Bachelor of Fine Arts Curriculum Requirements
The Bachelor of Fine Arts degree is conferred when a student successfully completes a minimum of 120 units and fulfills all curriculum, performance, choreographic, and production requirements of The Sharon Disney Lund School of Dance, and those of the School of Critical Studies. Certificate of Fine Arts candidates do not complete Critical Studies requirements; the remainder of their program is identical to that of BFA candidates. Critical Studies requirements are detailed and course descriptions are provided in the Critical Studies section of this Course Catalog. The entire faculty of The Sharon Disney Lund School of Dance makes all judgments about eligibility for a degree or certificate.
The curriculum is designed to ensure that all students excel in four primary areas: technique/performance, composition/choreography, dance production, and contextual studies. The School of Dance maintains an active production schedule and students are consistently involved in rehearsal processes leading to performance. Performances throughout the year present work by students, faculty, and guest artists. Auditions are held regularly and all students in good standing are eligible to audition throughout the school year.
Students are required to enroll in Contemporary Technique, Hip Hop/Street Dance and Ballet Techniques every semester. Students must also complete six semesters of Composition/Choreography. All choreographic work to be performed at CalArts must be shown to the faculty and student body for critique and guidance during the regularly scheduled Choreo/Performance Lab prior to performance. Students are required to complete a semester course in either the fundamental skills of theatrical production or video production which includes basic principles of lighting design, sound design, costume construction, and video recording. In addition to the required coursework in design and technology, students must complete 4 units of production crewing.
Within the métier, all dance students take courses in dance history, cultural studies, and anatomy of movement. Additionally, students take courses within the School of Critical Studies and other métiers in a broad range of courses designed to provide a breadth of exposure, critical thinking skills, and interdisciplinary collaborations. In addition to the elective courses offered in the dance school, Balinese and African dance are offered through the music school.
Students accepted as transfer students are evaluated at the time of acceptance to ensure appropriate placement in the program. All decisions regarding leaves of absence must be approved by the full faculty. Each student works closely with his or her mentor who provides individualized support and guidance in maximizing the opportunities for personal and professional development through the four years of study.
All students participate in annual reviews with the full faculty. Students must successfully pass the mid-residency review in the spring of the BFA-2 year to continue within the program. Students must successfully pass the graduation review in the final semester to be eligible for conference of the degree of Bachelor of Fine Arts. The BFA program is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Dance and requires successful completion of a minimum of 120 units.
Over the course of study, the Bachelor of Fine Arts candidate will:
- Demonstrate a strong, dexterous, versatile facility in contemporary dance techniques
- Apply knowledge of the choreographic process and a broad view of dance as an art form relevant to today’s art practices
- Apply practical experience and understanding of all aspects of dance performance production
- Demonstrate skill sets for creative problem solving including initiating collaborative dialogue with other artists and art forms.
- Communicate their own artistic vision and needs through spoken and written word
- Students will use the professional tools they are taught to create options for career advancement
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