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The Department of Dance combines an exceptional dance curriculum with talented, professional faculty to provide students with an outstanding educational opportunity. Grounded in a contemporary dance aesthetic informed by traditional/classical modern dance principles, our unique department produces top-notch performers and choreographers. There are two distinct professional dance companies in residence at Oakland University, Eisenhower Dance Detroit and Take Root. The Oakland University Department of Dance is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Dance (NASD.)


Bachelor Degrees

Students should consult with the departmental adviser in the College of Arts and Sciences Advising Office to plan their degree program.

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance
The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance degree is intended for students who wish pre-professional and professional preparation in dance. The B.F.A. program is designed for students who wish to concentrate on performance and choreography. Grounded in a contemporary dance aesthetic informed by traditional/classical modern dance principles, our unique program aims to produce top-notch performers and choreographers through progressive study of technique, kinesiology, pedagogy, choreography and somatic principles. Professionally experienced faculty teach through an innovative curriculum to produce highly skilled and well prepared graduates for the dance field.

Bachelor of Arts in Dance
The Bachelor of Arts in Dance degree provides students with a broad-based specialization in dance within a liberal arts curriculum. Students develop their ability to write and speak clearly about dance and related subjects in the context of a broad-based specialization in dance within a liberal arts curriculum. Students develop their ability to write and speak clearly about dance and related subjects in the context of a broad education in sciences, humanities, social sciences and the arts. Students gain a global understanding of the context dance serves in society and are prepared to work in a variety of dance settings including but not limited to arts administration, establishing a dance school and other dance-related businesses, as well as performance.

Certificate in K-12 Dance Education
For more information, contact Elizabeth Kattner [email protected]

Minor in Dance
Students wishing to minor in dance must audition to be admitted into the program and complete a minimum of 20 credits in dance

Each academic degree program and minor requires students to audition to be admitted.

Oakland University has two different student dance companies that jointly present two dance concerts each season:

  • Oakland Dance Theatre (ODT) accepts dancers with varying levels of dance technique.
  • Oakland University Repertory Dance Company (RDC) is a pre-professional company that prepares more advanced dancers for a career in dance performance. First year students are not eligible for RDC.

Auditions are required for both dance companies and are usually held the first week of classes each semester in Studio 132 in Varner Hall. For audition dates and times, contact Gregory Patterson at (248) 370-3009 or [email protected].

Students who audition are automatically considered for both companies.

Oakland Dance Theatre rehearsals are held Monday and Wednesday evenings beginning at 5:30 p.m. with company class rehearsals to follow from 7-10 p.m. OU Repertory Dance Company rehearsals are held Tuesday and Thursday from 7-10 p.m. and Friday from 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. following technique classes. Additional rehearsals are required when guest artists are in residence.

Take Root - Company in Residence
Beginning with their first full-length concert of the same name in 2013, Take Root commanded attention with their intricate partnering, thought provoking details and unrestricted vision.  Take Root’s kinesthetic connections to one another and their audiences creates thoughtful and visceral works of art; from the smallest gesture to the most explosive charges of movement. 

Calling Rochester, Michigan their home, Take Root is “Company-in-Residence” at Oakland University under the direction of its founder Ali Woerner, associate professor of dance. Appreciating the many facets of art, the company thrives on collaboration and untraditional spaces. Take Root’s multi-disciplinary approach to concepts and movement allows for their accessibility to all ages and backgrounds. They investigate the process of human connections, allowing their unique voice to directly reach audiences.

Take Root has performed at the New Dance for Asia International Festival/Seoul, South Korea, Incheon Yeonsu International Dance Festival/Incheon, Korea,  Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival, the Detroit Institute of Arts, National Theater of Costa Rica, Uferstudios/Berlin, Red Bull House of Art/Detroit, TEDx, Detroit Dance City Festival, RADfest, Harvest Chicago Contemporary Dance Festival, The Music Hall Center for Performing Arts/Detroit, Hamlin Field House Theater/Chicago, presented lecture/workshops for NDEO/Chicago & Miami, The University of Costa Rica, ACDF and the 21st Century Arts and Arts Education Conference. Take Root would like to recognize Oakland University’s College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Office, Oakland University’s Research Office, an “Anonymous Donor,” and The Community Foundation of Greater Rochester ‘s Cupp Family and Friend’s Youth Endowed Fund for their support.

Take Root prides themselves with their successful and impactful outreach programs; Dance for Parkinson's Disease and Arts Education. Take Root stands out from other dance companies through their mission to Impact Lives Through Dance!

Eisenhower Dance Detroit - Partnership
Eisenhower Dance Detroit is an internationally touring professional dance company, directed by Stephanie Pizzo and founded by former OU Professor Emerita of Dance, Laurie Eisenhower. OU students have the unique opportunity to mentor with the professional dancers of Eisenhower Dance Detroit and are given numerous opportunities to perform with the Company. The OU Repertory Dance Company often collaborates with Eisenhower Dance Detroit on large-scale choreographic productions. Senior dancers have the opportunity to audition for apprenticeships and internships with the Company, a unique and valuable pre-professional training opportunity. Many OU alumni have eventually been hired by Eisenhower Dance Detroit as full company members. 

450 Enterprise Ct. in Bloomfield Hills | 248-594-9400

Bailey Allshouse

Bailey Allshouse is a native of the Detroit Metropolitan area, where he began dancing at the age of 16, as a member of the Harrison High School Dance program. In the culmination of his high school career, Bailey elected to pursue dance as a profession, and attended the American Dance Festival six-week summer program (2013), in search of more extensive training. In the fall of the same year, Bailey attended Wayne State University, undeclared. Despite having been denied acceptance into the dance program for that school year, he was persistent in keeping up with his dance studies - eventually being accepted as a BFA dance major and talent scholar. During his enrollment, Bailey developed a strong interest in expressing himself choreographically, and had his work selected for presentation at four different departmental concerts. He finished his degree in the spring of 2017, summa cum laude.

