The Dance Department at BTW High School for Performing and Visual Arts consists of approximately one hundred and seventy-five dance majors and six full-time dance faculty with additional part-time professionals from the community. Concentrating on ballet and modern dance techniques, the students will also experience jazz, tap, African Dance, Ballet Folklorico, international dance, and repertory; in addition, students are required to experience theoretical studies in composition, dance history, notation, survey of dance, dance production, dance kinesiology, and elements of performance. In 2009, the international magazine, Dance Teacher, released a feature story on the success of the dance curriculum at Booker T. Washington HSPVA.
Outstanding professional dancers from the Dallas community are a vital part of the instructional program. Residencies by performing dance companies give the students the opportunity to participate in master classes; works of locally and nationally prominent choreographers are included in the repertory of the Repertory Dance Ensembles, and the World Dance Ensemble.
For thirty-five years, the Dance Department has hosted such guest artists as Donald McKayle, Arthur Mitchell, Dwight Rhoden, Robert Battle, Larry Keigwin, Jessica Lang, Luis Montero, Gus Giordano, Bill Evans, Lynda Davis, Martha Curtis, Michael Kelly Bruce, John Mead, Bella Lewitzky Dance Company, Repertory Dance Theatre of Utah, Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company, Merce Cunningham Dance Company, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, Donald Byrd The Group, Lar Lubovitch Dance Company, among others.
The BTW Dance Department has received funding from the Dallas Independent School District, Arts District Foundation, Office of Cultural Affairs, Texas Commission on the Arts, Mid-America Arts Alliance, Meadows Foundation, TACA, Target, and the McDermott Foundation and has continued to foster partnerships with TITAS, AT&T Performing Arts Center, the Dallas Museum of Art, the Nasher Sculpture Center, The Meyerson Symphony Center, Dallas Black Dance Theatre, The Dance Council, Big Thought, and Ft. Worth Imagination Celebration, to name a few.
Since 1976, the students and graduates from the Dance Department have received local, regional and national recognition. Repertory Dance Ensemble has performed in Sydney, Australia and throughout the United States; two ensembles are on the artist roster for Young Audiences of Greater Dallas, an educational outreach program. Since 1980, dance students have received annual recognition in the Young Arts program, sponsored by the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts. More dancers from BTWHSPVA have been recognized in this national competition than from any other school or studio in Texas.
An unprecedented 16 dance students (of 20 school-wide) achieved the prestigious award of Presidential Scholar in the Arts and were recognized in Washington, D.C. Many of our students have received scholarships to School of American Ballet, Dance Theater of Harlem, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Joffrey Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Boston Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Repertory Dance Theatre of Utah, American Dance Festival, Jacobs Pillow Dance Festival, Lines Ballet, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Bates Dance Festival, Skidmore Summer Intensive, San Francisco Conservatory, and Interlochen Center for the Arts. Several of our graduates choose to further their dance studies receiving scholarships to California Institute of the Arts, The Juilliard School, North Carolina School of the Arts, University of Utah, Florida State University, Ohio State University, Stephens College, SUNY- Purchase, Long Island University-Brooklyn, Point Park University, Rutgers University, Southern Methodist University, Texas Christian University, University of North Texas, Texas Woman's University, University of Texas, and West Texas A&M. Others choose a professional career in dance with companies such as Dallas Ballet, Dancers Unlimited Repertory Company, Dallas Black Dance Theatre, Bella Lewitzky Dance Company, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Cleo Parker-Robinson Dance Company, Perridance, North Carolina Dance Theatre, Bill T. Jones Dance Company, The Feld Ballet, Royal Swedish Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Mark Morris Dance Company, Twyla Tharp Dance Company, Hubbard Street Dance Company, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Lar Lubovitch Dance Company, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, Amalia Hernandez Ballet Folklorico, Toronto Dance Theatre, Limon Dance Company, and Broadway Musicals Applause, Chicago, Fosse, Thou Shalt Not, Oklahoma, Sweet Charity, Moving Out, A Chorus Line, The Lion King, West Side Story, and Memphis.