Theatre and Dance

The Department of Theatre and Dance is an interdisciplinary liberal arts program dedicated to awakening the potential artist in all of us.

Through excellence in teaching, we:

  • Give students the tools and knowledge to fully appreciate the value of theatre and dance in their lives; and to understand other peoples and cultures
  • Create live performances and original productions that stimulate and involve our university community, as well as the community beyond our campus

Through creative endeavor and scholarly research, we also:

  • Develop the interests and talents of students seeking careers or advanced study in theatre and dance
  • Encourage students to apply critical thinking and discussion to the creation and understanding of theatre and dance

To receive more information about our department and our programs contact us here.

Professors M.R. Withers, A.G. Wade, L.B. Jacobson, 

Associate Professors C.F. Gudenius, D.T.S. Burgess (Chair), J.I. Kanter, M.A. Buckley

Assistant Professors S. Johannesdottir, J. Traub, T. Wetenhall

Adjunct Professors A.C. Stokes, E. Kitsos-Kang

Explanation of Course Numbers

  • Courses in the 1000s are primarily introductory undergraduate courses
  • Those in the 2000–4000s are upper-division undergraduate courses that can also be taken for graduate credit with permission and additional work
  • Those in the 6000s and 8000s are for master’s, doctoral, and professional-level students
  • The 6000s are open to advanced undergraduate students with approval of the instructor and the dean or advising office

Note: Courses in the 1000s series are primarily for nonmajors.

Departmental prerequisite: Prerequisite to all graduate TRDA courses: M.F.A. candidacy and permission of instructor.

TRDA 1000. Dean's Seminar. 3 Credits.

TRDA 1015. Understanding the Dance. 3 Credits.

The art of dance—a lecture and experiential approach to its cultural importance, history, and creative processes. The contributions of the choreographer and dancer to society. Attendance at performances and presentations, and viewing video. Laboratory fee.

TRDA 1017. Movement Awareness. 3 Credits.

An experiential dance movement class that examines human movement and its connection to dance. Somatic concepts of Alexander, Feldenkrais, Bartenieff, and Body/Mind/Centering.

TRDA 1020. Women and the Creative Process. 3 Credits.

Consideration of questions of aesthetics and creativity through the study of art produced by women since the mid-20th century. The creation, meaning, and impact of work across the fields of visual art, dance, theatre, and music.

TRDA 1025. Understanding the Theatre. 3 Credits.

The art of the theatre; its literature, history, aesthetics, and mechanics. Contributions of the playwright, actor, director, and designer. Attendance at assigned theatrical performances. Laboratory fee.

TRDA 1035. Theatre Production. 3 Credits.

Understanding of the basic elements of theatrical production (performance, technical and management) and the collaborative artist/artisan process through discussion, observation, and practical application. Laboratory fee.

TRDA 1150. Beginning Ballet. 1 Credit.

Introduction to classical ballet technique, including basic concepts of dynamic alignment, stretch, strength, and musicality. Laboratory fee.

TRDA 1151. Beginning/Intermediate Ballet. 1 Credit.

Introduction to modern dance technique inclusive of basic concepts of dynamic alignment, stretch, strength, improvisation and musicality. Laboratory fee.

TRDA 1152. Beginning Modern/Postmodern Dance. 1 Credit.

Introduction to modern dance technique inclusive of basic concepts of dynamic alignment, stretch, strength, improvisation and musicality. Laboratory fee.

TRDA 1153. Beginning/Intermediate Modern/Postmodern Dance. 1 Credit.

Introduction to modern dance technique inclusive of basic concepts of dynamic alignment, stretch, strength, improvisation and musicality. Laboratory fee.

TRDA 1170. Intermediate Modern/Postmodern Dance I. 2-3 Credits.

Recommended for students with previous dance experience in jazz, ballet, hip hop, modern, or other styles. May be repeated for credit. Laboratory fee.

TRDA 1171. Intermediate Modern/Postmodern Dance II. 2-3 Credits.

