About Us

The Department of Dance at Case Western Reserve University is distinguished as one of the oldest of the 30+ MFA dance programs in institutions of higher education in the U.S. Founded in 1975, it continues to offer both graduate and undergraduate degrees in a small conservatory-like environment with distinguished faculty who guide students through an unparalleled four-semester choreography sequence, professional-level technical training, and notably, a unique music training program allied with the Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM).

Through our internationally recognized Dancer Wellness Program—and several performing and research opportunities—our students are challenged and prepared for an exploration of unchartered territory as intellectual and aesthetic voyagers and leaders. Undergraduate students can major in multiple disciplines and graduate students can focus on their unique interests in a supported environment at this world-class university.

Housed in Mather Dance Center, the department reaches beyond the university community to embrace the greater Cleveland dance community, and memberships in state, national and international organizations give it a global profile. Partnering with various institutions such as DanceCleveland, the Cleveland Institute of Art and Cleveland Institute of Music, faculty and students enjoy the benefits of various collaborative projects.

As a founding member of the National Dance Association, the department has roots in the heritage of 20th century modern dance pioneers whose risk-taking gave birth to a new art form. Yet, the department has charged into the 21st century as a leader with new programs such as dance and technology and the engagement of various guest artists along with its distinguished faculty—all of which promotes contemporary artistic and intellectual inquiry to support the ever-changing landscape of dance.


Embracing a philosophy of education that is committed to the development of the total individual, emphasis is placed on the technical, aesthetic, professional and academic training of every student with keen guidance that allows the individual to nurture their creative spirit and sharpen their cognitive and analytical skills. The curriculum which includes a spectrum of course offerings provides the foundation for stimulating artistic and academic inquiry. Faculty, both full and part time, are encouraged to structure their courses with a trans-/inter- disciplinary approach when possible, especially in the undergraduate curriculum, to promote a sensibility that the study of dance as an art form is most relevant when coupled with an understanding of literature, politics, art, sociology, and other areas of the arts and humanities.

Learn more about our mission and our vision, and our focus and our goals