Expanding dance across communities, cultures and contexts

Duke's Master of Fine Arts in Dance: Embodied Interdisciplinary Praxis encourages students to pursue practice-based research interventions that make tangible contributions to the local cultures and communities to which they belong.

We embrace dance and embodied performance as vital research topics, theories and methods of knowledge production with powerful implications across non-arts areas of study.

MFA students work closely with Duke faculty advisors and faculty from allied disciplines to translate the potential of practice-based creative inquiry across the expanse of the campus. Through a graduate experience that is uniquely Duke, the dance MFA program prepares artists to assume future roles as rigorous translators of the power and value of embodied knowledge within ever-expanding fields of arts production.

The best of a world-class liberal arts research university

The MFA in Dance: Embodied Interdisciplinary Praxis is a 2-year, full-time terminal degree in dance that was launched in 2019.

We guide students through practice-based, interdisciplinary research in the service of society. We don't just encourage substantial study in related disciplines. We require it.

In addition to training alongside our acclaimed dance faculty, our students take advantage of Duke's outstanding graduate programs in the humanities, area studies, public policy and elsewhere—all to create projects that use dance as a lens for exploring the human experience.

Learn about the program Read a profile of the MFA

Meet the Class of 2021Meet the Class of 2022Meet the Class of 2023

Practicing theory, theorizing practice

To launch your inquiry, you will take three key courses:  

Choreographic Praxis, which serves as an introduction to the practice and theory of the expanded field of choreography

Movement Research, which offers individually tailored pathways of study while providing a framework for reflection and discussion

Theories of Corporeality, which offers theoretical frames for articulating the social, political, cultural, phenomenological and economic significance of the body across humanities disciplines

During the summer of their first year, students also conduct artistic research projects as part of a collaboration with the American Dance Festival.

Get curriculum details

Get more info

Prospective MFA students are encouraged fill out our prospective student information sheet to hear from Duke Dance MFA Director of Graduate Studies Sarah Wilbur.

You can also email Director Wilbur to schedule a one-on-one conversation.

Sign up for an info session

Colleagues in scholarship

Your research will be shaped through collaboration with the rest of your diverse cohort.

We are open to artist-students with expertise in all forms of movement practice from any culture or geographical area. Current and past students have specialized in African dance, hip hop, ballet, couture, Brazilian traditions and more.

They have used those practices to build spaces for Black arts, improve patient care in medical settings, challenge stereotypes about acceptable bodies, facilitate intercultural programming, organize youth around the world and support those with disabilities—in addition to many pursuing careers as dancers and choreographers.

Read about the 2021 cohort

Read about the 2022 cohort

Financial support

Incoming students may be eligible for financial support in the form of teaching assistantships, program fellowships or tuition awards. However, there is currently not sufficient aid available to cover full tuition. In addition to any financial awards, most students finance their education through a combination of loans, grants and work study.

Start your application

Visit the Dance Program website to learn about the application components, then head to the Graduate School website to submit your application.

Apply now