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Dance & Theatre

Within the context of Manhattanville's strong liberal arts tradition, the Department of Dance & Theatre offers fundamental studies in performance technique, history, literature and critical theory. Areas of concentration include: Dance, Theatre, Dance Therapy and Theatre Education. The curriculum provides basic understanding and practice of the elements of performance and explores the collaborative frontiers where Dance & Theatre meet.  Emphasis is on creative process. 

Majors are required to complete a Core Study, which includes: basic theory and performance techniques; studio exploration and seminar studies; design, technical and production skills, and performance.  The four-year program culminates in a guided Senior Thesis Project, which reflects the initiative, interests and skills of the individual student. 

The spine of the Dance curriculum is a sequential study of Modern Dance technique, employing a variety of current and traditional styles and methods, with an emphasis on creative process.  The basic course of study is enriched through a rotating selection of dance forms including ballet, jazz, tap, hip-hop, Afro-Caribbean, and Flamenco.  Each semester, professional guest choreographers teach advanced technique and choreograph a piece for performance.  Recent guest choreographers have worked with the Joffrey Ballet, Pilobolus Dance Theatre, Twyla Tharp Dance Company, Bill T. Jones and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center. 

Theatre training includes a sequential study of acting, dramatic literature and history, as well as directing, design, technical theatre, production and stage management.  Acting training integrates both traditional and experimental models, with primary emphasis on the vocal and physical life of the actor.  Special emphasis is given to Shakespeare studies, enhanced by an annual spring production of a Shakespeare play in Reid Castle.

The concentration in Dance Therapy includes courses from the Dance Major plus Introduction to Dance Therapy I and II, Anatomy and Kineseology and Movement Studies combined with a minor in Psychology and a Senior Thesis Project. 

The program in Theatre Education requires a double major in DTH and Education. It examines how the theatrical process can be transformed into an educational philosophy that is engaging, experiential and student centered.  Through this lens the theatre classroom becomes a window through which the outside world is examined and deconstructed.  The Theatre Education degree at Manhattanville offers an experiential approach to the pedagogy and practice of theatre teaching methods in the K-12 classroom as well as theatre education strategies such as Process Drama, Story Drama, Creative Drama, Theatre of the Oppressed, Docudrama, Devising Original Theatre with Young People, and Applied Theatre.  The degree culminates in a Theatre K-12 New York State Teaching Certification. Ample opportunities to perform are available through a full schedule of plays, dance concerts, musical and performance events and student thesis projects.  Students are encouraged to take an active role in projects generated by the student-run clubs, the Dance Ensemble and Players Guild. 

The Department's primary performing spaces include:  The Little Theatre, an intimate 125-seat facility with excellent sight lines and acoustics; The EXperimental Theatre, a flexible black box theatre, which serves as a studio and performance space; and The Kennedy Dance Studio, which offers a bright, spacious environment for classes and rehearsals.  Proximity to the artistic resources of New York City provides a strong support for the Dance & Theatre program.