Focusing on modern dance and contemporary methods of work, the dance department's curriculum helps students develop strong technique, composition and performance. By studying the history of dance and related courses, students also gain an understanding of the origins and cultural traditions of dance and the changing world of contemporary dance.
Concentrating on performance, the department produces six full-length dance concerts each year. Four of these concerts feature students only. Upperclassmen are frequently asked to work as apprentices with the Baltimore Dance Project, UMBC's professional dance company in residence. In addition to performing at celebrated theatres nationally, the company performs at public schools and conducts a dance course at UMBC for middle and elementary school students who would not otherwise have the opportunity to study dance.
Each year, the artist-in-residence program brings well-known, contemporary choreographers and teachers to UMBC for a full semester. This offers students the opportunity to work intensively with established dance artists and to gain exposure to different ideas and methods of choreography. Dance students also participate in student-run academic groups such as the Council of Majors.
UMBC dance graduates pursue various careers related to dance. Some enter graduate programs to further their studies in dance. Some have gone on to dance professionally in places as far-reaching as New York, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., or Tokyo. Those who attained certification as dance specialists through the dance education program have careers teaching dance in the public schools. Alumni of the UMBC dance program can also be found teaching and choreographing for private dance studios, working as physical therapists, or teaching related disciplines such as yoga or Pilates.