Breaking Ground through Movement

A look at Boston Conservatory at Berklee's new commercial dance program in photos.

January 20, 2023

This fall, Boston Conservatory at Berklee kicked off its groundbreaking commercial dance program, the first and only three-year B.F.A. program offered at the conservatory level that is focused on dance performance and creation for commercial industries, including film, television, theater, arena concerts, music videos, and more. Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at some of the classes in the program—taught by leaders in the commercial dance industry.

In Heels Dance, students learn how to walk, balance, retain choreography, and gain confidence, all while exploring personal poise and power. The course covers both historical and current trends associated with heels performance in popular culture.

Commercial Dance students posing

Image by Kelly Davidson

Ebony Williams and commercial dance students dancing

Image by Kelly Davidson

Dance alum Ebony Williams (B.F.A. '05) is a powerhouse in the commercial dance world and beyond. A versatile and in-demand choreographer and performer, she has worked with iconic artists Beyoncé, Alicia Keys, and Doja Cat; on feature films such as In the Heights; on Broadway; and on high-profile campaigns such as the 2021 U.S. Open. As part of a two-week residency funded by the Herb Alpert Visiting Professorship grant, Williams brought her vast industry expertise to a master class for Conservatory commercial dance students.

Commercial Dance Students dancing

Image by Stefanie Belnavis

Two commercial dance students dancing while looking to the right

Image by Stefanie Belnavis

Raul Cruz’s Commercial Dance Composition and Performance course introduces students to choreographic tools and tactics while they experience the pace of preparing for and building commercial dance performances. They also perform in a wide range of projects throughout the semester that involve live performance, dance for screen and film, dance technology, and cirque-style performance.
 
Commercial dance teacher and students dancing together

Image by Stefanie Belnavis

In Anthony Burrell’s Pop Diva Dance Repertory course, students learn dance repertoire of pop music divas such as Mariah Carey, Beyoncé, and Rihanna—with whom Burrell has worked directly— and the variety of styles and techniques of tour repertory.