Dance Performance and Choreography

BFA in Dance with a concentration in Performance and Choreography

About the degree

Our versatile program gives you the experience to enjoy a professional career as a dancer, a choreographer, or both.

When you arrive on campus as a freshman, you’ll begin a rigorous course of study in ballet, modern and jazz. Each year, you’ll continue studying these forms, gaining both a depth and breadth of knowledge. In addition, you’ll take classes in improvisation, theatre technology, kinesiology, pedagogy and history. In your senior year, you’ll deliver a choreography project.

You’ll find yourself on stage—a lot—in McGinnis Theatre, the Archie Burnette Studio Theatre and on tour to stages across the region. You’ll perform faculty, student and guest artist works for appreciative audiences, both large and intimate.

While you master your craft with our dedicated and decorated faculty, we’ll enhance your education with guest artist residences, invite you to audition to learn the work of acclaimed guest choreographers and share performances by world-class companies with you.

In recent years, we’ve hosted masterclasses with Lane Alexander, Monica Bill Barnes, Sidra Bell, Mark Dendy, Michelle Dorrance, Irene Dowd, Mark Haim, Ellie Lazar, Gene Medler, Mia Michaels, Eddie Ocampo, Nick Pupillo, Robert Small, Colleen Thomas, Doug Varone, Edward Villela and Bill Young.

Recently, David Dorfman, Frank Chavez, Roni Koresh and David Parsons set their choreography on ECU dancers. We took the work to our mainstage and to national conferences.

In addition to performances produced by the School of Theatre and Dance, the College’s S. Rudolph Alexander Performing Arts Series remains committed to presenting contemporary dance companies in residence, with the long-term support of South Arts’ Dance Touring Initiative. In recent years, the series has presented performances by Ballet Memphis, Bodytraffic, David Dorfman Dance, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, Dorrance Dance, Doug Varone and Dancers, Parsons Dance Company, Philadanco, River North Dance Chicago, Ronald K. Brown/Evidence: A Dance Company and Urban Bushwomen.

Student experiences

Students can join the East Carolina Dance Association, an organization dedicated to supporting dancers by engaging guest artists and organizing trips to see concert dance. ECU is an active member of the American College Dance Association and frequently participates in conferences and convenings. In addition to two mainstage productions annually, students perform and choreograph in multiple studio concerts each semester.

In the last several years, dancers have won Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity awards to support new choreography, multimedia performance and community-engaged work in alternative venues. Dancers use state-of-the-art equipment to learn about the human body in motion at ECU’s Innovation Design Lab and have the opportunity to study dance science and technique in London through our unique partnership with Trinity Laban Conservatoire, all while immersing yourself in the history and culture of vibrant European cities.


How do I learn more about the program?

Contact Marissa Nesbit at or 252-328-6325.


Teal Darkenwald, modern, jazz

John Dixon, modern

Tommi Galaska, jazz

Jayme Klinger Host, modern, dance history, Director School of Theatre and Dance

David Ingram, ballet

Dirk Lumbard, tap

Galina Panova, ballet

Marissa Nesbit, dance education/dance area coordinator