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BFA in Dance/Ballet Pedagogy vs. BA in Dance Pedagogy


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What are the differences between a BFA and a BA in Dance Pedagogy?

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At some Universities the Dance Department is a part of the College of Fine Arts, and the degree is a BFA. BA and BS degrees are from programs not housed in Fine Arts. There are also differences in the degree requirements at different schools. You have to research carefully in terms of the programs at all of the schools in order to find out which degrees are offered and which one offers what you are looking for. Some programs will have a lot more hours of dance than others, for instance. I'm sure some of our members will have more knowledge and information than I have about this subject. :wacko:

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A BFA is usually more housed in a studio-type learning environment, while the BA or BS courses are more sit-down classroom affairs. The latter degrees run more heavily to courses in the history of education, educational psychology, theories of education, and supervised practice teaching with immediate debrief and critique after each session. The former degree is generally a steppingstone to an MFA, and a career in higher education. The latter two prepare one for teaching in the public school system, and may come with an automatic teaching credential, depending on state.

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Is a BFA in Dance Education geared more towards the public schools system? What's the difference between getting a degree in Dance Education and Dance Pedagogy?

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No, a BFA in performing arts pedagogy is usually aimed at producing teachers for university teaching positions, once the MFA has been reached. As to the difference between education and pedagogy, it is purely semantic and varies from institution to institution.

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I'm assuming one can still teach at universities after they get their masters even if they have a BA in dance pedagogy? My top two choices (for today at least) are the Hartt School and Point Park. Hartt offers a BFA in Ballet Pedagogy and Point Park offers a BA in Dance Pedagogy with a ballet emphasis. Are there specific or major differences in these degrees? I am not sure what exactly I want to do after I graduate, but possibly teach in a studio, teach in my own studio, or teach in a university after graduate school (and of course if I get accepted after more and more training), and get more into choreography and dance history. Are there any other schools you can recommend? I'm sure there are many, as I've done tons of research on my own. I've eliminated it to these two but am just afraid of it being a conservatory and if i'll be put in class with those in the performance track. I don't think I want to be in a class with professionals.

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Although I work in the UK/EU system of higher education, I do have a broad working knowledge of equivalent qualifications in the US. The BFA/MFA study route is primarily for conservatoire/ practitioner style training in the arts (broadly defined: fine arts, performing arts, creative writing etc).

 

You need to think forward quite some way in weighing them up, as th one thing it is difficult to do (although not impossible), is to move from th MFA to Doctoral studies. The MFA is what is known as a "terminal" degree. Sounds ominous but just distinguishes it from the BA/MA route which can lead to a PhD if you wish to go that far.

 

It can also depend on the area of teaching you wish to pursue. If it's more 'academic' or theoretical subjects (art history, dance history, theatre history), you may wish to take a route which could enable to to enrol for a PhD.

 

It would be useful for you perhaps to look at the academic staff ("Faculty") biographies in the institutions you're interested in: what are their highest qualifications? Where from? what other experiences, careers, training do they have?

 

There is no set formula -- to use my own career as an example: my first degree is in History, my PhD is in English Literature, and I run a large (UK equivalent of Ivy League) Theatre department. I've been employed in both Drama and English Literature university departments across my career, and held a Research Fellowship in a History Department. My major extra-curricular activity since the age of 12 (well, since in utero, really!) has been theatre, but I never studied that at either school or university. But it was my family background/business, and a serious 'hobby,' and always figured on my CV.

 

So careers are made up of all sorts of things, and there's no single route to get where you think you want to go.

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Hartt and Point Park are different institutions, different states, so comparison may be apples and oranges, or all one thing or the other. Now it's up to you to inquire of the programs directly, to see what the details are.

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You need to think forward quite some way in weighing them up, as th one thing it is difficult to do (although not impossible), is to move from th MFA to Doctoral studies. The MFA is what is known as a "terminal" degree. Sounds ominous but just distinguishes it from the BA/MA route which can lead to a PhD if you wish to go that far.

 

I will add my (US) perspective on this topic:

 

I respectfully disagree with REdbookish, as I believe that--in the very near future--the desired academic qualifications for teachers in higher education will be the combination of MFA + PhD. If you look at job description, you will see more often phrases such as 'MFA required, PhD preferred.'

 

This is what I observe: Today, MFA holders are expected to publish, wheras as PhD holders are required to be able to teach a range of studio classes. The split between theorists (PhD) and practitioners (MFA) is not given any more--at least not to the extent how it was a decade (or even only 5 years ago).

 

Thus, I believe that many MFA holders are now considering getting a PhD in dance to stay competitive in the market place of dance in higher education.

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Ah, that's useful to know, D_S_L, because in my specific sector of the performing arts (theatre), the MFA is still not considered appropriate preparation for the PhD. But good to see this is changing and the US is finally moving towards adopting the UK policy of integrating practice and theory.

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I agree with you that an MFA might not be the best preparation for a PhD! :wink: I think it depends on the MFA program. A 60 (US) credit program* might more qualify than one with lower credits. Having studied/taught on both sides of the big pond, I would say that in term of blending theory with practice/praxis, the US is still behind (in comparison to the UK).

 

* Some job descriptions ask specifically for a 60 credit program

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If the best thing is to get a MFA (or higher), and that's what matters the most, does it matter if I choose a school like UCI that offers the basic BA in Dance? What will a BA/BFA in Dance Pedagogy offer me in the sense of getting a job? Anything higher than a BA in Dance? Isn't it previous experience what gets you the job though?

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Well, a studio will primarily want professional dancing experience, but ultimately it probably depends upon how good a teacher you are and how respected your pedagogy program is within the professional ballet world. Pro experience can only help, though. A university will prefer a degree, of course. I did have one studio owner (a former professional dancer himself) tell me that he would not look twice at a resumé containing a university degree as the only qualification, but different studios look for different things.

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