Artistic expression; technical excellence; transferable skills.

If you dream of performing, choreographing, teaching, running a studio, or engaging with your community, a degree in dance can help you set the stage.

The Mercyhurst Department of Dance is a classical ballet program rooted in the liberal arts tradition and accredited by the National Association of Schools of Dance.  Our Bachelor of Fine Arts and Bachelor of Arts offerings emphasize the development of professional dancers, teachers, choreographers and scholars.

The rigorous programming emphasizes high quality training in a supportive environment from a faculty of experienced professionals, with the mission to generate leaders in the dance field.

In addition to numerous performing opportunities (regionally, nationally, and internationally), our diverse curriculum (which includes an array of dance techniques, history, choreography, pedagogy, theory, and dance-related sciences), offers enough flexibility to accommodate the pursuit of a minor or even a second major. With leadership development as a goal, our department houses three clubs and offers service opportunities, internships, and study abroad programs.

Through our program you will gain experiences and cultivate skills that are necessary for the dance field, and are also applicable and transferable to a wide variety of careers.

Fast Facts

  • Students can choose between a more rigorous BFA track, or the B.A. track with options to minor and double major in other areas

  • Each year the dance department brings in between five to eight guest artists to work with majors in masterclass and residency formats

  • The dance department is home to over four different performance ensembles including the Mercyhurst Dancers, The Liturgical Dance Ensemble, SoMar Dance Works, and Dance Outreach. 

  • Dance majors will have the opportunity to perform between two to four times a year in our mainstage performances at the beautiful Mary D’Angelo Performing Arts Center, regardless of year or age. 

BFA and B.A. in Dance

Accredited by the National Association of Schools of Dance, the classical and contemporary ballet focused program is designed to offer a wide range of mandated curriculum in dance that will include courses in a diverse array of dance techniques, history, choreography, pedagogy, dance sciences and most importantly, numerous performance opportunities.  Leadership development opportunities are abundant for performing ensembles that tour regionally, nationally, and internationally as well as three clubs, service, internships, and study abroad programs. 

Before students graduate, they are offered a variety of main stage performance opportunities, including faculty and guest artist concerts, full length ballets, musicals, student choreography concerts and performances with SoMar Dance Works  (by audition only) and The Mercyhurst Dancers.  Students are regularly introduced to renowned guest teachers and choreographers, and are encouraged to participate in theatre and opera where dance opportunities are available. To extend their academic and dance achievements, the program also boasts a collection of student run organizations including Dance Club, Liturgical Dance Ensemble, and the National Honors Society for Dance Arts.

BFA in Dance

This degree is targeted to students who aspire to a career in professional concert, commercial performance and/or choreography with long term goals set on leadership following their performance career. The degree mandates additional curriculum in dance techniques, performances and choreography to support professional experiences and leadership in these areas of the field. It can also accommodate a some dual majors.

View Degree Requirements

B.A. in Dance

This program is intended for the student who wishes to pursue a rigorous degree program of combined general and dance studies. The degree allows a student to complete a dual major or minor that complementary to the field and/or a concentration in pedagogy or to complete accelerated programming. Emphasis is placed on the development of transferable skills that will support transitions inside or outside the dance field.

View Degree Requirements


Each year, students from the Mercyhurst Dance Department perform in two to four mainstage productions at the Mary D’Angelo Performing Arts Center.


Our graduates have performed with the St. Louis Ballet, Cleveland Ballet Conservatory, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Nashville Ballet, Miami City Ballet, Dance/USA and with touring Broadway and European stage productions.


Students have studied and danced internationally in locations such as Ireland, Australia, Amsterdam, London, and Jerusalem.

Each year, dance department presents internationally acclaimed guest teachers from companies such as American Ballet Theatre, Bad Boys of Dance, Ballet Hispanico, Ballet Jazz de Montreal, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Cuban National Ballet, Dutch National Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, Martha Graham Dance Company, MOMIX, New York City Ballet, North Carolina Dance Theatre, Pilobolus, Paul Taylor Dance Company, STREB Extreme Action, Trey McIntyre Project, Royal Danish Ballet, and Jin Xing Dance Theatre Shanghai.  Below is a list of some of our master classes, guest artists, residencies, and other opportunities that have been affiliated with the Mercyhurst University Dance Department in the past:

Robert Barnett


Former Artistic Director of Atlanta Ballet

Shannon Lee West


Resident Choreographer-Missouri Contemporary Ballet

Kara Jones



Amanda Edge

Master Classes

New York City Ballet, Current performer with “Phantom” on Broadway

Matthew Prescott

Master Classes/Guest Artist Chat

Instructor for Joffrey NYC, Interlochen Arts Academy, Former dancer with Joffrey Ballet, Current performer with “Phantom” on Broadway

Maria Caruso

Master Classes

Bodiography Contemporary Ballet

Ursula Payne

Master Classes/Residency

Slippery Rock University Dance Department Chair

Compagnie Käfig

Master Classes

Performance in MIAC

Moscow Festival Ballet

Master Classes

Performance in MIAC

Diego Salterini

Master Classes

Co-director and Co-founder of DANCE!Now Ensemble

Bad Boys of Dance (Rasta Thomas)

Master Classes

Performance in MIAC

Laura Alonso

Master Classes

-Performed with Ballet National de Cuba for 25 years

-Stages classics for London’s Royal Ballet School and The Royal Danish Ballet

Vivi Flindt

Master Classes

-Originated many roles with The Royal Danish Ballet

Bill Evans


-Undergraduate program director at the College at Brackport & State University of New York

-Professor of Dance at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque

-Artistic & Executive Director of the Bill Evans Dance Company

-Creator of the Evans Modern Dance Technique

Maria Caruso

Master Classes

-Artistic Director of Bodiography Contemporary Ballet

Lisa de Ribre

Master Classes


-Former dancer with New York City Ballet and Soloist with American Ballet Theater

Chita Rivera

Guest Artist Chat

 -Original Broadway Cast of West Side Story, Chicago, Bye-Bye Birdie

Tim Veach
Master Classes

-Director, Columbus Dance Theater

Amanda Dunster
Guest Choreographer

-Ballet Mistress for Pennsylvania Ballet

-Stage La Fille Mal Garde on The Mercyhurst Dancers

Eddie Tovar
Guest Artist

-Past principal of Texas Ballet Theater

-Past company member of Orlando Ballet

Bruce Marks

Guest Artist

-Internationally acclaimed dancer, teacher, choreographer, artistic director, consultant, and competition judge

-Metropolitan Opera Ballet, ABT, Royal Danish Ballet, Boston Ballet, Ballet West, etc

Nancy Jordan
Guest Choreographer

-Stage Limon repetoire as member of Jose Limon Foundation

-Previous ballet mistress of the Juilliard School

Wei Wu
Masterclass/Guest Choreographer-Liaoning Ballet Academy of China
Daniel Lewis
Guest Choreographer-Jose Limon Foundation