School of Education

Dance Education

Hofstra’s BS in dance education prepares highly skilled and creative dance educators to design and implement innovative dance education programs. Upon the successful completion of the degree, students are eligible for New York state initial certification as a teacher of dance in all grades. They are certified to teach dance in the public schools, and are well-qualified to teach in private schools, dance studios and community centers.

How Does It Work?

The dance education majors enroll in the same dance classes as the dance majors, in addition to education and dance education courses, and liberal arts classes. Students enter Hofstra as dance majors and choose to specialize in dance education by their junior year. The program culminates with student teaching of dance in public schools in Long Island and New York City.

For more information on applying to this program, please visit the Office of Undergraduate Admissions.

For information on financial aid, please visit Student Financial Services.


While there are no auditions for admission to the Dance Program, we do hold auditions (usually the second Saturday in March) for placement in the technique classes, and to determine Activity Grant awards. The Dance Program administers a limited number of talent/activity grants that may range from $500 to $5,000 per year and are renewable. They are based primarily on the student’s potential as a dancer and his/her contribution to the program. Additional grants are also available for outstanding continuing students. Departmental scholarships are in addition to any other university scholarships, grants or loans for which the student might qualify.

How to Apply

  1. Submit an application to the University.
    The student should file a formal application for admission to Hofstra as soon as possible, indicating on the application that he/she wishes to be a dance major. The standard Financial Aid Form should be obtained from the high school office and sent as soon as possible, asking that a copy be sent to Hofstra’s Admission Office.
  2. Register for auditions with the Dance Department beginning the first week of January.
    The applicant should contact the Department of Drama and Dance at (516) 463-5444 beginning the first week in January and no later than March 1 informing the Department that he/she has applied for admission and wishes to register for an audition.
  3. Audition for the faculty.
    The audition date is usually the second Saturday in March and students should arrive at the Herbert School of Communication (south campus) at 9:00 AM. Students should be dressed in tights and a leotard (any color) and should have ballet slippers. Students will need to have bare feet for the Modern class. Hair should be securely fastened away from the face. The applicant must bring with them an 8 x 10 photograph, preferably full-length in dance attire, with name, address, and telephone number clearly printed on the back. The applicant should also bring a dance resume which lists prior dance experience: type of training, names of teachers and schools attended, years studied and the number of times per week classes were taken. The audition will consist of two, one-hour technique classes (Ballet followed by Modern). After that, approximately twenty dancers will be chosen for scholarship consideration. Dancers will present a short solo dance of no longer than 1 to 2 minutes. The solo may be an excerpt from a dance previously learned or choreographed, but please note that Tap is not considered for the dance audition and Pointe is not preferred. If using music, the applicant must supply a CD or I-Pod. Audio resources will be provided.

The mission of the Bachelor of Science in Education - Dance Education program is to prepare highly skilled and creative artist educators who understand the broad educational and developmental role dance can play for students of grades PreK-12. The program focuses attention on the development of knowledge and skills that prepare the college students to design and implement innovative dance education programs in the public schools, as well as in private schools and dance studios, that promote dance literacy, knowledge of the role of the dance and dancers in diverse cultures, artistic development, skill development, personal development, collaboration with others, and learning in other academic areas. The program is designed to prepare prospective teachers to create productive learning environment through effective planning and execution of instructional activities; effectively assess student learning; address special developmental and educational needs of students from PreK-12; teach students of both genders with a diversity of needs, experiences, cultural backgrounds, languages, disabilities, and special abilities; collaborate effectively with colleagues; and communicate, educate, plan, and work effectively with students’ families, school personnel and the surrounding community, including local arts community.

Specific Program Objectives

  1. Develop skill and artistic mastery of dance, choreography, and production, while expanding scientific, theoretical, historical, cultural, aesthetic and pedagogical knowledge of dance.
  2. Learn about the significance of dance in the evolution of human thought and expression, and the connections between dance and diverse cultures.
  3. Be introduced to music from many cultures, and the varied possible creative relationships between music, dance and dance education.
  4. Understand how individuals learn and develop and be able to provide, through dance and creative problem solving activities, opportunities that support PreK-12 students’ physical, creative, cognitive, social, and emotional development.
  5. Understand how individuals differ in their approaches to learning and create appropriate instruction adapted to diverse learners.
  6. Use an understanding of individual and group motivation and behavior to create a safe learning environment that encourages positive social interaction, active engagement in learning, and self-motivation.
  7. Use knowledge of effective verbal, nonverbal, and media communication techniques and technology to foster inquiry, collaboration, and the ability to take creative chances in dance activities.
  8. Plan and implement a variety of developmentally appropriate instructional strategies to develop dance and kinesthetic educated individuals, and that conform to the New York State Learning Standards for the Arts.
  9. Understand and use formal and informal assessment strategies to foster cognitive, creative, physical, social, and emotional development of learners through dance activities.
  10. Be reflective practitioners who evaluate the effects of their actions on others and seek to grow professionally.
  11. Foster relationships with colleagues, parents/guardians, and community agencies to encourage an understanding and appreciation of the art of dance, and to support learners’ growth and well being.

