Our unique four-year Bachelor of Fine Arts degree program combines the acclaimed training and philosophy of LINES Ballet with Dominican’s comprehensive liberal arts education and social values.
Student dancers experience classes on both the beautiful Dominican campus in San Rafael, California, and in San Francisco at the spacious studios of Alonzo King LINES Ballet.
Our dance curriculum emphasizes ballet (Western classical dance) as its foundational language, complemented by extensive training in modern and other dance forms. With our direct relationship to Alonzo King, we offer students special access to the process, environment, and philosophy of one of today’s foremost choreographers.
Founded by the Dominican Sisters of San Rafael and chartered in 1890, Dominican University of California is a premier liberal arts university which seeks to embody Dominican educational ideals: love of truth, beauty and life of the mind, and a deep respect for the dignity and worth of the individual. Nestled in the hills of San Rafael, the campus features graceful old buildings and shady tree-lined paths.
For complete information on the university, please visit Dominican’s website.
Dominican Mission and Values
Dominican University of California educates and prepares students to be ethical leaders and socially responsible global citizens who incorporate the Dominican values of study, reflection, community, and service into their lives. The University is committed to diversity, sustainability, and the integration of the liberal arts, the sciences, and professional programs.
Dominican offers more than 60 programs of study, reflecting the diversity and creativity of our faculty, students, and location. With a 10:1 student-to-faculty ratio, average class size of 16, and proximity to San Francisco, Dominican is able to provide both the personal attention associated with smaller schools and with the academic resources and global opportunities associated with larger universities.
Dominican is known for being close-knit, friendly and supportive. With only 2,200 students, small class size, and our small-town, park-like campus, students make amazing friends and truly get to know their professors. They’re involved, challenged and recognized, all while being supported, guided, and encouraged by dedicated faculty and friends. In addition, Dominican offers more than 50 student clubs and organizations.
At Dominican, students don’t have to look far to find an opportunity for serenity and reflection. It’s everywhere. The University’s 80-acre campus with beautiful manicured gardens offers a calming influence, along with sun-drenched benches to relax upon.
At Dominican, students find themselves sharing the basics of good sportsmanship with lacrosse campers, teaming up with local museum curators to create traveling art exhibits, and mentoring low-income families in preparing their tax returns. Last year alone, our students completed over 8,645 service-learning hours. It’s no wonder Dominican has once again been named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll – the highest federal recognition for commitment to service-learning and community engagement.
One of the wonderful benefits of art study is that you develop intuition. Intuition is that knowing which doesn’t rely on inference and doesn’t need validation. It just knows.
We are very proud to see the achievements, awards, and milestones of students and alumni since the founding of the Alonzo King LINES Ballet BFA at Dominican University of California.
Princess Grace Foundation scholarship recipients have included Lani Dickinson (’16), Katie Scherman (’10), and Jeffrey Van Sciver (’13). Jeffrey Van Sciver was also awarded the Princess Grace Foundation’s Chris Hellman Award.
Dizzy Feet Foundation scholarship recipients include:
Tatiana Barber (’16), Charbel Rohayem (’16), William Couture (’15), Madeline Matuska (’15), Mary Kate O’Sullivan (’14), Rachel Furst (’13), and Jeffrey Van Sciver (’13).
In 2015, LINES BFA at Dominican was listed in The Ten Best Colleges for Dance Performance in the US.
In 2014, BFA alum Casey Thorne (’10) was awarded a Fulbright Student Fellowship to research dance in Israel.
In 2013, BFA alum and current LINES company member, Michael Montgomery (’11), was named one of Dance Magazine’s “25 to Watch”.
In 2011, our students were invited to attend the Tremplin Jeunes Ballets of the Monaco Dance Forum, a highly prestigious showcase attended by international directors of contemporary and classical ballet companies.
Our graduates have been offered positions in dance companies around the world, including:
They have been accepted into prestigious education programs:
And they have gone on to choreograph works for various organizations including:
I gravitated to the BFA Program at Dominican because the philosophies that they stood for were ones that I did too – the idea of endless service to our art and passion. I also loved that they believe in the sense of family – not just among classes, but as an entire organization. I wanted to be somewhere where I felt I could let my spirit soar and explore without limits.
