Beyond the Classroom

Outside of your studio work and classes, you’ll find a wide range of opportunities for inspiration, professional development, connecting with other artists and thinkers, and building networks.


Professional Development  

Mills prepares you for a lifetime in dance. Taking part in performances, rehearsals, and internships on and off campus will provide exposure for your work and build networks. In addition to taking courses that teach skills to sustain your career—including video production, stagecraft, and writing—you’ll also have opportunities for professional development through apprenticeships.

  • Courses on dance pedagogy include a laboratory component in which you teach in a local public school, supported by faculty mentors.
  • Graduate assistantships help you pay for your studies while you teach college-level dance or assist with videography, stage production, theater courses, or costuming.

Renovated Dance Spaces  

Beginning in fall 2018, Mills dancers will present performances in the newly renovated Lisser Hall, a historic Spanish colonial revival building at the center of campus. Lisser Hall features:

  • A flexible performance space that can be configured like a proscenium theater or a black box theater, with as many as 277 seats
  • An intimate digital performance theater
  • Sprung floors
  • State-of-the-art lighting, sound booth, and Internet-enabled audiovisual equipment

Students also have access on campus to practice studios, a technology lab, and a wellness center for dancers staffed by a physical therapist.


The Bay Area Dance Scene  
Our location in the San Francisco Bay Area gives you access to one of the most vibrant, diverse dance communities in the United States. The region is home to some 800 organizations dedicated to dance, including companies, schools, and theaters. Mills has had partnerships with a number of them, including Alonzo King LINES Ballet, AXIS Dance Company, and Luna Dance Institute. This allows us to create unique opportunities for our graduate dance students, who can work with esteemed local artists and organizations on and off campus and participate in master classes taught by nationally respected guest artists.
What Can I Do with a Graduate Degree in Dance from Mills?

Our dance alumnae have achieved success as performers and choreographers, dance company directors, educators, and dance writers. Many combine all these roles in their careers. Among our graduates are:


Nataly Morales, MFA ’13
Dancer, Alchemy Dance Company

Alyce Finwall, MFA ’11
Artistic Director, Alyce Finwall Dance Theater

Peiling Kao, MFA ’10
Assistant Professor of Dance, University of Hawai‘i

Marcus Hayes, MFA ’05
Associate Professor of Dance, Austin Peay State University

Penny Hutchinson, MFA ’04
Associate Professor of Dance, Western Washington University

Nora Chipaumire, MA ’00, MFA ’02
Artistic Director, Company Nora Chipaumire

Danny Nguyen, MFA ’99
Dance Professor, College of Alameda

Mary Carbonara, MFA ’98
Teacher, Alonzo King LINES Ballet

Cuauhtémoc Peranda, MFA ’12
Artistic Director, Mitote Choreographics

Nzinga Woods, MFA ’11
Dance Program Director, ArtQuest Dance, Santa Rosa City Schools

José Navarrete, MFA ’08
Co-Founder, NAKA Dance Theater; Artist-in-Residence, Eastside Arts Alliance

Bonner Odell, MA ’05
Arts & Culture Journalist

Pauline Jennings, MFA ’04
Co-Artistic Director, DOUBLE VISION Intermedia Performance

Patricia Reedy, MA ’00
Founder and Director of Teaching and Learning, Luna Dance Institute

Allison Orr, MFA ’98
Artistic Director, Forklift Danceworks