“Pace Performing Arts Presents DANCE OUT LOUD, 4/20-21”

Put on your dancing shoes this weekend and head to the Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts to experience ballet, jazz, modern, theater dance, tap, contemporary, hip hop and aerial arts like you’ve never seen it before! BroadwayWorld reports that Pace is one of the only universities to offer aerial arts (dancing while suspended in air!). highlights the third annual Dance Out Loud!

Pace Performing Arts presents “Dance Out Loud 2012,” conceived and directed by Rhonda Miller, director of Performing Arts’ Commercial Dance Program. The event stars more than 50 Performing Arts students, with a special appearance by Angelica Salem, Singing Artist/Pace Commercial Dance Student, who will perform her pop song, “We Rock the World.” Click here to watch a video. In addition, Pace faculty member Joshua Dean‘s “Dancing in Air,” a Pace First “Bad Boy” aerial number will be featured. Pace is one of the only universities to offer Aerial Arts.

WHEN: Friday, April 20th @ 8 pm, Saturday, April 21st @ 3 pm matinee and 8 pm.

WHERE: Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts, 3 Spruce Street (east of City Hall), New York, NY 10038. Directions:

TICKETS: $8 for students/seniors; $12 for adults at the door or reserve in advance by emailing

Choreographers: Joshua Dean, Lauren Gaul, Jen Littlefield, Melissa Rae Mahon, Rhonda Miller, Alisa Paradowski, Stephanie Torbik; Costume Design: Brain Hemesath; Lighting Design: Graham Kindred; Stage Managers: Elizabeth Caplan & Melissa Leslie; Student Choreographers: Brandon Contreras, Madison Embrey, Steven Langton, Courtney Taylor, Brett Thiele, Ashley Williams.

PACE’s COMMERCIAL DANCE program is an exclusive blend of the highest quality of professional dance training and theater studies. Students prepare for an all-encompassing professional career on stage, television and commercials with training by current working professionals in Acting, Vocal Studies, Technical Theater and a variety of current, pertinent dance styles such as Ballet, Jazz, Modern, Theater Dance, Tap, Contemporary, Hip Hop and Aerial Arts.

Photo credit: Danicah Waldo


BACKSTAGE: “A New College Program Trains Dancers to Work in Popular Entertainment”

According to Rhonda Miller, when she approached Pace with the idea of starting a commercial dance program, the administration was extremely excited because her concept dovetailed with the university’s mission to provide students with the kind of education that helps them to make a living.

Until recently, Oklahoma City University offered the only college dance program focusing on American vernacular dance forms, preparing students for work in the commercial dance industry—theme parks, cruise ships, Las Vegas shows, Broadway musicals, films, music videos, rock concert tours, and television. Now, OCU has company. In September, Pace University, in Lower Manhattan, kicked off a new degree program: a Bachelor of Arts in theater arts with a specialized track in commercial dance.
The program is the brainchild of the university’s director of dance, Rhonda Miller, founder and former co-owner of the Edge, one of Los Angeles’ leading commercial dance megastudios. Miller earned a BFA in ballet from the University of Utah and a master’s degree in musical theater from OCU, where she also served on the faculty.
“I was inspired years ago by Jo Rowan at Oklahoma City University, and now I want to bring a very current, up-to-the-minute, inclusive approach to the study of dance in college,” Miller explains in an article in BACKSTAGE. “In my 20 years of choreographing and teaching at dance conventions all over the country, I noticed that so many young dancers are exposed to the world of commercial dance growing up, and they aspire to dance behind pop stars, or perform on Broadway and in Vegas. Most universities, however, have only begun to even consider adding jazz and hip-hop and contemporary styles to their curriculum, much less the kinds of courses that would help students transition from their dance studio training into the commercial dance industry.”
According to Miller, when she approached Pace with the idea of starting a commercial dance program, the administration was extremely excited because her concept dovetailed with the university’s mission to provide students with the kind of education that helps them to make a living. “Originally, Pace was a business school,” Miller says. “And in our program, the students will be given a lot of commercial dance industry inside tips. They will be given information that is current, and they will know how to navigate themselves into the commercial industry when they graduate. They will be given exposure to and will be integrated into the professional dance scenes in both New York and Los Angeles through our faculty members, all of whom are working professionals.”
The program’s roster of regular faculty members represents the diversity of styles demanded of commercial dancers today and includes Radio City Music Hall Rockette Lauren Gaul; Broadway veteran Melissa Rae Mahon, who has danced in “The Producers” and “Cats” and is currently appearing in “Chicago” popular New York City Dance Alliance tap teacher Mike Schulster; aerialist Joshua Dean; hip-hop choreographer Alisa Paradowski; musical theater choreographer Jen Littlefield; and ballet textbook author Janice Barringer. In addition, though the university is in New York, Miller has wide-ranging connections in the professional dance community in L.A. and has arranged for many West Coast instructors to come and work as guest artists.
The program’s curriculum includes course work in acting, voice and movement, the technical aspects of theater (including lighting, sound, and acoustics), and the history of dance and American musical theater, in addition to classes in a variety of dance techniques and styles.
“The dance classes will include traditional training as well as exposure to all the fresh movements you see on television these days and behind all of the singing stars. Also, the business of dance will be very well covered,” Miller says. “What I say to dancers is, if you’re looking for career longevity, this is the program for you. It will give you the knowledge you need to transition through different phases of your career—from performance to choreography to, say, casting assistant or director. It provides a broad view of the industry that will give you a basis from which to build a long and sustained career in the commercial entertainment world.” In addition to a seminar course in which they will explore all aspects of the dance business, students will be encouraged to take advantage of Pace’s numerous business classes.
Miller sums up the program’s goal as “providing an understanding of the dance performing world as well as the business of entertainment.” The university’s performing arts department, under which this program falls, recently appointed a new chair. “His approach is industry-based—not just acting, not just singing, not just dancing,” says Miller with enthusiasm. “He wants our students to understand the whole industry, and that’s particularly important for dancers, whose performing careers are so short. That expanded knowledge base is what will give them career longevity.”
The program prepares dancers to work not just onstage but in all entertainment mediums, and while it is currently performance-oriented, in the future Miller plans to add training for commercial choreographers. In addition, the program’s students have permission to work professionally off-campus, pursue internships, and gain as much real-world experience as possible.
In selecting dancers for the program, which currently has 24 students, Miller is looking for performers who have had a minimum of five years of dance training in ballet or jazz. “They must be intermediate-level dancers, not beginners,” she says. “At the audition, they will be asked to do ballet, jazz, and possibly tap or hip-hop.” Dancers interested in applying to the program can find information about auditions (which will begin in January) at

