We believe in the power of performance to build a more just world.
The Department of Performance, Theater, and Dance offers students a multidisciplinary approach to understanding performance; emphasizes social responsibility; focuses on performance praxis as inquiry; and highlights the development of original work. Under its umbrella, the disciplines of Theater, Dance, Design, Media & Performance, and Performance Studies offer multiple, collaborative perspectives on performance-making and study. The program of study emphasizes hybridity both among these disciplines and beyond them guided by four core values: collaboration, leadership, justice, and community reciprocity.
In the spirit of the liberal arts, our multidisciplinary approach invites students to integrate disciplinary knowledge from varied fields into performance work and to understand complex discourses on performativity through multiple disciplinary lenses. The department views performance practice and study as paths to engaged citizenship. As they move through the major, students articulate their individual relationship to the department’s core values demonstrating increased skill in self-reflection, multicultural sensitivity, and the comparison of social values and ethical systems and deepening their understanding of themselves as scholar-artists.
Our annual production season features work by visiting artists as well as students, faculty, and staff. All departmental courses and production experiences are open to non-majors. All public performances are free and open to the community.
Our creative processes rely on productive Collaboration, which teaches us to honor shared experience, celebrate diversity of thought, and understand the importance of compromise. In a cyclical dialogue between action and thought, performance-making cultivates experimentation, trust, imagination, critical analysis, revision, and collective problem-solving. How can performance teach us to strengthen interpersonal skills, learn strategies for conflict resolution, and support intergenerational and multicultural communication?
By cultivating trust and caring, leaders inspire and motivate action. Those who lead collaborate, take risks, and assume responsibility. Our focus on Leadership emphasizes communication, coordination, empathy, vision, and responsiveness. How can performance help us think about leadership collectively and ethically?
Our collective pursuit of Justice necessitates that we strengthen our ability to perceive and understand how power operates unequally historically, socially, and politically. We use the analytic tools of performance to identify, feel, and creatively reimagine systems of power. We invoke performance’s embodied and applied methods in pursuit of justice. How can performance actively challenge and disrupt existing systems of oppression and rehearse new realities into being?
Community Reciprocity is a form of political and social participation grounded in mutual care and respect. It allows us to explore and question how our work contributes to and is impacted by the multiple communities of which we are a part. How can we seek, recognize, and incorporate the knowledge and resources at play in our expansive collectivity?