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Master of Fine Arts in Interdisciplinary Dance Performance

Theatre & Dance MFA program

Applications for Fall 2021 will be accepted during the 2020-2021 academic year. Deadline: February, 2021. Information:

Through the lens of movement and performance making, the Interdisciplinary Dance Performance (IDP) MFA program is envisioned to provide graduate opportunities for scholarly investigation in diverse disciplines that directly link to creative practice and performance making. Described as combining research and practice orientations, The IDP MFA is targeted for returning professionals (at least 5 years professional experience) with an interest in another discipline that informs dance practice.  The IDP MFA requires 57-60 credits, including 18-21 credits of coursework coordinated with other departments of the university (1 or 2).

Applicants must have completed an undergraduate degree in dance or have had equivalent training and experience. Applicants must demonstrate background or experience in additional area of study, i.e. interdisciplinary focus.

Ballet MFA program at Tulane University


  • An academic and creative curriculum for the terminal MFA degree designed for the advanced professional dance/performance artist with demonstrated experience in or interest in 1 or 2 additional areas of inquiry;
  • Prepares candidates for continued professional and academic careers with creative process and interdisciplinary focus;
  • Organization modeled after the Tulane interdisciplinary PhD, including Committee on Study comprised of faculty from participating disciplines and dance faculty;
  • A 3-year MFA to be comprised of 58-60 credits of coursework, including a 6-credit thesis (performance and written) and oral defense;
  • Six or seven courses, coordinated with 1 or 2 interdisciplinary departments/programs, with dance-specific course of study;
  • One to two graduate students enter every three years;
  • Departments that we believe to have interface initially are: Africana Studies,  Anthropology, Art, City-Culture-Community PhD program,  English, French Studies, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Latin American Studies, Music, Theatre, among others.

MFA Dance Performance at Tulane University

Goal and Outcomes

  • To achieve the “simultaneous development of the ability to produce advanced research findings, often using the practices and protocols of the humanities, sciences, or social sciences, and the ability to utilize, combine, or integrate these findings with practice of the artistic, pedagogical, or other dance and performance-related professions” (National Association of Schools of Dance (NASD) Handbook 2016-27, page 113).
  • To address the changing benchmarks for higher education in the arts and the continued fusion of scholarship and dance.
  • To prepare candidates for higher education teaching professions and to enter into multi-disciplinary endeavors, beyond teaching, in the professional arena.
  • To facilitate creative productions by graduate students, each semester, that interface directly with interdisciplinary study for that semester.
  • To facilitate creative productions by graduate students, each semester, that positively impact the undergraduate dance program by working with undergraduate dancers.
  • To design interdisciplinary coursework so that the candidate, at the end of 3 years, will complete the MFA and will have significant coursework in a secondary area of inquiry, with dance/performance specific coursework as core.
  • To meet current demand for interdisciplinary graduate programming and job placement in the country.

MFA in Interdisciplinary Dance Performance, Tulane University


Admission to the MFA IDP program is highly selective and only one to two candidates are selected every three years. This ensures each student considerable production experience as well as one-on-one contact with the faculty. Our next class will enter in the Fall 2021. Prospective applicants are referred to the Graduate Program of the School of Liberal Arts for application materials and a catalog outlining further requirements and deadlines. Applications should include information demonstrating experience or background in the secondary area of study the candidate is interested in. The Graduate Program Application website is located here.

Please note that the university states a February 1 application deadline.

Admission to the program is based primarily on consideration of the candidate's academic ability as evidenced by his/her undergraduate GPA, previous professional experience, interview, and portfolio. The GRE is no longer required.

Ideally, the dance faculty would like the opportunity to look at the applicant's portfolio during an interview. However, if an interview is not possible, the department will request that the applicant send a portfolio of representative work for review. Please do not send your portfolio with your application; wait until it is requested by the department.

Mardi Gras Indians


At the end of each semester, IDP students are required to attend an individual MFA review with the faculty. Student presents a record of their most representative work in the program and should be prepared to answer questions regarding that work. During their reviews, in addition to reviewing their work, students have an opportunity to voice their needs for further development within the program. The end of the semester review is intended as a positive meeting for evaluation and discussion of a student's work. If, however, a student's work (or attitude) is evaluated as undesirable or sub-standard, the student may be placed on probationary status the following semester. If the quality of the student's work has not improved by the end of the probationary semester, the student will be asked to leave the program. In some cases where a student's work, attitude, or grades are deemed so unsatisfactory that their continuation in the program would be of no benefit to either them or the department, dismissal may be considered, in consultation with the Dean of the School of Liberal Arts. The student will be notified of his or her status in written form following their review each semester.

Production Assistantships/Stipends

Tulane University requires that each graduate student commit 15-20 hours a week of service to the department (design shops first year, and teaching subsequently) in which the student is involved. This is required of a student regardless of acceptance or non-acceptance of a stipend. Any student offered an assistantship will be granted a full tuition waiver. Currently, all of our graduate students receive a stipend and a full tuition waiver.

Interdisciplinary Dance Performance MFA

Course of Study/Dance Specific Inventory:

DANC 6010 Movement Practice (1)
DANC 6210 Graduate Seminar I: Text and Movement Studies/Solo Performance (3)
DANC 6220 Graduate Seminar II: Writing About Dance (3)
DANC 6310 Creative Projects/Rehearsal (2)
DANC 6410 Choreography and Media
DANC 6520 Teaching Practices
DANC 6810 (F), DANC 6820 (S) Special Topics (1-3)
DANC 6910 Independent Study (1-3)
DANC 7900 Management/Portfolio (2)
DANC 7990 MFA Thesis Project (6)

Dance Specific Core Course Descriptions:

DANC 6010, Movement Practice – (1 credit)
Classical Ballet, Modern Dance, Jazz, Tap, African, Brazilian dance forms, somatic practices;

DANC 6210/THEA 6810, Seminar I: Text and Movement Studies/Solo}
Performance (3 credits) A graduate level course where choreographers work on individual and/or collaborative projects that examine the relationship between a diverse variety of texts, existent and original, and communication through movement.

