
Austin Duclos
Image for Kathryn Galimi '18
"You will always have 70+ people in your corner"
Kathryn Galimi '18

DANC 105 Dance Essentials

A freshmen seminar course that serves as an extensive orientation to the dance department, ballet and theater terminology, dance psychology, stage make-up, and basic injury prevention.

DANC 107 Global Perspectives Through Yoga

A global perspective through a historical, philosophical, physiological, and practical introduction to yoga. Students will explore the evolution and progression of yoga as a form of cultural expression, track yoga's rising popularity in the west, and experience various practices and techniques. 

DANC 175 Liturgical Dance: Concepts and Perceptions

This course examines both past and present trends using dance in a liturgical context. The course covers historical, theological, and cultural milieus addressing and analyzing how dance is woven into the fabric of Roman Catholic liturgical celebrations.  




Each year, students from the Mercyhurst Dance Department perform in two to four mainstage productions at the Mary D’Angelo Performing Arts Center. View upcoming and past performances here.

Getting Jobs


Our graduates have performed with the St. Louis Ballet, Cleveland Ballet Conservatory, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Nashville Ballet, Miami City Ballet, Dance/USA and with touring Broadway and European stage productions.

Perform Across the Globe


Students have studied and danced internationally in locations such as Ireland, Australia, Amsterdam, London, and Jerusalem.

Meet the Faculty

C. Noelle Partusch, M.F.A.
Professor, Chairperson
Tauna Hunter, M.F.A
Mark Santillano, M.A.L.S.
Assistant Professor
Solveig Santillano, M.F.A., M.A.L.S., R.Y.T., C.E.T.
Associate Professor
Lesley Bories-Scalise
Guest Artist in Residence
Richard DiFiore, M.F.A.
Adjunct Professor, Music Director, Principal Pianist
Faculty Image for 
Andrew Ferguson
Andrew Ferguson, B.M.
Adjunct Professor, Technical Director
Faculty Image for 
Michael Gleason
Michael Gleason, B.A.
Adjunct Professor
Danielle Kaiser, B.A.
Adjunct Professor, Administrative Assistant