Dance Education majors have found employment at schools and studios throughout the New York metropolitan area, including Brooklyn, the Bronx, Connecticut, Long Island, Manhattan, and Queens. More information

Testimonials from our alumni

Meet the Faculty

Dance professor


Hofstra dance professors are connected to New York City's dance scene and to national and international opportunities. Under their guidance, you will:

  • Become proficient in multiple dance disciplines

  • Broaden your understanding of dance as an art form

  • Obtain technical expertise and understanding in exercise systems and somatic practices

  • Develop skills to evaluate dancing and dance experiences

  • Mature as a choreographer and performer 

Meet the full faculty in Hofstra's Department of Drama and Dance.

Jean Benincasa

Jean Benincasa received a bachelor's degree in Dance from Hofstra University and a master's degree in Dance Education with New York State Dance Teacher Certification from New York University. She is a full-time dance teacher at a private middle and high school on Long Island and is also the owner and director of a private Long Island dance studio.  Professor Benincasa has  taught as an adjunct at Hofstra University since 2010. Most recently in Fall of 2020 she became Hofstra's Program Director for Dance Education.

During her time at Hofstra, Benincasa has developed the Dancers in Schools project, working with Dance and Dance Education majors to prepare dance performances and workshops to bring to elementary and high school students. 

Benincasa is a member of the National Dance Education Organization and has presented workshops at national conferences. She is also certified in Stage One Fundamentals Language of Dance (LOD).

Professor Benincasa is currently pursuing an EdD in Learning and Teaching in the Hofstra doctoral program.

Susan Turner Radin

Susan Turner Radin has been dancing, choreographing, and teaching for 25 years.  Her mission as an artist and an educator is to introduce and advocate for dance as a medium for personal, cultural, and social expression, with an emphasis on developing a person’s unique creative voice.

She began her professional career in 1996 when she founded Turner Dance Industries, a non-profit modern dance company, that performed theme-based dance works in theatres, colleges, and K-12 schools throughout the Northeast and abroad for 10 years. 

In 2005, she taught dance in Australia for the Global Neighborhood Project.

Turner teaches dance pedagogy in the Dance Education Department of Hofstra University and is a cooperating teacher for Hofstra’s student teachers. Concurrently, she teaches dance in the performing arts department of Walt Whitman High School in South Huntington.  Turner serves as a dance representative for the Long Island Scholar Artist Award, is a member of the NY State Education Department’s committee for the Individual Arts Assessment Pathway and is an experienced curriculum and grant writer. In 2018 Turner was honored by NY State’s Dance Education Association with the NY State Dance Educator of the Year award. Turner received a bachelor's degree with honors in political science and international studies from Boston College and a master's degree in dance and dance education from Columbia University, Teacher’s College.  She is currently a candidate for a doctoral degree in Teaching and Learning at Hofstra University.

Livia Vanaver

For the past 47 years, Vanaver has been traveling throughout the U.S., and abroad with her musician/composer husband Bill Vanaver, and company of extraordinary dancers and musicians, collecting and performing traditional dance and music from many cultures.  They are acclaimed for utilizing traditional sources in the creation of original works and presenting them for audiences of all ages and backgrounds. Her commitment to creating community through the vehicle of dance has lead her to work with Friendship Ambassadors Foundation in their Balkan Peace and Reconciliation project in Eastern Europe and their program working with families of the victims of 9/11.

Vanaver holds a BFA in Dance from NYU School of the Arts (Tisch). For the past 40 years she has been on the cutting edge of Arts Education programs throughout New York State. A leading authority on dance education, she has pioneered the teaching of world dance styles and Global Citizenry in schools. She was on the faculty of the Academy for the Love of Learning, working closely with Aaron Stern in the initial Teacher Renewal Project. Vanaver taught dance at Columbia University in the Graduate Theater Program and currently teaches World Dance at Hofstra University. 

Outside the Classroom

Dance Education students may work with children enrolled in Hofstra’s Diane Lindner-Goldberg Child Care Institute. They also enjoy volunteering their time to lead creative dance workshops in partnership with AHRC of Long Island, a nonprofit organization that supports people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Students are encouraged to participate in MOVOM (Departmental Modern Dance Club) and T'DAA (Teaching Dance as Art: Dance Education Club). Other student organizations

More That We Offer:

  • An easy commute to New York City for auditions, performances, internships, and additional training.

  • Participation in the American College Dance Association and the National Dance Education Organization conferences.

  • Four beautiful dance studios and a multipurpose space for rehearsals and dance courses such as Kinesiology, Dance History, Teaching Methods, etc. 

Recognized as a “Top 30 College Dance Program for 2019-2020” by!

On Stage

In fall and spring concerts, students perform choreography by faculty and guest artists like Doug Varone, Sean Curran, Larry Keigwin, Earl Mosley, Adam Barruch, Liz Gerring, Trisha Brown, and Martha Clarke, and legends like Martha Graham and José Limón.  

Students also audition for the drama program's annual musical and present original choreography at the American College Dance Festival, the New York City Choreography Seminar, and at club presentations.

Director of Dance

Professor Rachel List
Room 111 Emily Lowe

Director of Dance Education

Professor Jean Benincasa

Office Information

Room 102 Emily Lowe Hall
Office Hours: Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Department Secretary: Angela Visco