DanceTeacher: “Keeping Pace with the Commercial World”

According to International Choreographer Rhonda Miller, who is spearheading Dyson’s new BA in Theater/Commercial Dance, “Being in New York City is a very important factor of our program — EVERY teacher on the faculty is currently working in the business.”

Starting this fall, Pace University is offering a program that caters exclusively to commercial dancers, providing specialized training for dance careers on the stage or silver screen, reports the September issue of DanceTeacher.  The BA in Theater/Commercial Dance program is the first of its kind in the nation, says Rhonda Miller, founder of L.A. dance studio The Edge, who is spearheading the audition-only program. “Pace is known for being a business school, so this blends right in with its philosophy,” she says.  Miller has been a full-time dance lecturer at Pace since 2008 and has been working with the university to create this degree for the past year. “The program teaches students how to make a living for themselves and how to develop themselves as a product,” she adds.

Classes include ballet, jazz, tap, hip hop and dance history, focusing on keeping students both diverse and current. “Being in New York City is a very important factor of our program—every teacher on the faculty is currently working in the business,” says Miller, who will teach jazz, choreography, theater dance and tap. Other faculty include Mike Schulster (tap), Janice Barringer (ballet), Lauren Gaul (contemporary and jazz) and Joshua Dean (modern dance and ballet). 

Why should commercial dancers choose to pursue a college degree? “The key word is longevity,” says Miller. “The best way to sustain a career in dance for your whole life is to educate yourself.” 

Click here to learn more about performing arts at Pace.

Dance Spirit Magazine: “Pace’s New Commercial Dance Major”

Spearheaded by International Choreographer Rhonda Miller, Pace’s new Commercial Dance program offers specialized training for dance careers in stage, television and commercials in a wide range of styles and forms including ballet, jazz, tap, hip hop … and more!

Calling all comp kids! This fall, Pace University in NYC is launching a new commercial dance program designed to train dancers who want to work professionally on both coasts.  In the September/Higher Ed issue of Dance Spirit Magazine, Rhonda Miller, Pace’s director of dance, says her experience as a teacher on the convention circuit helped her to see the need for this program. “Most college dance programs are ballet- or modern-based,” she says. “While those are of the utmost importance, I still find that many of the studio-trained students I meet are frustrated because they can’t continue focusing on the styles they grew up studying.”

Courtney Taylor, a senior acting major at Pace, plans to add a second major in commercial dance this fall. 
She feels that the new program will help her to become a more well-rounded performer. “Rhonda’s philosophy has to do with the fact that she wants dancers to be able to work and get paid for their art,” Courtney says. “I think that’s something many other college programs just brush over.”

Dancers in the program will take all of the academic classes required to earn a liberal arts degree, along with a variety of technique classes, including ballet, modern, contemporary, hip hop, tap and theater dance. Students will also attend regular seminars designed to help them develop the practical skills they need to survive in the industry—everything from working on-camera to editing music and creating resumés.

BroadwayWorld: “Pace University Announces COMMERCIAL DANCE Program; Applications Accepted Now”

One of the most sought-after choreographers and dance lecturers from coast to coast, Rhonda Miller (pictured), has been tapped to spearhead Pace University’s new Commercial Dance program, the first of its kind in the country.

Pace’s new Commercial Dance program – featured prominently in a two-page article on  – will provide specialized training for dance careers in stage, television, and commercials in a wide range of styles and forms including ballet, jazz, tap, and hip hop, to name a few. 

For further information on How to Apply and Audition, visit or call 212-346-1352.

BroadwayWorld: “Pace University Announces DANCE OUT LOUD! With Rhonda Miller, 4/29-30”

You will want to put on your dancing shoes when you see the mix of jazz, tap, ballet, modern, contemporary and hip hop dance being performed on the Schimmel Theater stage on Friday, April 29 and Saturday, April 30.

“Choreographer to the Stars” Rhonda Miller and Pace Performing Arts present the 2nd annual “DANCE OUT LOUD!” 

Click here to preview a rehearsal!   

WHEN: Friday, April 29th and Saturday, April 30th with a 2pm matinee and 8pm show both days.

WHERE: Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts, located in Lower Manhattan at One Pace Plaza (just east of City Hall), New York, NY 10038. Use the Spruce Street entrance between Gold Street and Park Row.  

TICKETS: Tickets are $8 for students/seniors and $12 for adults and can be purchased at the door or ahead of time by emailing for reservations.