Performance Ensembles

Students perform every semester, starting as incoming majors with the Freshmen Company where they experience the creation of a new work with a faculty member. Later opportunities include membership in the Repertory Dance Companies (I & II), Performance Project ensemble, Dance Gala concerts, screen dance, and more.

Freshman Company

What is the Freshman Company?

Freshman Repertory members take DAN 220, a class taken in dance majors’ first semester. It is a structured rehearsal process that leads to a public performance. At the completion of this course you will have a better understanding of the creative process and program expectations for professionalism.

Being Part of the Freshman Company.

In DAN 220, students are members of the “Freshman Company” and work in rehearsal with a faculty member as they set a new modern dance on the Freshman Company. Students become better performers through this process and are exposed to the collaborative nature of modern dance choreography. This experience prepares you to successfully audition for the Repertory Dance Company. The Freshman Company performs choreography excerpts at High School Dance Day and the entire dance at the December Informal Dance Concert.

Repertory Dance Company

What is the Repertory Dance Company?

The Southern Miss Repertory Dance Company (RDC) was established to provide performing opportunities for dance majors and to promote excellence in dance performance for our students. As company members, you gain insight into the protocol and standards of professional dance as they prepare for careers.

Being part of the Repertory Dance Company.

RDC provides an opportunity for dance majors to gain valuable performance experience and to become further prepared for professional careers in dance

  • RDC assessment standards are built on the rigorous expectations of the professional field in the areas of skills, knowledge and dispositions (professionalism) required;
  • RDC performs in all major departmental concerts and works with faculty, student, and guest choreographers;
  • All declared University dance majors and minors (except for first-semester students, and dance education majors who are student teaching) are required to audition for the company each semester;
  • Performance/choreography majors are required to be accepted into company for a minimum of four semesters and dance education majors are required to be accepted into company for a minimum of two semesters.

RDC Eligibility //

All dance majors are eligible to audition for RDC beginning in the second semester of study as a dance major. However, students must maintain an unweighted 2.5 GPA in dance courses in the previous semester.

Auditions //

Auditions for RDC are held on the second day of class each semester and are led by the RDC director for the semester.

  • All eligible dance majors are required to attend. We suggest arriving early to warm-up and sign-in, and to dress in proper dance attire with hair pulled out of face.
  • The auditions include five main sections: footwork/coordination combination, ballet technique combination, locomotor/weight/floor work combination, improv/collaboration combination, and professionalism.
  • The company list is posted on the same evening as auditions. Dance majors may be accepted as full company members or as apprentices. The same high expectations are maintained for both. All accepted company members must attend the casting audition on the following day.
  • First time company members are expected to meet with the RDC director to discuss the full expectations of company. This typically happens in a group meeting scheduled by the RDC director. Dancers who do not make company may sign up for a time to meet with the RDC director to discuss ways to improve in future auditions.


If you are eligible to audition for RDC and do not make it, then you may enroll in RDC II. This will include learning, collaborating, and performing in faculty or senior dance major’s choreographic works. The dancers must attend rehearsals and maintain professionalism. The works are featured in the Informal Dance Concert in the spring semester. This should be used as a stepping stone into RDC. It is not required, but it is definitely recommended.

Other Opportunities

American College Dance Association (ACDA)

Each year the USM dance program attends ACDA. During the conference, students meet other dancers, take master classes, attend dance concerts featuring other college students and professional dancers/companies, etc.

  • The dance faculty chooses three choreographic works to represent the dance program. Student choreographers may submit applications to have their work considered.
  • Two of the three works will be in the adjudicated concerts, where we can have one faculty work and one student work OR two student works. The adjudicated works receive feedback from three dance professionals. The dance faculty also chooses one choreographic work for the informal concert. This can be a student or faculty choreographed work.
  • Any dance major or minor may attend. Dancers are financially responsible for registration fees (approximately $115), hotel, travel, and food costs. Information meetings will be scheduled to go over the details for attendance.

Faculty Ensemble

Hub Dance Collective

Hub Dance Collective is a contemporary dance collective formed by dance faculty, including Kelly Ferris Lester, Brianna Jahn, Lauren Soutullo, Candice Salyers, and Julie Hammond.

Since 2012, the Hub Dance Collective has been Hattiesburg’s home for professional contemporary dance, sharing the dance talent in Southern Mississippi with the nation by touring to Illinois, Texas, Michigan, New York, and Alabama. The idea for the Hub Dance Collective grew from faculty members in the Southern Miss Dance Department who wanted to continue choreographing and performing professionally, in addition to producing their work with the student body. Recognizing there was an  “arts gap” that a professional contemporary dance company could fill in Hattiesburg.

Hub Dance Collective focuses on the collaborative nature of modern dance. It values the inspiration, challenges, and creativity that arises in a collaborative process. Having trained nationally as individuals, its members now are committed to bringing their broad, collective perspectives on dance to the region. By performing their work in Southern Mississippi; they grow local audiences for dance; by touring they increase recognition of the burgeoning contemporary dance scene in the Gulf South region.

Student Work //

Recent Alumni //

Company member with Mari Meade Dance Collective, dance writer with Dance Media Arts, independent choreographer

Rachel Rizzuto, 2009

Performer with Gregory Hancock Dance, Indianapolis, Indiana

Tyler McCants, 2014

Dance educator, McComb, Mississippi. 2018 Arts Institute of Mississippi Award for Dance Education

Carrie (Culpepper) Brown, 2005

Dancer for Marigny Opera Ballet’s world premiere of Giselle Deslondes in New Orleans, LA

Kellis McSparrin, 2010

Mailing Address //

118 College Dr. #5033
Hattiesburg, MS 39406

Physical Address //

201E Theatre and Dance Building
Hattiesburg Campus

Phone //


Contact us about our Dance Program Today!