Continuation of TRDA 1170. Recommended for students with previous dance experience in jazz, ballet, hip hop, modern, or other styles. May be repeated for credit. Prerequisite: TRDA 1170, or permission of instructor. Laboratory fee.

TRDA 1214. Introduction to Acting. 3 Credits.

Basic techniques of concentration, imagination, improvisation, and character development.

TRDA 1330. Basics of Production Design. 3 Credits.

Basic elements of production design and technical execution. Laboratory required. Laboratory fee.

TRDA 2160. Intermediate Ballet II. 2-3 Credits.

May be repeated for credit. Prerequisite: TRDA 1151, or permission of instructor. Laboratory fee.

TRDA 2161. Intermediate Ballet II. 2-3 Credits.

Continuation of TRDA 2160. May be repeated for credit. Prerequisite: TRDA 2160, or permission of instructor. Laboratory fee.

TRDA 2162. Intermediate/Advanced Ballet I. 2-3 Credits.

May be repeated for credit. Prerequisite: TRDA 1151 to 2160, TRDA 2160 to 2161, or permission of instructor.

TRDA 2163. Intermediate/Advanced Ballet II. 2-3 Credits.

Continuation of TRDA 2162. May be repeated for credit. Prerequisite: TRDA 2162, or permission of instructor. Laboratory fee.

TRDA 2172. Intermediate/Advanced Modern/Postmodern Dance I. 2-3 Credits.

May be repeated for credit. Prerequisite: TRDA 1171, or permission of instructor. Laboratory fee.

TRDA 2173. Intermediate/Advanced Modern/Postmodern Dance II. 2-3 Credits.

Continuation of TRDA 2172. May be repeated for credit. Prerequisite: TRDA 2172, or permission of instructor. Laboratory fee.

TRDA 2179. Contact Improvisation. 2 Credits.

A movement form that arises from the point of contact between partners who explore gravity, space, and timing in the spontaneous moment-to-moment exchange of the dance. Exploring the improvisational state of body/mind through the use of imagery, tuning the senses, mindfulness practices, and play. Laboratory fee.

TRDA 2180. Movement Improvisation/Perform. 3 Credits.

Exploring the body and its surroundings in movement, use of language, narrative, environments and contexts for creative expression, developing event and performance structures from improvisation. May be repeated for credit. Laboratory fee.

TRDA 2185. Trends in Performance. 3 Credits.

Study of the theory and practice of contemporary performance art movements and artists; political and artistic activism; scripting and scoring to create performance works based on a single art discipline or interdisciplinary arts. Laboratory fee.

TRDA 2188. African Dance. 1 Credit.

African/Caribbean dance styles and techniques, with warm-ups and center floor work of long and short movement phrases. Basic/modern/jazz terminology and definitions appropriate to intermediate/advanced/African dance are used. Emphasis on alignment, execution, musical phrasing, and the importance of rhythmic timing and nuance.

TRDA 2189. World Dance. 3 Credits.

TRDA 2190. Gender/Indian Classical Dance. 3 Credits.

TRDA 2191. Dance History. 3 Credits.

The history of Western theatrical dance from the late 18th century to the present. The major choreographers and their dance works through readings, lectures, video, and discussion.

TRDA 2191W. Dance History. 3 Credits.

The history of Western theatrical dance from the late 18th century to the present. The major choreographers and their dance works through readings, lectures, video, and discussion.

TRDA 2192. Repertory/Performance. 1,2 Credit.

Participation in the processes of learning and performing dance repertory or new dance works. Audition required. Laboratory required. May be repeated for credit. Laboratory fee.

TRDA 2193. Dance Styles I. 1-12 Credits.

Forms of theatrical dance other than ballet or modern, including African dance, Angola Capoeira, music theatre, Spanish dance, world dance, Middle Eastern dance, and others. May be repeated for credit provided the topic differs. Laboratory fee.

TRDA 2194. Dance Styles II. 1-12 Credits.

