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Dance - Choreography Student Guidelines

All forms noted below can also be found on the Conservatory of Theatre Forms and Guidelines page.

  • For the Fall for Dance Main Stage Dance Concert, only Sophomores, Juniors and Seniors are eligible to audition their work.
  • For the Spring into Dance Main Stage Dance Concert, all students are eligible to audition work.
  • All student work is limited to 12 total minutes in length. The faculty, however, reserve the right to edit any student work selected for the main stage production in order to create a stronger work and a more cohesive concert.
  • All student choreographers must abide by the Dance Concert Participation Policy.
  • In order for student work to be considered for the concert during the Student Choreography Audition each semester (set during the 5th or 6th weekend), the work MUST be 2/3 completed. The amount of completion is determined by: a) the length of work actually shown in relation to its intended length; b) the quality of movement performance and thoroughness of the choreographic concept (see below for further evaluation criteria).
  • All dancers cast in the work being auditioned MUST be present for the audition. If a dancer is absent, that particular piece will not be considered for inclusion in the concert.
  • All choreographers MUST fill out the Choreography Audition Information Sheet by the Monday prior to the audition in order to reserve a place at the audition (

All student work will be evaluated using the following criteria:

  1. Existence of a satisfying beginning, middle and end;
  2. Through-line connection(s) which give the work coherence;
  3. Use of dynamics;
  4. Use of rhythmic tools in developing and manipulating movement phrases;
  5. Clarity and effectiveness of spatial design;
  6. Integration of choices for flow and unity.

Clarifications: There will be a separate dancer audition for the student choreographers that will be supervised by one or more dance faculty members. This audition will take place AFTER the faculty audition and AFTER the faculty cast lists have been posted usually during the second week of classes. Casting will then be determined with all student choreographers and the faculty supervisor(s) present. Final cast lists will then be approved by all dance faculty members prior to posting.

Priority in the casting of dancers for the Fall for Dance and Spring into Dance concerts will be considered in the following order:

  1. Faculty/Guest Artists
  2. DA498 “BFA Projects” in Choreography students
  3. Senior BFA in Dance and BA in Dance majors (All together)
  4. Junior BFA in Dance and BA in Dance majors (All together)
  5. Sophomore BFA in Dance and BA in Dance majors (All together)
  6. Dance Minors, First-Year Students, and Others (All together)

Priority for scheduling rehearsals will follow the same order.
Please see the Dance Studio Space Request Form for scheduling rehearsal time.

Once the pieces have been chosen for the Main Stage concert, those pieces will be given priority in the re-scheduling of rehearsal time.

Faculty Mentors

Each student choreographer will be assigned a faculty mentor. The purpose of the mentor is to guide the student through the creative process and provide timely and periodic feedback on her/his work. During the first two weeks of each semester, the faculty mentor and choreographer will jointly arrange 1 – 2 rehearsal feedback visits (as schedules permit) for the mentor to attend prior to the Student Choreography Audition. Within one week of the accepted Main Stage Concert List postings (determined during the 6th or 7th week of classes), they will then jointly arrange 2 – 3 rehearsal feedback visits (as schedules permit) in order to facilitate the student choreographer’s work and help sustain its satisfactory progress toward performance. This second set of dates/times must also be sent to the Artistic Coordinator of the concert so she/he can help coordinate visits as necessary or by invitation for other faculty, designers, the Chair, and the Stage Manager. When a mentor or other faculty member/designer is invited to a rehearsal, the times they are asked to be there are when the choreographer must be ready to show the work.

Costume Showing

All student pieces selected for inclusion in the main stage dance concerts are required to participate in a costume showing with the costume design faculty. This showing is to ensure quality costumes that are appropriate for enhancing the vision of the choreographer. All choreographers are responsible for bringing specific costume ideas with them to the showing and need to be able to describe their desires for the piece using helpful adjectives in order to facilitate a discussion with the design faculty. All choreographers should run specific costume ideas by their choreographic mentors and designated costume coordinators by the fourth week of classes.


Clear and direct communication about rehearsal times, applicable feedback, scheduling conflicts, emergencies, or any other concerns helps everyone develop and maintain positive and supportive attitudes throughout the creative process from germination through rehearsals, performances, and strike. Talk, gossip, and grumbling behind people’s backs is both counterproductive and inappropriate for the collegiality necessary in the development of professional artists. All dancers in each student work will be made aware of the faculty mentors and other important contacts as listed below in the order in which they should communicate if there are any problems during the rehearsal process.

  1. Student Choreographer
  2. Faculty Choreography Mentor
  3. Artistic Coordinator of the Concert
  4. Departmental Chair

For future DA498 “BFA Project” choreographers wishing to audition work for upcoming Main Stage Dance Concerts, the Last Chance to Dance concerts (Sunday and Monday evening of Finals Week) are useful informal viewings of that choreography. In fact, students may be approached by their faculty mentor(s) after these concerts and asked to consider auditioning a particular work for a future semester. Students do not have to present work in the Last Chance to Dance concert in order to audition work the following semester, but it is strongly recommended that they do show their work in whatever shape or form it might be in by this time in order to receive feedback to incorporate into their choreographic process before the next semester’s audition.

Note: The ACDA student-adjudicated piece will be chosen from the Fall for Dance Main Stage dance concert (or a previous concert) by consensual agreement of the dance faculty. The ACDA informal piece will be chosen from either the Fall for Dance Main Stage concert OR the Fall Last Chance to Dance concert.

Please read the Last Chance to Dance Participation Guidelines for the rules on choreographing for that showcase.


Sara Steffens
River Campus Seminary 458
Conservatory of Theatre and Dance
One University Plaza, MS 7850
Cape Girardeau, Missouri 63701