Boston Conservatory’s New Three-Year Commercial Dance B.F.A. Paves the Way for a Career in the Entertainment Industry
(Boston, MA)—Boston Conservatory at Berklee has launched a groundbreaking three-year Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance: Commercial Dance degree that prepares dancers and aspiring choreographers for successful careers in entertainment industries such as film, television, theater, concert tours, live music performances, theme parks, Las Vegas performances, and more. The new program is the first and only commercial dance-focused B.F.A. degree offered at the conservatory level that can be completed in just three years, saving students money on tuition and giving them a launchpad to enter the entertainment industry after graduation.
The commercial dance program does not require ballet prerequisites or training for admission; it is designed for dancers who are strong in any style, and who are looking for immersive, advanced dance training while learning the ins and outs of the entertainment industry. The unique program exemplifies Boston Conservatory’s focus on innovation in performing arts education, and creates unmatched opportunities for dancers to collaborate with tomorrow’s music industry leaders through Boston Conservatory’s 2016 merger with Berklee, a multifaceted performing arts institution that also includes leading contemporary music schools Berklee College of Music and Berklee Online.
“Like many of our esteemed faculty members, my own performance career moved seamlessly between commercial dance and concert dance,” explains Boston Conservatory Executive Director Cathy Young, whose background is in dance, education, and administration. “This new program extends the opportunity to receive the Conservatory’s top-ranking dance training to dancers who want to build a career in the commercial entertainment industry. Through this new program, we are educating the future dancers, choreographers, and directors who will collaborate on music videos, movies, Broadway shows, and more with tomorrow’s pop music superstars—many of whom will come from Berklee College of Music’s premier contemporary music programs. No other commercial dance program provides this level of access and collaborative opportunities. Boston Conservatory at Berklee is truly at the forefront of dance training for commercial industries.”
Students in the three-year commercial dance program will experience rigorous training in an array of styles performed most frequently in today’s entertainment industry. These styles include, but aren’t limited to: hip-hop, jazzdance, Latin styles, musical theater styles, tap, K-pop, and circus arts. With this diverse repertoire of skills, students will be immediately prepared to enter an industry where not only their talent, but also their personal brand and voice, will be vital in the ever-changing commercial dance landscape.
“The Commercial Dance program cultivates multidimensional artists who are well-versed and fluid in the dance styles that are at the forefront of the commercial industry,” says Assistant Professor of Dance Ruka Hatua-Saar White. White is just one of the many renowned Boston Conservatory faculty members teaching in the new commercial dance program who have experience in both commercial and concert dance, having worked with artists such as Shirley Murdock, Missy Elliott, and Maya Angelou and danced with acclaimed concert dance companies Philadanco (Philadelphia Dance Company) and the Limón Dance Company.
In addition to learning from experts like White, students will also forge important connections with industry professionals, including producers, directors, choreographers, and performers. “The commercial dance program offers direct access to the entertainment industry, partnering with guest artists, top talent agencies, and international film and television producers,” says Chair of Dance Mila Thigpen. “Our new program includes dance workshops, agent meetings, and dance branding sessions, as well as the opportunity to perform in some of the biggest on- and off-campus events with world-renowned artists, creatives, and music directors. All commercial dance students will be prepared to successfully enter the industry upon completion of the three-year B.F.A. program.”
The new commercial dance program’s innovative, career-focused curriculum builds off of the strengths of the Conservatory’s top-tier, four-year contemporary dance program, including its emphasis on stylistic versatility and helping students develop unique artistic voices. Michael Morris, Jr. is a recent graduate who—like fellow alums Ebony Williams and Chelsey Arce—has used his Boston Conservatory experience to lead a successful career in the commercial entertainment industry:
“Boston Conservatory granted me the intimate experience of receiving private coaching from the faculty in helping me become an even better artist within my craft. They gave me the experience, the tools, and skills needed to be versatile in all aspects of the entertainment industry that I would not have gotten from any other Fine Arts program. Graduating from Boston Conservatory has allowed me to share my talents among the many stages of cruise ships, Broadway theaters, ballet opera houses, and music videos. There’s no way I could not credit Boston Conservatory’s dance program in developing me into the fine artist I have become."
The commercial dance degree is a cost-effective, three-year program that offers students aspiring to work in the commercial entertainment industry a transformative dance education with immediately applicable skills. "There are so many opportunities in the field of dance today. Between our three-year commercial dance program and our four-year contemporary dance program, Boston Conservatory students will be prepared for a multitude of career choices and paths,” says Dean of Dance Tommy Neblett. “They will literally be able to do anything they want. I am thrilled that Boston Conservatory is able to provide this high-quality, world-class education for young dancers interested in the entertainment industry."
Applications for the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance: Commercial Dance program for fall 2022 enrollment are now open. For more information about the program, how to apply, and audition requirements, please visit bostonconservatory.berklee.edu/dance.