Dance Program

Why Study Dance at Saint Mary’s College? We cultivate creativity, skill and artistry in a nurturing and supportive environment.  Students come to Saint Mary’s to dance because they have a passion for moving. Our noncompetitive atmosphere gives all dancers the opportunity to perform, even in their first year.


Dance Program Learning Goals:

The dance program at Saint Mary’s College strives for a holistic approach to studying dance by:

  • emphasizing a healthy attitude toward dance.
  • developing efficient movement patterns that promote a healthy body.
  • encouraging reflection both of the practice and the spirit.
  • assisting the dancer in taking ownership of growth and change.
  • teaching healthy life-style choices including nutrition and injury prevention.
  • exploring the dancing body in relationship to the SMC community, the greater dance community, and the world, thus placing dance within a larger context of ideas.
  • requiring cross training of various dance styles and methods, including technique, technical theatre, Somatics, and world dance forms, in addition to recommending other disciplines within the performing arts.
  • attending dance concerts of professional companies. 
  • offering peer mentoring and one-to-one faculty mentoring.
  • supporting individual artistic choices to express individual thought, choreography, and research to further develop creative and critical thinking.
  • creating professionally trained dancers in a rigorous and positive environment.


The Dance program offers three areas of concentration: Choreography and Performance, Dance Science, and Dance Stuides. Email Professor Cathy Davalos at for information about areas of study, the Saint Mary's College Dance Company or other opportunities to pursue dance at Saint Mary’s College.

The Saint Mary's College Dance Company

Professor Cathy Davalos, Artistic Director of the Davalos Dance Company, Professor Dana Lawton, a ten-year member of Janice Garrett and Dancers and Artistic Director of Dana Lawton Dances, Jia Wu, Artistic Director of Jia Wu Dance Theater, offer dance students the opportunity to perform with the Saint Mary’s College Dance Company (SMCDC), now in its 22nd year. From September to May, Company members experience what it means to be a professional dancer by going through training, choreography, and performance. Students in the dance program work with professional dancers and choreographers from throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition to Davalos, Lawton, and Wu students have had the opportunity to study with Shaunna Vella, Rogelio Lopez, Bliss Kolmyer, Paco Gomes, Janice Garrett, Nina Haft, Stacey Printz, and Randee Paufve all whom have created new works for the SMCDC.


Auditions are not required for the Performing Arts major in dance. Students will audition for performance ensembles, including the Saint Mary's College Dance Company, early in the new academic year. Call Professor Dana Lawton at (925) 631-8540 for more information about auditions.


The dance program at Saint Mary’s College offers scholarships to incoming freshman. Dance scholarships are merit-based for demonstrated artistic excellence. The audition will consist of three parts: a modern dance technique class, a short solo, and an interview. Learn more.

Video Clips

View recent dance performances.