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.

Fast Facts

  • Students can choose between a more rigorous BFA track, or the B.A. 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

  • The dance department is home to over four 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. 

BFA and B.A. in Dance

Accredited by the National Association of Schools of Dance, the classical and contemporary ballet focused program is designed to offer a wide range of mandated curriculum in dance that will include courses in a diverse array of dance techniques, history, choreography, pedagogy, dance sciences and most importantly, numerous performance opportunities.  Leadership development opportunities are abundant for performing ensembles that tour regionally, nationally, and internationally as well as three clubs, service, internships, and study abroad programs. 

Before students graduate, they are offered a variety of main stage performance opportunities, including faculty and guest artist concerts, full length ballets, musicals, student choreography concerts and performances with SoMar Dance Works  (by audition only) and The Mercyhurst Dancers.  Students are regularly introduced to renowned guest teachers and choreographers, and are encouraged to participate in theatre and opera where dance opportunities are available. To extend their academic and dance achievements, the program also boasts a collection of student run organizations including Dance Club, Liturgical Dance Ensemble, and the National Honors Society for Dance Arts.

BFA in Dance

This degree is targeted to students who aspire to a career in professional concert, commercial performance and/or choreography with long term goals set on leadership following their performance career. The degree mandates additional curriculum in dance techniques, performances and choreography to support professional experiences and leadership in these areas of the field. It can also accommodate a some dual majors.

View Degree Requirements

B.A. in Dance

This program is intended for the student who wishes to pursue a rigorous degree program of combined general and dance studies. The degree allows a student to complete a dual major or minor that complementary to the field and/or a concentration in pedagogy or to complete accelerated programming. Emphasis is placed on the development of transferable skills that will support transitions inside or outside the dance field.

View Degree Requirements

Dancing Safely

The Department of Dance has been proactive in following University and state-wide precautions to limit the spread of COVID-19 in the following ways:

  • Maintaining 8 foot social distancing in classes
  • Having assigned spots in the studio to allow for contact tracing
  • Utilizing masks for pas de deux courses
  • Mandatory mask wearing at all times
  • Disinfecting all surfaces after use (ex. Printers, desks, chairs, etc)
  • Utilizing virtual resources for master classes, guest artist residencies, and prospective student auditions to limit visitors as necessary
  • Participating in university-wide random and strategic COVID-19 testing


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


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.


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

2021-2022 Performance Season

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

Swan Lake

Mary D’Angelo Performing Arts Center, Mercyhurst University

In a world where swans turn into princesses each night, a prince must trust his heart or risk losing the love of his life to the sorceress von Rothbart’s spell forever. Set to Tchaikovsky’s glittering and mournful score, Swan Lake is a magical tale of love, power, and mistaken identities. The Mercyhurst University Dance Department and the Mercyhurst Civic Orchestra are delighted to collaborate once again to bring this poignant tale to life. Condensed into two acts, the newly imagined production retains the iconic elements of the original choreography – with a twist.

  • Friday, Nov. 12, 2021, 7 p.m.
  • Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021, 7 p.m.
  • Sunday, Nov. 14, 2021, 2 p.m.
  • Friday, Nov. 19, 2021, 7 p.m.
  • Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021, 7 p.m.
  • Sunday, Nov. 21, 2021, 2 p.m.

National Water Dance

Dobbins Landing, Erie Maritime Museum, and Blasco Library H.O. Hirt Auditorium

Merging dance, art, music, and science, National Water Dance Erie: The Ripple Effect is a collaborative community performance designed to get people thinking and talking about water equity and care. The event starts at Dobbins Landing (weather permitting), travels along the waterfront performance pathway into the Erie Maritime Museum door, and finishes in Blasco Library’s Hirt Auditorium. Past performances have included local artists, bands, and companies, offering innovative water researched/inspired dance, visual art, and music performances in both site-specific and traditional theatre settings.  Hosted by Mercyhurst’s Dance and Chemistry Departments with community partners, biochemist associate professor Amy Parente will frame the performance with water research and a science talk.

  • Saturday, Apr. 23, 4 p.m.

Raw Edges XXIII

Mary D’Angelo Performing Arts Center, Mercyhurst University

As a showcase for emerging choreographers, Raw Edges is a Mercyhurst tradition spanning decades. Every year brings a fresh batch of young artists spreading their wings and presenting remarkable dance works. Join us for this annual dance concert and the intermission “Talk Back” sessions with the choreographers, who will share insights into their creative process. With an exciting mix of music and dance styles, it is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat.

  • Friday, Apr. 29, 2022, 7 p.m.
  • Saturday, Apr. 30, 2022, 2 p.m.
  • Saturday, Apr. 30, 2022, 7 p.m.
  • Sunday, May 1, 2022, 2 p.m.