The Kennedy Center

Howard University Dance Ensemble


Founded by Dr. Sherrill Berryman Johnson, the Howard University Dance Arts program is the pioneering Historically Black College/University (HBCU) to offer a BFA degree in Dance Arts.  The Department of Theatre Arts offers the Dance Arts area of professional dance training within the context of an extensive liberal arts education.  The goal is to comprehensively prepare the student with a well-rounded physical and mental knowledge of the art form for endless success throughout their professional careers.  The technical and artistic knowledge needed for this efficiency is provided by a highly accomplished artistic faculty.  Through the combined efforts of artistic and liberal arts studies, students within the Dance Arts program develop into highly educated and articulate professional artists within the field.  Since the established founding curriculum in 1991 through the Department of Physical Education in the College of Arts and Sciences, the faculty’s main focus as mentors and educators is to fully prepare the student for life outside of these walls.  This means nurturing the students’ scholastic success as well artistic excellence.  The Dance Arts area offers core courses that provide content of high creativity that is prevalent in today’s professional world.  Whether entering the department as a major or a minor, students are driven through interdisciplinary studies to meet professional goals as a performer, educator, critic, and historian.
The students are provided with the opportunities of becoming technically proficient in the areas of Classical Ballet, Modern Dance Techniques, Contemporary Movement, Traditional Jazz, Tap, African, and Dance Composition. Theoretical and Applied Studies include:  Anatomy/Kinesiology, Methods of Teaching, Dance History, Music Theory, as well as Stage Management, Lighting, and Design.  The Howard University Dance Ensemble was created to award performance opportunity for students who consistently show academic achievement as well as conduct themselves in a professional manor not only within the classroom, but as one of the many individual representations of the Department of Theatre Arts’ legacy.  Performances include the Annual Student Choreography Showcase, the Annual Senior Project Performance, the Annual Spring Concert, the Musical Theatre area’s professionally directed and produced annual musical, the International Association of Blacks in Dance Conference, and several other performance opportunities within the D.C. community and abroad.

Watch Past Performances

Video 4/13/2015: Howard University Dance Ensemble

Made up of 18-20 young women and men, this ensemble performs works from renowned choreographers as well as student composition in genres of contemporary, modern, hip-hop, and ballet.