In his short time out of school, Bailey continues to be well-received as a choreographer by various dance artists and professionals in and around the Detroit area, as well as the mid-west region of the United States, NYC, and more. At the age of 24, Bailey has been honored to be a recipient of the Copperfoot Award for Choreography and the Maggie Allesse Choreography Award. Additionally, his work has been selected for presentation at the 2017 ACDA East Central Conference Gala, the Oakland Dance Festival, the 2017 and 2018 Maggie Allesee Choreography Competition Galas, Brighton Dance Festival, New Dance Fest, Detroit Dance Exchange and Movement Research at the Judson Church. Allshouse was also offered to perform his works at the 2019 AZOTH International Choreographic Festival in Blois, France.

As a performer, Bailey has had the pleasure of dancing works by Doug Varone, Stefanie Batten Bland, Trey McIntyre, Robert Moses, Ronald K. Brown, Helder Seabra, and Martha Graham among others. As well, Allshouse has had the opportunities to study alongside artists, such as Andrea Miller, Johannes Weiland, Maxine Doyle, Kathleen Hermesdor, and Ohad Naharin. However, Bailey is looking forward to opportunities where he will present his work and finding spaces where he can develop his craft as a movement artist and choreographer through various contemporary forms. He is currently living in Detroit, MI, pursuing performance, choreography, teaching and travel, as a freelance artist.

Dušan Týnek

Dušan Týnek (DT) is known internationally for his striking blend of theatricality, musicality and humanism in formally structured post-classical dance and has been called “an undoubted talent” by The New York Times. His intelligent and demanding work bridges the worlds of dance, visual arts, music, science, film and fashion.

Since founding his own company Dušan Týnek Dance Theatre (DT)² in 2003, DT has created over 30 major dances, choreographed an opera, and held ten critically-acclaimed seasons in major dance venues in NYC (e.g. New York Live Arts, BAM Fisher, The Joyce Theater). Two NYC seasons have been named as the dance highlights of the year by The New York Times and the Huffington Post.

In addition to stage work, DT has created a large number of site-specific works at museums (e.g. The Met), Skyspaces by James Turrell (Sarasota, FL; Houston, TX) and numerous flooded quarries (Cape Ann, MA). He has received commissioning grants from the NEA and from the Harkness, Greenwall, and O’Donnell-Green Music and Dance Foundations. DT has taught and/or set work on students at schools across the U.S. and abroad. He is the recipient of the prestigious Bogliasco Fellowship, Djerassi Artist Residency, The Hermitage Fellowship, the CUNY Dance Initiative residency and a winner of the Choreographic Fellowship at the University of Kansas. The company regularly tours and has participated in festivals around the U.S., Europe and Russia.

Zvi Gotheiner

“One does not just watch a dance by Zvi Gotheiner. One enters a world with its own internal logic, a sensual, organic world of movement, language and images where one is pulled along by currents unseen and inevitable.” (Dance Magazine)

Internationally acclaimed choreographer Zvi Gotheiner is the Artistic Director of ZviDance. Praised for a signature innovative style and fascinating melding of artistic mediums, his work is recognized as radical, contemporary dance theater, ground-breaking, thoughtful yet passionate, with lush movement. Zvi is also a renowned ballet teacher with a devoted following throughout the world, hailed by The New York Times as The Zen Dance Master of New York.

His work frequently touches upon relevant issues and themes around relationships and community. He has been described “as much sociologist as dance-maker” (Alastair Macaulay, New York Times), His Dabke was recognized by The New York Times as a Top Ten Dance Favorite of 2013.

A prolific choreographer with over 35 works in the last 30 years, Zvi integrates exciting original musical scores, evocative lighting designs, with edgy multi-media and video projections. The ZviDance renowned creative team includes composers Scott Killian and Jukka Rintamak; visual designers Josh Higgason and Herzog Nadler; and lighting designer Mark London. His collaborative approach extends to the dancers and is infused with a deep regard for the individual and their creative, aesthetic role within the ensemble. His company is admired for its elasticity, athleticism and emotional expressivity.

Zvi has created numerous commissioned works for prestigious companies, institutions and universities around the world, including Repertory Dance Theatre Utah, GroundWorks Dance Theatre, Juilliard Dance New Dances, Princeton, NYU, Ohio State University, University of Washington, Bard College, Vassar College.

ZviDance performs frequently at home in New York City at venues such as Brooklyn Academy of Music Next Wave Festival, Dance Now Festival, Joyce Theater, New York Live Arts and Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors. The company has been featured in festivals such as the American Dance Festival and Jacob’s Pillow. The company tours internationally in Germany, Poland, Russia, Israel, Colombia, Brazil, Ecuador and Japan.

Born in Israel, the musically gifted young Zvi encountered a performance of the Batsheva Dance Company that forever changed his life, inviting him “into a world of fantasy and self-definition”. As a young dancer/choreographer, he was discovered by the legendary Gertrud Kraus, who took him under her wing. Following a dance scholarship with the America-Israeli Cultural Foundation, he began dancing throughout the world with Batsheva Dance Company, Joyce Trisler, Eliot Feld, among others.

He founded the Tamar Ramle Dance Company, a herald of the Israel dance fringe movement, and later directed the Tamar Jerusalem Dance Company. Increasingly drawn to New York City, he moved in 1988, and in 1989 founded ZviDance.

School of Music, Theatre and Dance

Varner Hall, Room 207
371 Varner Drive
Rochester, MI 48309-4485
(location map)
Academic Office: (248) 370-2030
Box Office: (248) 370-3013
Fax: (248) 370-2041