Dance MFA

As a low-residency program, we meet the scheduling constraints of professional working performers, choreographers and educators. That means you’ll have the flexibility to learn on-campus during summer semesters and online or on-campus during the fall and spring semesters.

Our program prioritizes contemporary choreography and individual creative research. The curriculum encourages embodied scholarship and community engagement while emphasizing the reciprocal relationship between critical dance studies and choreographic research. Through intensive in-person learning and self-directed research, you’ll connect traditions to emergent forms and new communities, bringing social and racial justice into focus through practice. In-depth choreographic practice, research and dance scholarship provide a framework for you to situate your work within a global perspective.

Program Type


Program Format

On Campus

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What it’s like to be a student at Peck School of the Arts

Our rigorous and diverse curriculum combines technical training with artistic exploration. Our in-person summer graduate intensive provides ample studio space for you to develop your choreographic research with access to our six rehearsal studios. Our accomplished faculty bring years of professional experience to the classroom. And they are more than seasoned artists; they are active researchers shaping the future of dance and bringing you along for the journey. Plus, our location in the vibrant city of Milwaukee, not far from the bustling city of Chicago, provides countless opportunities for performance and collaboration with local and national artists.

But don’t take our word for it. See for yourself what it’s like to be a student here by scheduling a personalized tour with one of our graduate program coordinators.

Dance MFA
Dance MFA
Dance MFA
Dance MFA
Dance MFA

Program Details

The MFA in Dance program immerses you in choreographic research through physical and theoretical inquiry while critically examining technical movement practice through a variety of somatic and theoretical perspectives. We also support your inquiry by providing facilities and customized opportunities to investigate and perform your work nationwide. Through faculty mentorship and rigorous personal investigations, you are guided to integrate knowledge produced through creative and scholarly investigation into a final thesis project.

Our graduate faculty are nationally and internationally acclaimed performing and choreographic artists. Their research specialties span cultural perspectives, technical forms, somatic modalities, site-specific performance, improvisation, interdisciplinary collaboration, community engaged social justice work, and integration of technology and new media.

With our program, you will be well-equipped to develop your career as a professional dancer, choreographer or educator in the field. And because we are a collaborative community of artists ourselves, we are committed to providing you with an immersive and transformative educational experience to get you to where you want to be next.

View the Dance, MFA requirements.

Entrance Auditions/Interviews & Admission

Peck School of the Arts undergraduate and graduate programs may require additional steps to enter. For most dance, music and theatre programs, applicants must first be accepted to UWM, apply to Peck School of the Arts and complete entrance requirements such as an audition and/or interview.

Scholarships & Aid

UW-Milwaukee and Peck School of the Arts offers a variety of cost-saving opportunities, including scholarships, grants, fellowships and residency-based tuition rates. Learn more about scholarship and aid opportunities available to you.

Graduate Assistantships

Students may be eligible for funding support and tuition remission through graduate assistantships. A limited number of teaching assistantship stipends are available, and some provide full tuition remission and benefits eligibility.


Four concerts are presented at UWM each year: “Winterdances” and “Springdances,” which showcase students performing in world premieres by faculty and guest artists, and “New Dancemakers” and “UpStart,” which feature choreography by undergraduate and graduate students. Learn more about performing arts.

Internships & Opportunities

Our students are involved with the city’s professional and pickup dance companies, including Danceworks, Ko-Thi Dance Company, Wild Space, Hyperlocal MKE, Panadanza and more. See where your education can take you. Learn more about internships and opportunities.

Student Organizations & Clubs

Meet like-minded people in a wide variety of student organizations and clubs who inspire creativity and will support your aspirations. Collaborate and create, network with professional artists, and deepen your connection with faculty, mentors and fellow students outside of the classroom.

Study Abroad

We believe that a complete education in the arts should take you beyond the classroom and the local community. By studying abroad, you’ll gain more than a change of scenery. You’ll embark on a transformative educational experience and bring a global perspective to your field of study. Explore upcoming trips offered in partnership with the Center for International Education.

