School of Music, Theatre
and Dance

Varner Hall, Room 207
371 Varner Drive
Rochester, MI 48309-4485
(location map)
Academic Office: (248) 370-2030
Box Office: (248) 370-3013
Fax: (248) 370-2041
smtd@oakland.edu

School of Music, Theatre
and Dance

Varner Hall, Room 207
371 Varner Drive
Rochester, MI 48309-4485
(location map)
Academic Office: (248) 370-2030
Box Office: (248) 370-3013
Fax: (248) 370-2041
smtd@oakland.edu

group of dancers leaping into the air, leaning to the right with arms extended

Dance

The Department of Dance combines an exceptional dance curriculum with talented, professional faculty to provide students with an outstanding educational opportunity. Grounded in a contemporary dance aesthetic informed by traditional/classical modern dance principles, our unique department produces top-notch performers and choreographers. There are two distinct professional dance companies in residence at Oakland University, Eisenhower Dance Detroit and Take Root.

Auditions
Academic Programs

Bachelor Degrees

Students should consult with the departmental adviser in the College of Arts and Sciences Advising Office to plan their degree program.

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance
The Bachelor of Fine Arts in dance degree is intended for students who wish pre-professional and professional preparation in dance. The B.F.A. program is designed for students who wish to concentrate on performance and choreography. Grounded in a contemporary dance aesthetic informed by traditional/classical modern dance principles, our unique program aims to produce top-notch performers and choreographers through progressive study of technique, kinesiology, pedagogy, choreography and somatic principles. Professionally experienced faculty teach through an innovative curriculum to produce highly skilled and well prepared graduates for the dance field.

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance Education and Performance
The Bachelor of Fine Arts in dance educationa and performance degree is intended for students who wish pre-professional and professional preparation in dance as a dance teacher. Students must successfully complete the performance production requirement, the events attendance requirement and the senior interview as described in the department’s Undergraduate Dance Handbook. 

Bachelor of Arts in Dance
The Bachelor of Arts in dance degree provides students with a broad-based specialization in dance within a liberal arts curriculum. Students develop their ability to write and speak clearly about dance and related subjects in the context of a broad-based specialization in dance within a liberal arts curriculum. Students develop their ability to write and speak clearly about dance and related subjects in the context of a broad education in sciences, humanities, social sciences and the arts. Students gain a global understanding of the context dance serves in society and are prepared to work in a variety of dance settings including but not limited to arts administration, establishing a dance school and other dance-related businesses, as well as performance.

Bachelor of Arts in Dance Education
The Bachelor of Arts in dance education degree is for students who wish a broad general education as a dance teacher, without a high degree of specialization in dance. Students must successfully complete the performance production requirement, the events attendance requirement and the senior interview as described in the department’s Undergraduate Dance Handbook. 

Minor in Dance
Students wishing to minor in dance must audition to be admitted into the program and complete a minimum of 20 credits in dance

Each academic degree program and minor requires students to audition to be admitted.

Ensembles
Oakland University has two different student dance companies that jointly present two dance concerts each season:
  • Oakland Dance Theatre (ODT) accepts dancers with varying levels of dance technique.
  • Oakland University Repertory Dance Company (RDC) is a pre-professional company that prepares more advanced dancers for a career in dance performance. First year students are not eligible for RDC.
Auditions
Auditions are required for both dance companies and are usually held the first week of classes each semester in Studio 132 in Varner Hall. For audition dates and times, contact Gregory Patterson at (248) 370-3009 or patterso@oakland.edu.

Students who audition are automatically considered for both companies.

Rehearsals
Oakland Dance Theatre rehearsals are held Monday and Wednesday evenings beginning at 5:30 p.m. with company class rehearsals to follow from 7-10 p.m. OU Repertory Dance Company rehearsals are held Tuesday and Thursday from 7-10 p.m. and Friday from 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. following technique classes. Additional rehearsals are required when guest artists are in residence.
In Residence

Eisenhower Dance - Company in Residence
Eisenhower Dance is a nationally touring professional dance company directed by OU Professor Emerita of Dance Laurie Eisenhower. OU students have the unique opportunity to mentor with the professional dancers of Eisenhower Dance and are given numerous opportunities to perform with the Company. The OU Repertory Dance Company often collaborates with Eisenhower Dance on large-scale choreographic productions. Senior dancers have the opportunity to audition for apprenticeships with the Company, a unique and valuable professional training opportunity. Many OU alumni have eventually been hired by Eisenhower Dance as full company members. The Oakland University Dance Program is the only program in the State of Michigan that has a professional dance company in residence.

Take Root - Company in Residence
Beginning with their first full-length concert of the same name in 2013, Take Root commanded attention with their intricate partnering, thought provoking details and unrestricted vision.  Take Root’s kinesthetic connections to one another and their audiences creates thoughtful and visceral works of art; from the smallest gesture to the most explosive charges of movement. 

Calling Rochester, Michigan their home, Take Root is “Company-in-Residence” at Oakland University under the direction of its founders and fellow company members, Ali Woerner and Thayer Jonutz, both OU Associate Professors’ of Dance. Appreciating the many facets of art, the company thrives on collaboration and untraditional spaces. Take Root’s multi-disciplinary approach to concepts and movement allows for their accessibility to all ages and backgrounds. They investigate the process of human connections, allowing their unique voice to directly reach audiences.

Take Root has performed at the New Dance for Asia International Festival/Seoul, South Korea, Incheon Yeonsu International Dance Festival/Incheon, Korea,  Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival, the Detroit Institute of Arts, National Theater of Costa Rica, Uferstudios/Berlin, Red Bull House of Art/Detroit, TEDx, Detroit Dance City Festival, RADfest, Harvest Chicago Contemporary Dance Festival, The Music Hall Center for Performing Arts/Detroit, Hamlin Field House Theater/Chicago, presented lecture/workshops for NDEO/Chicago & Miami, The University of Costa Rica, ACDF and the 21st Century Arts and Arts Education Conference. Take Root would like to recognize Oakland University’s College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Office, Oakland University’s Research Office, an “Anonymous Donor,” and The Community Foundation of Greater Rochester ‘s Cupp Family and Friend’s Youth Endowed Fund for their support.

Take Root prides themselves with their successful and impactful outreach programs; Dance for Parkinson's Disease and Arts Education. Take Root stands out from other dance companies through their mission to Impact Lives Through Dance!