Continuation of TRDA 2193. Forms of theatrical dance other than ballet or modern, including African dance, Angola Capoeira, music theatre, Spanish dance, world dance, Middle Eastern dance, and others. May be repeated for credit provided the topic differs. Laboratory fee.

TRDA 2215. Beginning Scene Study. 3 Credits.

Principles of role development, concentrating on 20th-century material. Prerequisite: TRDA 1214. Laboratory fee.

TRDA 2216. Scene Study: Voice & Character. 3 Credits.

The practice and application of voice production with reference to skeletal alignment, breathing, resonance, and articulation. Emphasis on the process of voice production and its application to performance through work on scenes and monologues. Prerequisite: TRDA 2215. Laboratory fee.

TRDA 2240. Play Analysis. 3 Credits.

Traditional and nontraditional (Aristotelian and non-Aristotelian) approaches to the analysis of dramatic literature; literary and theatrical techniques used by playwrights. Same as ENGL 2240.

TRDA 2250. Fundamentals: Dramatic Writing. 3 Credits.

A workshop in playwriting and screenwriting, with emphasis on dramatic structure. Same as ENGL 2250. Recommended preparation: ENGL 1210 and two semesters of literature courses.

TRDA 2339. Theatre Practicum. 1 Credit.

Participation in department mainstage productions in a production or management capacity under the supervision of a member of the faculty. Prerequisite: TRDA 1330. After two practicums have been completed, participation may also include performance positions, for which TRDA 1214 is prerequisite. May be repeated for a total of 6 credits. Laboratory fee.

TRDA 3131W. Theatre of Social Change. 3 Credits.

TRDA 3156. Dance & Arts Management. 3 Credits.

Examination of dance in Washington area communities. Students are required to site visit and engage with individuals and organizations that focus on dance as it pertains to performance, therapy, management, and education. Participation in activities with a dance artist/practitioner or with a producing/service organization is required. Laboratory fee.

TRDA 3174. Advanced Modern/Postmodern Dance I. 2-3 Credits.

May be repeated for credit. Prerequisite: TRDA 2173, or permission of instructor. Laboratory fee.

TRDA 3175. Advanced Modern/Postmodern Dance II. 2-3 Credits.

Continuation of TRDA 3174. May be repeated for credit. Prerequisite: TRDA 3174, or permission of instructor. Laboratory fee.

TRDA 3182. Dance Composition I. 3 Credits.

Problems in structural and conceptual aspects of constructing dances and shaping and forming movement materials. Prerequisite: TRDA 2180; recommended: TRDA 2185. Laboratory fee.

TRDA 3183. Dance Composition II. 3 Credits.

Continuation of TRDA 3182. Emphasis on intention and content in making dances. Prerequisite: TRDA 2180; recommended: TRDA 2185. Laboratory fee.

TRDA 3186. Dance Anatomy & Kinesiology. 3 Credits.

An experiential and theoretical approach to dynamic anatomy and kinesiology as they pertain to the dancer. The student is encouraged to reach full movement potential in relation to contemporary dance techniques, performance, and injury prevention. Laboratory fee.

TRDA 3220. Scene Study:Contemporary Text. 3 Credits.

Principles of role development in the works of post-war playwrights to include both the genres of comedy and drama and the stylistic directions of realism and post-realism. Playwrights chosen may include Beckett, Pinter, Albee, Stoppard, Mamet, Labute, Norman, Simon, and Henley. Prerequisite: TRDA 2215. Laboratory fee.

TRDA 3221. Scene Study: Classical Text. 3 Credits.

Principles of role development in the works of pre-modern dramatists including Shakespeare and his contemporaries, the playwrights of the English Restoration, Molière, and other 17th- and 18th-century playwrights. Prerequisite: TRDA 2215. Laboratory fee.

TRDA 3223. Physical Performance Skills. 3 Credits.

Introduction to a variety of techniques needed by actors and performers, including mime, clowning, slapstick, mask work, and basic stage combat skills. Prerequisite: TRDA 2215. Laboratory fee.

TRDA 3225. Stage Dialects. 2 Credits.

