Combining the art of dance with scientific principles
The mission of the Dance Science degree program is to prepare students with a breadth of knowledge in the sub-disciplines of dance science and for students to reach their highest technical and creative potential in a variety of dance forms. The focus is on the practical application of scientific principles to enhance dance and movement performance, improve dance training, reduce injury and contribute to the overall well-being of dancers. The Dance Science program uniquely combines elements of the Exercise Science curriculum with the Dance Performance and Choreography curriculum and encourages opportunities for study abroad and undergraduate research projects.
Dance Science is an emerging field that combines the study of dance with the application of scientific principles to dance. The degree is comprised of classes already in existence in the Exercise Science Department and the Department of Performing Arts Dance Program. It uniquely draws eight credit hours from Biology, 20 from Exercise Science courses, and 20 from Dance and allows the student to choose eight credit hours of electives from ESS, DAN, or other approved courses. This provides the student with the flexibility to create a sub-specialty of their choosing. Requirements for the Dance Science degree can be completed in three years, allowing first-year students who arrive at Elon with no clear major the opportunity to discover this area, interview with the program coordinator their first year, and then begin the course of study in the second year.
Expert, accessible faculty
At Elon, students learn from dedicated faculty who have years of expertise in their fields and in academia. Small classes offer students unique access to professors and one-on-one instruction. All faculty maintain professional contacts in their fields, so they are able to help students identify appropriate graduate and professional schools, internships, and career opportunities.
Excellent facilities and equipment
Dance Science majors work in the Center for the Arts, which houses three state-of-the-art dance studios replete with somatic equipment, and in Elon’s Koury Athletic Center, which houses a full complement of health, training, exercise, and sports facilities. The Health and Human Performance Laboratory features instrumentation to access body composition, aerobic fitness, muscle strength, endurance, and sport performance. The lab also includes new electroencephalography (EEG) and electromyography (EMG) equipment.
I always excelled at science, but when it came to picking a major, my passion for dance was undeniably stronger. With Elon’s new degree in Dance Science, I am able to marry both fields without having to give up or devote any less time to my innate passion for movement. The classes in the Dance Science major have aided me in becoming a better dancer by allowing me to understand the physics, anatomy and psychology of dance. I have even been fortunate to conduct my own research comparing the activation of eight different muscles at and away from the barre. No other undergraduate dance program could have prepared me for such a rare opportunity.
Colette Dong, B.F.A. Dance Performance & Choreography and B.S. Dance Science ’14
Learning outside the classroom
One of the hallmarks of an Elon education is hands-on learning, and dance science is no exception. Putting the discipline’s skills, approaches and theories to test in real-world situations is essential to a full understanding of the subject. This can be achieved through internships and undergraduate research experiences.
Dance Science majors are strongly encouraged to complete one internship and participate in undergraduate research projects. Both give students invaluable opportunities to sharpen their skills, observe how the industry works, gain experience working with people, build confidence and make valuable industry contacts.
The Dance Science program is designed to provide a curricular path for students interested in studying the science of dance in order to pursue careers as dance teachers, conditioning and fitness coaches, kinesiotherapists, and researchers in a variety of fields including biomechanics, physiology, somatics, and psychology. This degree prepares students for graduate study in a variety of disciplines including physical or occupational therapy, dance education, dance science, exercise science, and medicine.