Dance Degrees and Auditioning

Majoring in Dance

A solid college education with a major in dance can be an excellent background for a wide variety of professions in addition to a career as a performer or choreographer. Serious dance training takes extraordinary discipline, tenacity, dedication and time-management as well as good health, athleticism and presentation skills. High-quality dance productions require excellent organizational management, teamwork, creativity and artistry. A liberal arts education from Western requires all students to learn to think and write critically.

The dance major’s presentation skills, ability to perform in public, and control of the body provide a solid basis for working effectively with others. Dance develops the ability to concentrate intensely, listen introspectively, observe keenly, solve problems creatively, think critically, collaboratively develop a project, work independently, work under pressure, meet deadlines, and maintain composure when faced with the unexpected.

The Dance Program expects achievement in the following competencies by graduating majors in both the BA and BFA. Our students will:

  • Develop proficiency in modern dance technique

  • Develop competency in ballet technique

  • Become familiar with the history of dance and enhance writing skills by using this knowledge

  • Gain expanded diversity awareness through the cultural dimensions of dance

  • Understand alignment and anatomy as they relate to dancers

  • Explore their choreographic potential in traditional and/or experimental approaches

  • Learn the basic skills and operations of technical theatre related to dance production

  • Have multiple performing opportunities in different venues

Assessment of these competencies is accomplished through individual course performance, completion of degree requirements, and in part by successful audition and casting in faculty directed events. BFA candidates will be expected to participate in a culminating Capstone course and presentation as choreographers and as featured dancers.

Audition Dates and Times


To be announced


  Commissary Studio B


  • Forms:  8:30 – 9 a.m.
  • Contemporary Technique:  9 – 10:15 a.m.
  • Improvisation Exploration:  10:15 – 11 a.m.
  • Lunch break:  11 a.m. - 12 p.m.
  • Ballet:  12 - 1 p.m.
  • Informational meeting for all students interested in Dance Major or Minor:  1 – 1:30 p.m.

Please contact Cher Carnell at or 360-650-3893 to arrange a visit and enroll in ongoing technique classes.

a group of dancers bathed in red light

Degrees and Application Requirements

Major: Bachelor of Arts in Dance (BA)

The BA has a liberal arts orientation. It is designed for students with a general interest, rather than a career interest in performing or choreographing. BA candidates will focus on pedagogical and historic aspects of dance.

Application Requirements

An audition is required. You may declare if you are placed in Modern 1 or above, after consultation with Cher Carnell.


Teaching Endorsement

Program Details

Application Requirements

Students completing a teacher certification program and endorsable major in a subject other than Dance may qualify for an additional endorsement in Dance by completing requirements listed above. This will allow you to teach Dance in Washington State public schools. See the Woodring College of Education section of the WWU Catalog for more information on teacher certification programs and approved majors.

Major: Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance (BFA)

The BFA degree is a selective program which admits exceptionally committed, disciplined, and talented students. The BFA degree also requires recommendation of faculty members.

Application Requirements

The BFA is by nomination only. It is assumed that BFA graduates will continue in the field of dance, either professionally or in graduate school.

BFA candidates apply in spring of their Junior year. After review, the faculty votes on the candidates.

Please review our nomination checklist and the nomination policy for more details.

Dance Minor

Application Requirements

You may declare the Minor at anytime. Transfer students must fulfill a minimum of 18 hours of the required courses.


Contact Director of Dance Cher Carnell.

three dancers with hands over head leaning to the side

Auditions and Level Placements

Our audition process involves students taking ongoing technique classes. This allows us to find the best programmatic fit for students and faculty. After taking dance classes at WWU, you are given a technique level. If you place in Contemporary 1 or higher you are eligible to declare the Dance Major, BA track. 

The Dance Program will be holding a Technique Placement Class for all new students. This includes students interested in the Dance Major, Dance Minor, or technique classes.

The level placement class is structured so that beginners through advanced students will be able to participate.  It is our objective to place students in the level most suited to their development as a dancer.

Wear dance attire that we can see you move in, hair controlled and off the face, ballet slippers for the Ballet portion, bare feet or sandals for Contemporary.

Each student will receive an email that afternoon with their technique level placement. 

If you are unable to take classes before your first fall quarter at Western

You can audition in a Level Placement class. All new students interested in the Dance Major, Minor, or taking dance classes as non-majors should attend this class to be assigned a technique level.

If you are interested in the BFA degree

Declare the BA as soon as possible after placing in Contemporary 1 or higher.  In spring of your Sophomore or Junior year you may then apply for BFA candidacy.

BFA candidacy requires nomination by the faculty as a whole.
As part of this application process students are required to perform for Dance faculty a solo that they have choreographed.

Regardless when a student is accepted as a BFA candidate, their BFA Capstone occurs spring quarter of their Senior year at Western.