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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Dance Major Journal

UC Irvine


Dance Major Journal was founded in 2010 in the dance department of the University of California, Irvine. It features writing focused on the interests, issues, experiences, and concerns of dance majors, aimed at sharing information, research, advice, and points of view.

DMJ welcomes conversational writing style, personal essays, new formats, humor, stories, and “answers for dance majors” (ways to explain to the outside world the value and facts of a dance education), as well as academically sound essays using clear language and lively prose.

Dancing Still Goes On

Dear Mr. McKayle

Working with the legendary choreographer Donald McKayle during the last year of his life made a permanent impression on one of the dancers in his Ensemble.

Brown legs, pink tights

In ballet history, pink tights were meant to match a dancer's skin color, so why hasn't that standard changed as the population of ballet has changed? The author suggests that every dancer could see a way forward more productively if more color options became available and normalized.

Does your dance tell a story?

In the turbulent era of COVID-19, the author asks how a choreographer's practice can make a difference. Using personal and professional experience, she explores the ways identity exploration and one incident of casual racism directed against Asian Americans inspired her creative work and activism.

A dancing body leaves nothing

A choreographer considers the way dance and grief can become partners, and breathing goes on.

Tiler Peck can teach you more than ballet technique

The new era of Instagram opportunities to take class from prominent dance stars could be intimidating for dancers who compare themselves to veterans at the top of their field. But instead of worrying about sending the perfect image, some of them show you they also struggle, while using their kitchen counters as barres. You can end up also learning how to have self-compassion and how to become an artist, using a "growth mindset."

Dear Dance, I think we need to break up...

What happens when a dance major decides that dance isn't their main passion anymore? It turns out a dance education can serve you well, even when you switch your focus.

The pathway into dance for one reluctant boy

Avoiding the stereotypes of a boy in ballet can be hard, especially when teachers don't challenge them. But through persistance, one postmodern dancer recalls how passion for dance would just not go away.

Is a career in dance worth all the sacrifices?

Maybe your practical grandmother would rather you were a nurse, and maybe your family warns you about financial insecurity in the arts, but sometimes, you just have to persist.

The dignity of work-to-study agreements in private studios

One dancer figures out how to continue taking dance when family finances make it difficult. She suggests that studio owners remain aware of the options and that they make it more normal for those who have to ask for help.

Diving Forward--or is it going backwards to pursue a graduate degree in dance?

One professional commercial dancer in Los Angeles takes you through her process of deciding to apply for graduate school and why it made sense.

An unforeseeable career path: concert dance, Broadway, and commercial dance

Even when you think you know what kind of dancing you want to do, a veteran professional says, you have to be ready when different doors open. Whether it's a concert dance company of your dreams, Broadway, or commercial gigs, it's all dancing.

Forced to move virtually

How will dance's quick transition to virtual spaces affect it in the long run? Video technology is not new but the challenges might be.

Becoming a better dancer through social "dis-dancing"

Dancing at home has its challenges, but experts gather practical advice that can help you adjust and thrive in the virtual dance space.