MFA Dance Admission & Application

one dancer in a bow onstage
This photo was taken prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.


Prospective MFA students will need to audition virtually. There will be no in-person auditions for admission into the program for the 2021-2022 academic season. Each prospective MFA student will be scheduled for a 1 hour individual interview with members of the faculty during the audition process. Applicants will open the interview with a brief presentation that highlights their interests in graduate work at UA and outlines possible areas of emphasis.

To register for the audition, please email Lawrence Jackson at


Fall Virtual Audition Deadline

You must submit your video (see details below) by October 15, 2020.

Spring Virtual Audition Deadline

You must submit your video (see details below) by February 15, 2021.

Video Recording

We recommend you record your video horizontally to ensure a wide enough frame so we can see your whole performance. Make sure to shoot the video in a space with good lighting where you have enough room to showcase all of your skill.

Audition Result Notification

We will notify dancers of their admission status by November 1, 2020 for
Fall submissions and March 1, 2021 for spring submissions. We will notify
all students of the results by email/postal.

Admission Results

Accepted: You may begin course work as an MFA Candidate.
Not Accepted: An indication that we feel you will not be successful in our graduate dance curriculum at this time.

Video Audition Requirements


Perform the following center combinations:

  • Approximately 1 minute of “adagio” work:
    • should include developpés in 2nd position, Arabesque balance or tour lent/promenade, and include at least one pirouette
  • Approximately 20-30 seconds of “petit allegro”, small jumps:
    • should include a combination of small jetés, assemblés, pas de chat, and/or similar steps
  • Approximatetly 30-40 seconds of “grand allegro”, big jumps:
    • should include a combination of sauté Arabesque, grand jeté/grand saut de chat, tour jeté/entrelace, and/or similar steps
  • Optional pointe work should include echappé relevé on point, pique turns, pirouettes, and/or similar steps for approximately 1-minute length.

’s knowledge of classical ballet line including basic positions (croisé devant, ecarté devant, arabesque), turnout, extensions, musicality, ability to balance, control of plié and transfer of weight. You should also be able to perform pirouettes and allegro work with clarity and elan. If you are not confident submitting your own combinations, sample combinations that meet these requirements may be found at the links below:

Petit Allegro
Grand Allegro
Pointe (optional)


Perform a 1 minute movement sequence that contains:

  • Articulation of the spine – curves, twists, and isolations of the different areas of your back
  • Grounding your weight, using large transfers of weight between legs and a wide plié
  • Off-balance movements, illustrating a feeling of fall and recovery.
  • A smooth transfer of weight into and out of the floor (this will involve moving from standing to floor-level)
  • Pushing your hands into the floor to propel you though space (all kinds of inversions, including handstands and cartwheels)

If you are not confident submitting your own combination a sample combination that meets these requirements can be found at the link

Contemporary Combination


  • Perform a 2-minute movement combination that includes isolations, inside and outside turns, leaps and changes of levels.
  • You should also be able to demonstrate the ability to effectively use the torso, pelvis and perform complex rhythmic patterns.

If you are not confident submitting your own combination a sample combination that meets these requirements can be found at the link

Jazz Combination


  • Perform a one-minute work of in any style/genre of your choice (tap, ballroom, house, flamenco etc.) exhibiting your best attributes as a dancer. The work may be improvisational, choreographed by either you or a guest choreographer. If a guest choreographer, please credit name.

Please send your completed audition video to Lawrence Jackson at We recommend sending videos via YouTube or Vimeo link.

Admission Criteria and Process

Prospective students apply through The University of Alabama’s Graduate School.

Acceptance into the Department of Theatre and Dance (MFA) program requires the fulfillment both of general criteria established by the UA Graduate School as well as particular criteria established by the department.

dancers in a dance class
This photo was taken prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

GRE scores are not required.

Department Criteria

Statement of Purpose

Applicants will compose a one-page, single-spaced narrative, relating research and movement practice interests to pursuing a degree within the UA program. The essay should situate candidates within the field at the present time, gathering significant details of candidates’ previous experiences, clarifying current involvement and interest in dance, and speculating about the candidates’ future intentions within the field. Reviewers are interested in getting to know something about the candidates as dance professionals through this writing.

Curriculum Vitae

This document should accurately reflect candidates’ completed educational background and all of their professional and related experiences to date. Document should be thorough and comprehensive.

Work Samples

Candidates will list Vimeo, YouTube or similar resources as hyperlinks in a Word or PDF attachment. These samples should demonstrate candidates’ expertise and interests, such as excerpts of choreography, documentation of performances, samples of lighting plots, dance notation, or dance media projects.

Writing Sample

The dance faculty will review writing samples to determine applicants’ potential research and creative interests and to assess their competency as writers. Candidates will submit a substantive piece of writing, one that demonstrates their thoughtfulness and capacity to handle language with fluency. This writing submission must be at least four pages double-spaced but no more than 20 pages; this might take the form of a critical review, process paper, or scholarly essay.

Letters of Recommendation

At least three (3) letters of recommendation must be submitted. Letters should speak to candidates’ artistic and academic strengths. At least two letters should be from someone at an academic institution (past or present) who can speak to these strengths, even if previous academic work was not in dance.


Unofficial transcripts will be required to apply. Official transcripts from prior institutions will be required after admission/acceptance.

More Information

For more information, please contact Lawrence Jackson, Director of Dance, at