The Department of Theatre + Dance is the home of the dance program, which offers a broad curriculum that educates both the mind and body of the dancer. Underlying the degree programs is the belief that intellectual integrity, performance experience, and professional excellence are integral to the curriculum.

The dance experience at UHM is particularly rich because of its ethnic, geographic, and cultural environment, which enables students to work in the dance traditions of Asia and the Pacific as well as in those of Europe and the United States. Coursework is interdisciplinary and goes hand in hand with productions staged in the 600-seat Kennedy Theatre and the intimate Earle Ernst Lab Theatre.

The program includes 5 full-time faculty members and 9 part-time faculty who teach over 30 courses per semester, with an average enrollment of 300 students per semester.  The dance program has approximately 45 undergraduate majors and 15 masters candidates. Students come from around the globe to study dance at UHM.

Degrees offered include a BA, BFA, MA, and MFA.


Dance Performance and Scholarship

The Dance program encourages students to focus on many areas of dance. These include the study of various styles of dance technique, choreography, performance, history, critical theory, kinesiology, movement analysis, ethnography, education, and visual media. The program is unique for offerings in Asian and Pacific dance.

Production Highlights

Annual concerts include two to three productions in the Earle Ernst Laboratory Theatre that feature the work of student choreographers, and one Kennedy Theatre main stage production with choreography by faculty and guest artists. Productions feature newly created, classical and indigenous dance from a wide variety of traditions. Additional Asian and Pacific dance and music events include end-of-semester student presentations in Orvis Auditorium and at the small amphitheatre in the Music Department complex.

Innovative Research

Dance scholarship emphasizes an interdisciplinary base for innovative research in the field of performance and cultural studies in dance. The program emphasizes practice as research and the theoretical consideration of dance. Students focus on scholarship in choreography, movement analysis, heritage, globalization, technology, ethnography, education, corporeality and embodiment.

What’s after Graduation

Graduates of the University of Hawai‘i Dance Program are now:

  • performing internationally, on the mainland and in Hawai‘i;
  • teaching dance, composition and choreography, creative dance, dance history and theory in public and private schools, and universities;
  • directing and choreographing for their own companies and administering their own schools in Hawai‘i, on the mainland, and abroad;
  • writing scholarly articles about dance that are presented at conferences and published in journals;
  • administering arts organizations;
  • pursuing further graduate study and earning Ph.D. degrees in Dance