The Department of Dance offers two undergraduate degree programs that lead to a bachelor's degree in dance: the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance (Performance and Choreography/Contemporary), the Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Dance. Also available is a minor in Somatics and a minor in Dance Performance. Finally, the Department of Dance also offers a Master in Fine Arts (MFA) in Dance.

Dance Program Mission Statement and Program Descriptions

The Department of Dance at UWM is committed to the development and training of skillful and vibrant dance artists and educators in their pursuit of a comprehensive education built upon diverse dance practices, research, and community engagement. Our department supports a thriving local and regional presence, while it opens avenues and opportunities for national and global perspectives. We offer undergraduate and graduate programs that emphasize artistic individuality and the development of the professional skills required for successful careers in dance performance, choreography, and education. Our innovative curriculum integrates multiple dance disciplines and somatic practices, creating a learning environment that prioritizes a balance of body and mind knowledge with informed, creative expression.

Our training environment consists of full-time faculty, lecturers, and guest artists who reflect strong beliefs in multiple points of view, a passionate commitment to individual development, and dedication to serving the versatile interests of our students. Renowned guest artists contribute to the dance department’s curriculum each semester by providing students direct experience with current and diverse global practices in the field. These programs ensure that we offer our students directed, relevant training as the foundation for successful and sustainable careers in dance and related fields.

The creative research of both the faculty and students reflects our commitment to investigate the historical and cultural relevance of contemporary and traditional world dance forms. These pursuits ensure that we examine and support the vibrancy of cultural traditions while generating new knowledge. Intertwining creativity, scholarship, and interdisciplinary dialogue, our program is dedicated to the exploration and development of somatic inquiry, technology integration, critical thought, and original choreography.


The Dance Department distributes around $15-20,000 in scholarships and awards to undergraduate students each year, ranging from $400-2000 per year (amount split over fall/spring semesters, summer available upon request). Students may be awarded multiple awards over their time in the Dance Program.

  1. Incoming Student Award: no application required; award is faculty-nominated based on the student's entrance audition for admission to the program. Scholarships may not be available after the UWM priority application deadline (March 1). Award may be for one year only, or for up to four years, as long as the student continues to meet the stated requirements.
  2. Dance Undergraduate Student Scholarship: application required, and students must have completed at least one semester of the Dance Program. Demonstrated excellence in the Dance Major is the main criteria.
  3. Ed Burgess Legacy Scholarship: application required; award is for a student who will have junior or senior status who embodies and demonstrates the highest qualities of commitment and professional dedication to the art of dance, and has an established record of excellence in all aspects of the program. Award is for one year only, and student must have completed at least 2 semesters in the Dance Program, and be attending full-time during the award semesters.
  4. Marcia Parsons Legacy Scholarship: application required; awarded to undergraduate and graduate students pursuing a BA, BFA, or MFA in Dance. Award is for one year only, and student must have completed at least 2 semesters in the Dance Program, and be attending full-time during the award semesters. 

To be eligible for any Dance Scholarship (available to Dance majors only), students must meet the following criteria:

  • Full-time enrollment (6 or more Dance credits each semester)
  • Dance GPA of 3.5 or above
  • Adherence to departmental curricular requirements
  • Students who do not meet these criteria for all semesters of their award may forfeit all or part of their scholarship.

Dance Courses

NameRankDegreeSchoolGraduate FacultyEmeritus Faculty
Daniel Burkholder Assistant Professor MFA University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee Yes No
Ferne Caulker-Bronson Professor BS No Yes
Mair Culbreth Assistant Professor PhD Ohio State University Yes No
Simone Ferro Professor MFA University of Iowa No Yes
Maria Gillespie Assistant Professor MFA University of California, Los Angeles Yes No
Gloria Gustafson Associate Professor BA No Yes
Andy Miller Teaching Faculty III DM Indiana University Yes No
Marcia Ruth Parsons Professor MA University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Columbia College (Chicago) No Yes
Dan Schuchart Teaching Faculty III MFA University of California-Riverside Yes No
Dawn Springer Teaching Faculty I MFA Hollins University Yes No
Darci Brown Wutz Professor, Chair MFA Smith College No Yes