Research Areas

The Department of Dance is nationally acclaimed and has a long-standing tradition of excellence offering an educational environment integrating performance opportunities, creative projects, and theoretical studies. Our wide-ranging areas of research and study create an environment in which students create, perform, analyze and investigate dance from experiential, historical, philosophical and scientific perspectives.

The curriculum features a wide range of studio courses designed to build strong technical skills. UCI emphasizes the traditional techniques of classical ballet and modern dance. The department offers these techniques, as well as jazz, in multi-level sequences. Training in choreography ranges widely from the free exploration of movement, space, sound, and formal concepts, to the study of the craft of choreography for both theatre and video dance.

Students have many opportunities to perform and to choreograph, which include the Department’s four annual concerts, as well as many interdisciplinary productions.

In lecture courses, students develop literacy and methodological skills in a variety of disciplines including movement analysis, Laban studies and reconstruction, critical issues in dance, dance history, teaching methods, dance science, arts management, and music for dancers. These courses provide training in the many disciplines of dance study and enhance the students’ understanding of dance as an art form, a physical discipline, a means of social and ritual expression, and an integral component of human life and culture world-wide.


The UCI Dance Department is one of the largest and most comprehensive university dance programs in the United States. Our philosophy embraces dance in its many forms, offering multiple levels of ballet, modern dance, jazz, tap, Spanish dance, ballroom dance and a changing selection of dance forms such as Indian (Bharata Natyam and Kathak), Tango, African, and Sri Lankan dance.


Every year, faculty choreographers, undergraduate dance majors, and dance graduate students create original choreography that is performed in one of our state of the art theatres.  Our new Experimental Media Performance Lab provides opportunities for choreographers to explore the use of video and audience-performer relationship.


UCI was one of the first in the United States to have a full-time position dedicated to Dance and Technology research and creative work. With the installation of our dedicated motion capture studio in 1998, our students were among the first dance students anywhere in the world to gain experience with motion capture technology integrated with dance performance.

Dance Medicine and Science

UCI Dance provides an environment where dancers study the theories of human motion with opportunities for sound, logical, and meaningful dance activities linking theory and practice in the context of dance techniques, choreography, and pedagogy. The goal is to encourage informed dancers who move with knowledge of how their body may move efficiently, effectively, and expressively with out injury to reach their full potential as a performer with the highest possible level of neuromuscular skills.

History and Theory

UCI undergraduate dance majors take three quarters of dance history, covering many kinds of dance, with two of them giving special emphasis to the concert forms of ballet, modern, and contemporary dance. Students are encouraged to understand not only the evolution of dance as an art form, but the place of dance in world events,

Critical Issues in Dance

Exploring the power of dance through writing and arguing for points of view. UCI Dance points to the many ways of discussing the relevance and primacy of dance as it relates to, for instance, issues that surround sexuality, human rights, censorship, ethnicities, hierarchies, and gender.