Since its origin in 1962, the OCC Dance program has embraced the philosophy that effective training for both professional and nonprofessional dancers requires more than just physical movement experience. In addition to training the dancer’s physical body to master technique, strength, flexibility and musicality within a particular dance form, the program guides students in exploring their own creative potential, introduces them to the artistry of professionals through live performances, develops their insight, perception, understanding and evaluative skills, and enhances wellness through the integration of mind, body and spirit.

Our Mission: The Orange Coast College Dance and Pilates Department is committed to creating an inclusive, diverse, equitable, and student-centered environment, serving our community by providing rigorous and effective training for both professional and nonprofessional dancers of all ages and skill levels. Our students are introduced to the artistry of the professional world through esteemed faculty and guests, and guided to explore their own creative potential, developing performance and evaluative skills through the integration of mind, body, and spirit.

Our comprehensive and culturally diverse curriculum offers opportunities for life-long learners, prepares students for university transfer, and offers an Associate of Arts degree and /or vocational Certificates of Achievement as instructors in Dance, Pilates, or World Dance.  Above all, we inspire students to engage in the dynamic field of dance and to contribute to its vitality as artists, scholars, educators, advocates, and become responsible global citizens.

OCC Dance faculty are recognized professionals in their areas of expertise. They are active performing artists and choreographers. Among their honors are many national, regional and local aw​ards, performance histories with highly esteemed dance companies and choreographers, international performances and film credits. Accompanists for dance classes are highly accomplished musicians and composers.

Our curriculum​ serves as preparation for serious dancers wishing to transfer to universities and offers classes that take dancers from beginning to advanced levels. Classes include ballet, modern, jazz, tap, world dance forms, choreography, improvisation, appreciation of dance, music for dancers, repertoire, rehearsal and performance, Kinesiology for dancers, dance methodology, plus Gyrokinesis and a comprehensive Pilates program.​

Performance and choreography opportunities include Faculty Dance Concert (fall semester), Student Dance Concert (spring semester), World Dance Celebration (spring semester) and Studio Hour, a fully produced theatre performance offered at the close of each semester. The OCC Dance Department participates and performs each year at the American College Dance Festival. Faculty members also provide students outside performance opportunities both locally and with their companies.

Robert B. Moore Theatre

Our 916 seat Robert B. Moore Theatre stage measures 40 feet wide by 32 feet deep and has a state-of-the-art basket weave sprung floor. The facility has dressing rooms and quick change areas to accommodate up to 60 performers. All OCC Dance productions, including Studio Hour, are presented in this excellent theatre space that beautifully supports dance.

​Dance Studios

We have two large dance studios (60'x40' and 50'x40') with state-of-the-art basket weave sprung floors, pianos, and the latest audio/visual equipment (large flat screen TV, computers, and integrated audio).​

Pilates Apparatus Studio

​​Our Pilates studio is fully-equipped with reformers, Wunda chairs, Cadillac/Trapeze tables and additional small apparatus.


Students presenting as female must wear a black or solid color leotard with black or pink tights and black or pink ballet shoes. Students with long hair must wear hair in a ballet bun; shorter hair should be kept off the face. A short ballet skirt in black or pink may be worn for class.  Students presenting as male must wear a black or white leotard with black tights, black ballet shoes and a dance belt. Hair must be well groomed. Students presenting as non-binary may present in either of the above-named manners on consultation with the instructor.

Note: Level 1 students taking class with Professor Costas will be required to wear a black leotard.

Modern Dance​

Students must wear a black or solid color leotard with black or solid color tights or jazz pants. Hair should be well groomed, kept off the face, and pulled back in a bun or ponytail. Students presenting as male must also wear a dance belt.

Jazz Dance

Students must wear a black or solid color leotard and black or solid color tights or jazz pants. Students must have black or tan jazz shoes. Students presenting as male must also wear a dance belt. Hair must be well groomed, kept off the face, and pulled back in a bun or ponytail.

Note: Level 1 students taking class with Professor Costas will be required to wear a black leotard.

Improvisation and Choreography Classes

Students must wear fitted dance clothing that reveals body lines. Dancewear must be solid colors (no patterns or athletic stripes), and hair must be kept off the face. No jewelry is permitted for improvisation class. If neeeded, students must bring an extra T-shirt if they perspire excessively.

Latin Dance Styles, Hip Hop, and Tap

Students may wear street clothes with the appropriate shoes to their particular style of dance class. Ballroom dance shoes, character dance or jazz shoes are options for the Latin Dance classes. Tap dance students must wear tap shoes (low heeled shoes are preferred). Taps should be secured with screws that do not stick out above the tap; students must bring a screwdriver to every class.

