Prospective Students FAQ

How do I gain admission to the School of Music and Dance? 

Admission to the SMD is a two-step process. The first step is to apply to the University online through CalState Apply. The next is to fill out an application to audition for the School of Music and Dance. 

How do I apply?

Pease visit the dance application page.

When are auditions held?

We recommend that all prospective students audition during the regularly scheduled scholarship auditions.  If you live beyond the 250-mile radius of San José, or cannot attend the regularly scheduled auditions, please contact the Prof. Heather Cooper, program director for dance.

May dance minors audition for scholarships?

SJSU awards annual merit-based scholarships ranging from $200-$9,000 per year. All dance majors are eligible, while minors can receive scholarship assistance dependent upon the needs of the School.

How many students are enrolled in the School of Music & Dance?

Approximately 70 dance majors and 350 music majors and are currently enrolled in the School of Music & Dance.

What performing opportunities do you offer?

The dance program presents at least seven, separate, fully produced concerts annually with a total of eighteen to twenty performances on campus. A student company also perform outside the university. In addition, the program sponsors six informal showings each year of studies from choreography classes. All performances take place in the Studio Dance Theatre that is fully equipped with a Marley floor, theatrical draperies, lighting, and sound.

May non-majors dance in the ensembles?

Yes, all ensembles are open to all majors on an audition basis.

Am I assigned to a specific teacher?
When you audition, you will be placed into a specific studio based on the size and availability of each individual program area instructor.

May I visit the School?

Yes! You are invited to tour our campus, meet with faculty, and sit in on classes and ensemble rehearsals. Please contact us to set up a visit. Additionally, Be a Dances Major for a Day provides an opportunity for prospective students to take a look at the campus, sit in on classes, dance with the dance troupes, and experience a little of what it is like to be an SMD student. 

May I dance in more than one troupe?

Yes, you may dance in more than one troupe.

What degrees do you offer?

What is the faculty-to-student ratio?

There are twelve students to every one faculty member. This excellent faculty/student ratio means that professors are more readily accessible, and instruction is provided only by experienced faculty members rather than graduate students or teaching assistants.

What types of dance are presented, and who directs and choreographs for the student companies?

The dance program sponsors University Dance Theatre, a performing company that focuses on contemporary repertory, including modern, jazz, tap, ballet, and hip hop. The company is directed by faculty with professional experience as performers and choreographers. Guest professionals regularly choreograph pieces for our students. Membership is by audition the previous spring. University Dance Theatre represents the university at the American College Dance Festival each year.

Do students have opportuntites to perform outside of School?

Students are eligible to perform outside the School.  Please check with your dance advisors for details.

Are students encouraged and supported in their efforts to create new works?

Students are encouraged to find their own voice creatively and in the style or technique of their choice. Students benefit from many opportunities to have their works produced.

Is there an annual student concert?

Three concerts of student choreography are produced annually. Second semester choreography students present a concert in the spring. Any student who has completed two semesters of choreography is eligible to choreograph for the fall concert. Each fall, graduating seniors in the BA program present a senior project in the form of performance or choreography. All majors are eligible to perform in these concerts, including freshmen. Each spring, seniors in the BFA program present the Senior Portfolio concert wherein they are evaluated in performance and/or choreography.

What opportunities are available to work back stage?

Each dance major is required to serve on back stage crews of three concerts before graduation and must complete the Dance Production course, which includes an introduction to dance lighting, costuming, stage management, and publicity.

Is an audition required?

Yes. Students interested in the BA program must complete a placement audition. Students interested in the BFA program must audition for acceptance. Contact the dance director, Prof. Heather Cooper to register.

What types of dance classes are offered?

The dance program offers four levels of classes in ballet, jazz, and modern technique, and two levels of tap. Also offered are hip hop and the Techniques of World Dance course, which in the past has included Capoeira, African-Caribbean, East Indian (Bharata Natyam), Polynesian, Flamenco and Mexican Folkloric. All classes meet twice a week except advanced levels in modern, jazz, and ballet, which meet three times a week. Classes are one hour and forty-five minutes in length.

Can I specialize in one area of technique?

Juniors must declare primary and secondary areas of specialization in technique in either modern or jazz. Ballet, though not an area of specialization, is required for all BA candidates.

Is live music provided for technique classes?

Yes, all modern and ballet classes have accompanists.

How many majors are in the program?

The program has approximately 70 majors, a number that allows for significant individual attention.

Do graduates from the program go on to professional careers?

Graduates from the dance program have gone on to careers as professional performers and/or choreographers in concert companies and in musical theatre, both nationally and regionally. Many go on to teach in private schools, while others obtain a credential and teach in public schools. A number of graduates go on to earn advanced degrees.

What time can I buy tickets?

Tickets may be purchased online, and typically go on sale about 6 weeks before the event.  For purchases at the door, the Box Office opens about a half-hour before the concert begins. Most concerts start at 7:00pm.

Is photography allowed in the Dance Theater?

No flash photography is allowed during the concert.

Are special priced student or senior tickets available?

Yes—see the online ticket sale website for details.

Where is the SJSU campus located?

Directions to SJSU.

How do I find the Dance Theater?

The Dance Theater, SPX 216, is located on the west side of the campus, directly across the new STEM building construction.  The Dance Theater part of SPX.  The closest parking structure is the 4th St/San Salvadore Garage.  For special accommodations, contact the main office at (408) 924-4673 or email dance@sjsu.edu