School of Theatre and Dance
Dance Education

       East Carolina University’s Theatre Program is an Institutional member of The National Association of Schools of Theatre (NAST)                                       
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Are you interested in building your skills and knowledge as a dance artist while developing the ability to share dance with others? If so, then the Dance Education BFA program at East Carolina University may be for you.
Dance Education at ECU is a rigorous four-year program of study where graduates earn a BFA and a North Carolina teaching license in dance. During your time at ECU you will take challenging technique classes in ballet, modern, and jazz, develop your skills as a choreographer, perform in mainstage and studio productions, and study kinesiology, pedagogy, and dance history. In addition, you will complete several courses in education, learning teaching methods for reaching a diverse population of students in today’s schools. Finally, you will complete your program with a year-long internship, developing your own teaching voice under the guidance of a professional dance educator in one of eastern North Carolina’s top-notch K-12 dance programs.

Becoming a dance educator is a challenging process, and the dance education program requires substantial commitment to regular physical practice, creative inquiry, leadership development, and academic investment. Dance education students are supported by one-on-one relationships with faculty mentors and multiple opportunities for teaching, leadership, and creative projects throughout their college careers.

Not sure which program--Dance Education or Dance Performance—is right for you?
This is a challenging decision for many students. Consider both your short-term plans—where do you want to focus your energy over the next four years?—as well as your long term career goals. The reality is that most dancers who stay in the professional field will end up teaching for part of their careers, and being able to teach effectively is important for your overall professional profile. Many dance teaching positions at studios, dance companies, and arts organizations do not strictly require a dance education degree; however, those with this credential often also have the skills and experience that directors look for when hiring teachers. Additionally, in order to teach in a public school, most states require a dance education license. Obtaining this license after completing your degree is certainly possible, but it can be challenging to find the necessary courses that will fit into your busy professional schedule. If you think teaching may be in your future, it is wise to consider obtaining your license while completing your undergraduate degree—even if you think you might perform professionally and not teach immediately upon graduation.

Many students are also looking for their college dance experience to provide rigorous technical training and significant performance and choreographic opportunities. This is possible in the Dance Education major! Compared to the Dance Performance major, Dance Education requires fewer credits in technique classes and does not require completion of a Senior Choreography project. However, many Dance Education students choose to go above and beyond the minimum requirements, and they frequently enroll in additional technique classes, audition for and perform in concerts, and complete a Senior Choreography project. Dance Education students take class, rehearse, and perform alongside the Dance Performance majors, and are expected to reach the Advanced level in at least one technique area (modern).

Ready to audition?
If Dance Education at ECU sounds like the program for you, we welcome your application. Admission to the BFA program is competitive and requires an online application and in-person audition.

At the audition, you will participate in ballet, modern, and jazz technique combinations (a tap audition is optional), a group interview, and an improvisation session. In addition, you will prepare and teach a short combination to a group of peers to demonstrate your leadership ability and interest in teaching. For more information about the audition process, please see (Audition Information and Q&A). To access the online application, click on the link to the right (Online Application).

The faculty are looking for Dance Education majors who show technical ability in one or more dance forms—including appropriate alignment, use of rotation, and overall movement skill, academic achievement (including writing ability), creativity, dedication to the art form and to education, and leadership ability. Admitted students are those who demonstrate the potential to be successful in a rigorous academic and artistic environment, contribute positively to a creative community, and develop into dynamic, committed arts educators.

If you have questions about the Dance Education program, please contact Dr. Marissa Nesbit (

Additional forms and information

Audition Information

"Apple Book"

Degree Checksheet

OCE Forms & Resources


Upper Division Forms

Upper Division Information


NC Essential Standards

Note: ECU cannot confirm whether any of its courses or programs meets requirements for professional licensure outside of the State of North Carolina. ECU strongly encourages students to contact applicable licensing boards in states they wish to pursue licensure prior to seeking admission or beginning study in an academic program.