Class of 2011, LINES Ballet company dancer
Hometown: Richmond, CA
How would you describe your overall experience at the LINES BFA Program at Dominican in just three words?
Gritty. Exposing. Enlightening.
What is one valuable memory or lesson that you look forward to applying to your future dance career?
During one of Maurya’s classes my sophomore year, she got really frustrated with us at a combination in center. She paused the accompanist and began to speak to us about how impactful our dancing could be. I remember her specifically saying, “Dancing like this is not going to save the world.” It really struck me to think that my movement could have that potential at that age. Throughout the years, however, I can attest that I have experienced healing on a personal level from witnessing dance, and I hope to only be able to do the same for others… I am beyond grateful for the direction and blessings that I have been given!
What was your most unexpected yet impressionable experience preparing and performing for the Senior Showcase at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts?
On show day, approximately 10 minutes until the top of the show, I was bouncing around in the wings attempting to calm my nerves when Alonzo came backstage and approached me. I’m sure he could feel the anxiety attack building up inside me when he greeted me. He began to speak to me about my journey through the program these last four years, and how I was not the same boy he first met freshman year. He told me incredibly beautiful and inspiring things that assured me that there was no reason for me to doubt myself; that I had all the tools within me already to achieve my fullest potential that night, and any moment from there on. For anyone who has spoken with Alonzo, they understand the impact of his insight. How his words hit your nervous system and psyche, transforming definitions into feelings, ideas, and emotion. His words became tangible because I could feel the truth and sincerity in his speech. We only spoke for about a minute or so, but what he said has stuck permanently in a newly profound way. It was as though he took my doubt and nerves with him as he left to sit in the audience. I’ve never felt so free and in control of my life as I did that night on that stage. It was nothing short of magic.
What is one important lesson you learned while working on your Senior Project that you’d want to share with young aspiring dancers?
As a choreographer, it is never satisfying to be the only creative output. As students we are taught discipline and structure, which are extremely important aspects when dancing in a professional environment. I, however, feel that young dancers often then assume that they must then contain their imagination and creative voice. Imagination is not a bad habit. Not tracking your knees is a bad habit. Speaking in class is a bad habit. Rolling your eyes at the teacher is a bad habit. Imagination is the source for human creation. Discipline is there to allow the environment of the room to hold endless potential. You discipline your body and your actions to unleash your creativity. Having a wild imagination is only a crutch when you attempt to conceal it.
Come into a process with ideas of your own. The choreographer may not always like your interpretation, but they will always know when you’re engaged. With dancers that are willing, engaged, and open to anything, the possibilities become limitless. The choreographer needs the dancers just as much as the dancers need the director. Every single person plays a vital role in the process, so take responsibility of that role by constantly thinking and questioning when in process. Lastly, don’t look to please the director before you please yourself. If you’re not enjoying it, most likely they aren’t either.
If you could give one piece of advice to incoming or prospective students, what would it be?
Dive in head first and don’t try to control the outcome. The sooner you get comfortable with not knowing what is going to happen to you, the sooner you will find the true beauty of this program. Allow every day to be significant and life-altering. Take risks. Let things knock you down. Let people help you up. Don’t freak out when college isn’t easy, because it just isn’t easy…We are the next generation of dance artists and we must keep the knowledge that’s been passed down through our faculty. Always consider their ideas and opinions, but you are not bound to them! You are a free thinking artist and you have the ability to take what you will and leave the rest…Take care of your bodies! Most importantly, connect with as many incredible artists and people as you can. This program contains some of the most beautiful souls that you will ever meet!
Dive in head first and don’t try to control the outcome. The sooner you get comfortable with not knowing what is going to happen to you, the sooner you will find the true beauty of this program. Allow every day to be significant and life-altering. Take risks. Let things knock you down. Let people help you up.
Class of 2016