Alumni Stories in Dance

  • Lecturer and alum Rich Ashworth reflects on choreographing piece for Springdances

    The PSOA Department of Dance is set to present Springdances: Surfacing, an evening of original choreography by Dance faculty members and guest artist Vershawn Sanders-Ward. Among the choreographers is Dance MFA alum Rich Ashworth '21 (Lecturer, Dance). Ashworth will be presenting a piece that incorporates tap and body percussion to …
  • Review: ‘Adult Documentary’ Is Dense And Difficult, Including The Carpet

    During this age of reality television and its aggressive pursuit of chaos, it doesn’t seem a coincidence that the choreographer Juliana F. May has created “Adult Documentary,” a work constructed of real and fictional stories by its performers. Those stories serve as raw material, distorted over time and replayed on an incessant loop …

Careers in Dance

  • Alexander Technique Practitioner
  • Artistic Director
  • Arts & Entertainment Writer
  • Arts Administrator
  • Arts Advocacy Agent
  • Arts Council Director
  • Arts Management
  • Athletic/Gymnastics Club Teacher
  • Ballet Master/Mistress
  • Box Office Manager
  • Boys/Girls Clubs Educator
  • Broadway Theatre/Tours
  • Camp Director
  • Choreographer
  • City Recreation Department Teacher
  • Community Arts Work
  • Community Centers
  • Company Manager
  • Consultant
  • Corps De Ballet
  • Costume Designer
  • Creative Director
  • Cruise Line Performer
  • Curator
  • Curriculum Developer
  • Dance Anthropologist
  • Dance Archivist/Librarian
  • Dance Critic
  • Dance Filmmaker
  • Dance Historian
  • Dance Journalist
  • Dance Medicine Specialist
  • Dance Movement Therapist
  • Dance Researcher
  • Dance Studio Owner
  • Dance Therapist
  • Education Director
  • Elementary School Teacher
  • Elementary/Secondary School Outreach
  • Feldenkrais Practitioner
  • Fitness Instructor
  • Freelance Dancer
  • Fundraiser
  • Grant Writer
  • Health & Wellness Advocate
  • Health & Wellness Podcaster
  • Health Coach
  • Independent Contractor
  • Interdisciplinary Collaborator
  • Klein Technique Practitioner
  • Laban Movement Analyst
  • Lighting Designer
  • Marketing & Programs Manager
  • Massage Therapist
  • Mental Health Guidance
  • Music Video Choreographer
  • National Dance Associations
  • Magazine Publisher
  • Nonprofit Founder & Organizer
  • Office Administration
  • Outreach Coordinator
  • Performance Artist
  • Personal Trainer
  • Photographer
  • Physical Therapist
  • Pilates Instructor
  • Principal Company Member/Dancer
  • Production Designer
  • Professor
  • Programmer
  • Regional/Community Theatre
  • Choreographer
  • Rehabilitation Centers
  • Rehearsal Director
  • Répétiteur
  • Talent Agency Representative
  • Resident Choreographer
  • Secondary Education Teacher
  • Senior Home Community Engagement
  • Set Designer
  • Social Media Coordinator
  • Somatic Workshop Organizer
  • Sound Designer
  • Special Events Planner
  • Sports Trainer
  • Stage Manager
  • Studio Director/Teacher
  • Tai Chi Practitioner
  • Talent Agent/Director
  • Tour Manager
  • University & College Guest Artist
  • Teacher/Choreographer
  • University Professorship
  • Videographer
  • Web Writer/Performance Reviewer
  • Yoga Instructor

Program Faculty

Which faculty you have within this program is dependent upon your chosen courses or interests. For a list of all Dance faculty and staff please follow the link below.

Daniel Burkholder HEADSHOT
  • Associate Professor, Dance
  • Chair, Department of Dance
Mair W Culbreth Headshot
  • Assistant Professor, Dance
  • Director, Pilates Certificate Program
Maria Gillespie Headshot
  • Professor, Dance
  • Director, Dance Graduate Program
Andy Miller Headshot
  • Teaching Faculty III, Dance
  • Music Director, Dance
Dan Schuchart Headshot
  • Teaching Faculty III, Dance
  • Advisor, Dance Performance Minor
  • ACDA Coordinator
Dawn Springer Headshot
  • Teaching Faculty I, Dance
Important Dates

Undergraduate Entrance Audition
For Dance BA and BFA programs in Spring and Fall 2024.

December 1, 2023
February 9, 2024
March 9, 2024

Graduate Application
November 1 – Priority admission and financial support deadline.
March 1 – Rolling enrollment deadline.

The Department of Dance is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Dance and has been since 2011.

Undergraduate Programs
Christal Wagner,

Graduate Programs
Maria Gillespie,

General Info & Questions
Contact Form | 414-229-4763