Five female students lean back, striking a pose as a blonde woman twirls in the center.

Undergraduate degrees: BA or BS
Undergraduate minor

Dance courses have been offered at the UO for over a century, predating the first academic dance major programs in the country by more than a decade. The UO Department of Dance has evolved into a collaborative, dynamic laboratory in which student performers are given the tools—academic, artistic, technical, and social—to hone their craft to professional caliber.

Your curriculum will include course work in dance history, improvisation, composition, and pedagogy. The performance curriculum has a modern dance emphasis with a strong supporting area in ballet. You can also take studio courses—offered from beginning to advanced levels—in a variety of other idioms, including jazz, tap, hip hop, African, ballroom, tango, swing, improvisation, and contact improvisation.

Dance faculty members encourage a rigorous physical, theoretical, and creative investigation of dance. They regularly advise dance majors and partner with students for independent studies, internships, and senior projects to facilitate personal research and performance interests. As a UO dancer you’ll be encouraged to collaborate with musicians, composers, and other visual and performing artists on campus to create new works.

Residencies and master classes allow you to dance alongside, and under the direction of, artists such as Holly Johnston, Darrin Wright, Gabe Masson, Heidi Duckler, Habib Iddrisu, Alito Alessi, and Ronald K. Brown.

The Dougherty Dance Theatre

Two of the four spacious dance rehearsal studios in Gerlinger Annex transform to become the 250-seat M. Frances Dougherty Dance Theatre, with lighting and stage equipment for department concerts. Thanks to a recent $250,000 renovation, all four of the studios boast state-of-the-art sprung floors to facilitate our dancers’ pioneering artistic work—not to mention their health and safety.

Performance Opportunities

  • The department supports and produces up to ten student-centered concerts and showings each academic year. Both majors and nonmajors are eligible to audition.
  • The University of Oregon Repertory Dance Company (UORDC) tours throughout the state to forge community partnerships. UORDC is pleased to serve as company-in-residence for arts organizations and schools on the Oregon coast and in southern Oregon.
  • Dance Africa brings internationally known artists from African cultural groups to campus throughout the year to teach classes and perform.

Dance Oregon

The department partners with the student organization Dance Oregon to plan an annual trip for UO dancers to attend the American College Dance Festival. Dance Oregon also invites guest artists to campus during National Dance Week to discuss creativity and craft. Recent guests have included Zoe Scofield, Kathleen Hermesdorf, and Mark Haim.

Active Alumni

Since founding somebodies dance theater in 2008, UO alumni Gina Bolles Sorensen, MFA ’08, and Kyle Sorensen ’09 have energized San Diego’s contemporary dance scene, garnering numerous accolades and touring in Mexico and throughout the United States. The artistic codirectors say that their UO connections continue to provide opportunities for performance and collaboration.

“Our professors not only instilled in us a solid understanding of the fundamentals of dance technique and choreography,” says Bolles Sorensen, “they encouraged us to forge relationships with fellow students as we nurtured our own unique voices.”


There is no audition for BA or BS dance majors, but students seeking the BFA in dance must audition. Students may audition for the BFA program prior to their first or second year at UO. Please contact the Department of Dance for more information: 541-346-3386;

School of Music and Dance
Department of Dance

Contact Information
541-346-3380 fax