Program Strength

The program endorses dance as a politically, socially and spiritually transformative force in society. In other words, the MFA engages students at the vanguard of contemporary dance culture and praxis, and encourages practice-based research with emphasis on socio-political processes that result in tangible contributions to the culture at large. We are passionate about creating an environment that supports interdisciplinary knowledge gained through continued embodied practice.

The MFA in Dance endeavors to cultivate new strategies and forms of movement as well as choreographic engagements with the lived environment through critical thinking, artistic activity and scholarly inquiry. The program fosters collaborations across disciplines in the training of sophisticated and creative art practitioners, mentoring students to identify and follow their own direction of inquiry in order to create an individually-tailored curriculum. Students are drawn into a rigorous peer-to-peer learning environment with an abundance of external stimulation and inspiration. We envisage that our students will become leaders in the social and politically relevant developments in the expanded fields of dance and choreography.

Students will apply with a formulated research proposal, which, if accepted, will be developed through the extensive cross and interdisciplinary study opportunities available at Duke.

To underscore the importance of interdisciplinarity in this program, 21 of the 48 required graduate units will be available in one or more research specific fields related to dance (such as gender, sexuality and feminist studies, cultural anthropology, psychology, neuroscience, religious studies, new media, etc.), to be counted towards elective requirements. Students may formulate projects formatted in multi-media, site-specific work, live art, ritual performance, social choreography, political advocacy, movement techniques, conflict resolution, mind-body awareness, therapeutic healing, psycho-spiritual experiments, and any variety of themes that demonstrate openness to dance as the technology of the self and of the social sphere.