10 Dance Conservatories to Consider for College

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Dance is your calling and you’re ready to pirouette into a higher level of education. Whether the next step is an undergraduate college or advanced degree, what you need is a top-notch conservatory where accomplished teachers will push your skills, expand your horizons, and keep you working on pointe.

Below are 10 such conservatories, specializing in different programs and styles of dance. Do your research and determine which might be best for you!

The Boston Conservatory (Boston)
Widely considered the top contemporary program in the U.S., the Boston Conservatory’s Dance Division promotes in its students an awareness of both the inner and outer self, and how the two connect. Bachelor of Fine Arts candidates also have the opportunity to perform as a member of the Boston Conservatory Dance Theater.

California Institute of the Arts (L.A.)
One of the best conservatories on the West Coast—for both traditional and contemporary training—the Sharon Disney Lund School of Dance offers a BFA in dance or an MFA in choreography. Its distinguished faculty and guest artists (as well as choreographer alum Jacques Heim) make it a must on any college dancer’s list.

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Florida State University (Tallahassee, Florida)
FSU’s School of Dance is home to the Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography, the nation’s only choreography center within a research university. Doris Duke Artist Award recipient Jawole Willa Jo Zollar is one of many accolade-collecting faculty members there.

Fordham University (NYC)
Noted primarily for its partnership with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Fordham offers BFA students the best of both worlds: a comprehensive liberal arts education and close collaboration with a world-famous company. Plus, they get to call Lincoln Center home.

Juilliard Dance (NYC)
One of the most competitive programs in the world, accepting around 24 applicants a year, Juilliard Dance provides a four-year undergrad BFA program or a diploma with no liberal arts requirements; both options are as intense as they come. The list of notable alumni goes on and on, of course, and includes Robert Garland and Bebe Neuwirth.

New York University Tisch School of the Arts (NYC)
Tisch’s Department of Dance, offering both BFA and MFA tracks, is regarded as one of the country’s eminent places of study. Worth noting is the school’s concert series in the Jack Crystal Theater, giving students plenty of performance and choreography practice in front of live audiences.

Oklahoma City University (Oklahoma City)
Want to follow in the nimble footsteps of Tony winners Kristin Chenoweth and Kelli O’Hara? With a focus on developing well-rounded students with character, the Ann Lacy School of American Dance and Arts Management launches performers into the country’s upper echelon of entertainment.

Rutgers University (New Brunswick, New Jersey)
The paths of study at the Mason Gross School of the Arts are almost overwhelming: BFA in dance performance, B.A. in dance, five-year BFA or Ed.M.—or just a minor in dance! Rutgers also partners with two prodigious abroad programs, DanceJerusalem in Israel and the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in London.

State University of New York at Purchase (Purchase, New York)
This SUNY school’s Conservatory of Dance offers undergraduate focuses in modern dance or ballet, composition, or production. The country’s very first facility constructed for the performance and study of dance is the Purchase College Dance Building.

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The University of the Arts (Philadelphia)
If it’s integration into a performing arts community you’re looking for, don’t forget the University of the Arts. Philadelphia’s local culture is thriving, and this school’s rigorous and interdisciplinary approach to its dance program is the perfect way to get in on the action.

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Jack Smart
Jack Smart is the awards editor at Backstage, where he covers all things Emmy, SAG, Oscar, and Tony Awards. He also produces and hosts Backstage’s awards podcast “In the Envelope” and has interviewed some of the biggest stars of stage and screen.
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