DANC 6220, Seminar II: Writing About Dance (3 credits)
This seminar introduces graduate students to dance research and dance theory by examining the work of contemporary scholars/researchers, dance historians, and dance critics. The class will cover several aspects of writing about dance, including: research methods; writing a literature review; writing about live performance; writing about dance history; analyzing choreography; writing dance descriptions; writing about the dancing body; and taking theoretical approaches to create original scholarship.

DANC 6310, Creative Projects/Rehearsal (2 credits)
This course deals with choreographic and other creative work that is directly related to interdisciplinary coursework for that semester. Presentation of choreographic project is required at the end of each semester in informal concert from solo work to group forms, workshop level productions, and fully realized performance projects. Written analysis of choreographic process and research interface required each semester.

DANC 6410, Choreography and Media (Dance for the Camera) (3 credits)
This course provides an introduction to dance for camera in its various forms, from the video-taping and editing of dance for the purpose of documentation, to the creation of dances made specifically for the screen. It provides a brief overview of aesthetic, historic, and cultural representations of the body through image and media, and offers a context in which to explore visual imagery and narrative within the frame of the camera/screen, in contrast to that of the proscenium stage. This material is intended as a springboard for further in-depth exploration.

DANC 6520, Teaching Practices (3 credits).
This course addresses current methods of interdisciplinary teaching and collaboration. Includes reading on current teaching practices and philosophies and development of syllabi and lesson plans. Peer teaching, teacher observation outside of dance, teacher observation in-program, in-program assistant teaching and teaching undergraduate nonmajor courses.

DANC 6810 (F), 6820 (S), Special Topics: (1- 3 credits)
Specialty courses in dance techniques, projects, and dance related subjects as designed by dance faculty or guest artists, that combines academic and/or practical course work.

DANC 6910, Independent Study (1-3 credits)
Directed study for graduate students. Independent practical and research study in dance or dance-related areas. Proposal and approval of instructor required.

DANC 7900, Management/Portfolio Techniques (2 credits)
Third year standing required. This course will prepare the student’s portfolio, as well as the student, for the professional world, with emphasis on development of electronic and hard copy vitae/resumes and portfolio, organization of materials, job search techniques, grant writing, and interview preparation.

DANC 7990, MFA Thesis Project (6 credits)
Culminating synthesis of interdisciplinary courses and dance performance core courses as performative and written thesis. Thesis production required and will be assigned a performance slot by the department and will be run in repertory format with fellow candidates. Thesis concert or project may include previous work from MFA creative projects or a completely new creative/scholarly endeavor. Candidate must demonstrate comprehensive understanding of research and choreographic process as vehicle for communication. Oral defense of performance and written thesis required before panel consisting of Committee of Study.

Curriculum Timetable, Interdisciplinary Dance Performance (IDP) MFA, 3 years:

First Year:  Creative Projects, Movement Practice, Seminar I and II, Laban Movement Studies, Interdisciplinary Courses, Work/Study in design shops, choreography for undergraduates, choreography for Young Performers/Split-Shift each semester.

Second Year:  Creative Projects, Movement Practice, Pedagogy, Choreography and Media, Teaching Practices, Interdisciplinary Courses, Work/Study teaching undergraduates, choreography for undergraduates, choreography for Young Performers/Split-Shift each semester, thesis proposal at end of fall semester.

Third Year:  Creative Projects, Movement Practice, Interdisciplinary Course, Work/Study teaching undergraduates, Thesis prep and production including undergraduate students, written thesis, thesis defense, graduation.

Total – 58 minimum credits

Interdisciplinary courses to be coordinated with respective departments. Summary due at end of each semester for dance faculty outlining courses completed and relationship to IDP MFA.

“As Artistic Director of Third Eye Theatre Interdisciplinary and Improvisational Performance Company, completion of the Master of Fine Arts in Interdisciplinary Dance Performance at Tulane University allowed me to develop and implement an invaluable Research-Based Creative Process which is utilized for the production of original, interdisciplinary performance works based on the history and culture that connect New Orleans and Haiti.  The work was an invigorating and magical convergence of intellectual, physical and psycho-spiritual energies that manifested into a transformative process of Artistic practice and production for a more acute examination of the human condition.  It was a privilege and a great honor. Thank you, Newcomb Dance for the vision of the inaugural IDP MFA.”

Monique Moss, MA, MFA

Theatrical Performance of Rumours of War, Photo Melissa Cardona

"Rumours of War: A Performance in
Commemoration of Louisiana's 1811
Slave Revolt"
Photo: Melissa Cardona

Actor holding up farm implement in performance of Rumors of War. Photo Melissa Cardona

"Rumours of War: A Performance in
Commemoration of Louisiana's 1811
Slave Revolt"
Photo: Melissa Cardona

Actors holding up hands in performance of Rumors of War. Photo Melissa Cardona

"Rumours of War: A Performance in
Commemoration of Louisiana's 1811
Slave Revolt"
Photo: Melissa Cardona

2017 IDP MFA Graduates: Sean Knapp (Classical Piano Performance, Dual MFA); Shannon K Stewart (Gender and Sexuality Studies).