World Dance (African, Middle Eastern, Flamenco and Polynesian)

​Students in these classes are required to dress in the style of the class to create a more authentic experience.

African Dance: students presenting as female must wear a lapa or fabric wrap around their waist and students presenting as male should wear loose fitting pants or shorts and a tank top, preferably made of African materials.

Middle Eastern Dance: students should wear fitted dancewear with a scarf or belt around the hips.

Flamenco Dance: students presenting as female should wear Spanish dance skirts with leotards and character shoes. T-shirt, pants, and Spanish dance boots for students presenting as male.

Polynesian Dance: students should wear clothes they can move in and, ideally, students presenting as female should wear a pareau or pa'u skirt.

"My time at OCC provided a solid foundation for my dance career; and having worked in opera, ballet, contemporary, and a commercial arena of dance, the education provided by OCC is my touchstone."
- Robert Moses


"Straight off the plane from Paris, I dived not into the ocean but into a swirl of dance at OCC’s Dance Dept. The ​seemingly endless array of classes that were offered allowed me to find out what kind of dancer I could become.These were intense days, and I grabbed every bit of knowledge I could from the dance faculty; I’m forever thankful to Linda Sohl-Ellison, Karen Shanley, and Shana Menaker, who were instrumental in nurturing the budding artist in me.Rocking moments: nowhere else in the world did I experience doing demi-pliés at the barre, exit the studio during an earthquake and then go back to class to proceed with grands pliés!
Right after OCC, I moved to NYC and auditioned for The Juilliard School, where I graduated with a BFA in Dance in 1995.
Dance is a part of me and it all started at OCC."
- Franck Baranek, Spring 1990 – Summer 1991


"The Dance Department at Orange Coast College provides solid technical and artistic training, creating well-rounded dancers comparable to that of several university level programs. I owe my passion for dance to this program which prepared me to transfer into the highly competitive School of Dance at the University of Arizona. OCC instilled in me a strong foundation which has allowed me to continue my career of teaching, choreographing and dancing professionally. It taught me how to push myself to my potential and has served as a gateway to becoming successful in this career path."
- David McMahan, Fall 2005 – Spring 2009


"I am now the proud owner of The Dance Factory School of Performing Arts. Having attended other junior colleges before, OCC’s amazing dance program taught me the most by far. The Jazz, Ballet, and Tap classes helped me learn more about body placement, the correct alignment, and proper technique that now improves my teaching. OCC also offers a very helpful Choreography class and Dance Methodology course that taught me how to prepare in-depth lesson plans and offered information on owning a dance studio. I would not have been prepared to teach 40 hours a week and run a studio without my training at Orange Coast College."
- Julianne Thompson, Fall 2006 – Spring 2009


"The OCC dance program’s supportive and enriching environment successfully prepared me to transfer to California State University of Long Beach and for a professional career in dance. I discovered new ways of moving and choreographing under the mentorship of incredible faculty members. The department facilitated my transformation from a dancer to an artist and uncovered a new passion for somatic work."
- Ashley Dragon, 2007-2010


​ "I am so thankful to the OCC Dance Department instructors for their knowledge, passion for dance, dedicated mentorship and for encouraging us to choreograph! Their classes provided me with the tools I needed, laying a good foundation for developing my technique and choreographic voice. Thanks to their mentorship, I successfully transferred into the CSULB dance program and graduate with a BA."
- Estela McNaughton


Pilates Testimonials

"The OCC Pilates/Dance Conditioning Program has changed my life. Its highly skilled, knowledgeable and dedicated teachers gave me the experience and education I needed to be successful in the Pilates field. Shortly after completing my certificate, I landed a Pilates job with great growth potential. I’m looking forward to a long, rewarding career in this field."
- Tina Catalano


"My training as a Pilates instructor started at OCC and laid the foundation for my career as a Pilates teacher.​ By the time I was ready to graduate, I could design lesson plans, teach mat and apparatus classes, and address modifications for issues ranging from de-conditioned clients to clients with osteoporosis. Thank you OCC!"
- Marijane Palchikoff


"Already a professional dancer and ballet teacher with a BFA in Dance from UCI, a passion for Pilates brought me back to school to earn my Pilates/Dance Conditioning Certificate from OCC. On graduating I felt well prepared to instruct Pilates to all ages and abilities and to apply my Pilates training to the dance classes I continue to teach."
- Arlene Dragon


"I chose OCC because it was close, affordable, and had a good reputation, but what I found there was so much more. The teachers are fabulous—well-trained, down to earth, and accessible. Every class—and there’s a wide choice—is beneficial, and the program covers all aspects of teaching."
- Chelsie Carr​