Vocal production related to interpretation of specific texts. Focus on stage dialects and the interpretation of Shakespeare. Prerequisite: TRDA 2215. Laboratory fee.

TRDA 3227. Acting for the Media. 2 Credits.

Techniques of acting for the camera; analysis of film and television scripts from actor’s point of view. Prerequisite: TRDA 2215. Laboratory required. Laboratory fee.

TRDA 3229. Audition Techniques. 3 Credits.

All aspects of the audition process: selection and rehearsal of audition monologues, handling of cold reading, etc. Prerequisite: TRDA 2215. Laboratory fee.

TRDA 3231W. Theatre of Social Change. 3 Credits.

TRDA 3240. Introduction to Dramaturgy. 3 Credits.

Fundamentals of classical and contemporary dramaturgical practice, including analyzing plays, doing research, supporting directors and actors in rehearsal, writing program notes, and leading post-show discussions. Same as ENGL 3240.

TRDA 3245. History of the Theatre I. 3 Credits.

A dramaturg’s approach to case studies of theatre in historical context. Ancient Greece through the 17th century.

TRDA 3245W. History of the Theatre I. 3 Credits.

A dramaturg’s approach to case studies of theatre in historical context. Ancient Greece through the 17th century.

TRDA 3246. History of the Theatre II. 3 Credits.

Continuation of TRDA 3245. A dramaturg’s approach to case studies of theatre in historical context. The 18th century through the present.

TRDA 3246W. History of the Theatre II. 3 Credits.

Continuation of TRDA 3245. A dramaturg’s approach to case studies of theatre in historical context. The 18th century through the present.

TRDA 3248. Theatre Criticism. 3 Credits.

Discussion and witnessing of plays in performance, resulting in written criticism modeled on contemporary journalistic practices. Prerequisite: TRDA 3245 or TRDA 3246 or TRDA 2240/ ENGL 2240. Laboratory fee.

TRDA 3248W. Theatre Criticism. 3 Credits.

Discussion and witnessing of plays in performance, resulting in written criticism modeled on contemporary journalistic practices. Prerequisite: TRDA 3245 or TRDA 3246 or TRDA 2240/ ENGL 2240. Laboratory fee.

TRDA 3250. Intermediate Dramatic Writing. 3 Credits.

A workshop developing scripts for both theatre and film. Same as ENGL 3250. Prerequisite: ENGL 2250 or equivalent. May be repeated for credit with departmental approval.

TRDA 3331. Introduction to Lighting. 3 Credits.

Lecture (2 hours), laboratory (1 hour). Theories and practicum in lighting for theatre and dance. Laboratory fee. Prerequisite: TRDA 1330.

TRDA 3332. Makeup Design. 3 Credits.

Theory and practicum in the art of makeup design, including latex and crepe hair. Laboratory fee. Prerequisite: TRDA 1330.

TRDA 3333. Stage Management. 3 Credits.

The role and function of the stage manager in theatrical production. The basic skills needed to begin work in stage management. Emphasis on organization, documentation, and dissemination of information. Prerequisite: TRDA 1330. Laboratory fee.

TRDA 3335. Introduction to Scene Design. 3 Credits.

Fundamental study of scenic design, including historic overview, basic draw-ing, and rendering techniques, through the use of various mediums and script analysis. Laboratory fee. Prerequisite: TRDA 1330.

TRDA 3336. Introduction to Costuming. 3 Credits.

History of fashion in Western civilization from ancient Greece to the 20th century. Fundamental study of costume construction through specific projects. Costume construction. Prerequisite: TRDA 1330. Laboratory fee.

TRDA 3710W. Contemporary Drama. 3 Credits.

TRDA 4184. Choreography and Performance. 1-3 Credits.

Create a dance or a performance work of individual design, including casting, rehearsal procedures, staging aspects, and public presentation. Prerequisite: TRDA 3182; recommended: TRDA 1330, TRDA 2185. May be repeated for credit. Laboratory fee.

TRDA 4191. Paris Modernism & the Arts. 3 Credits.

TRDA 4275. Directing for the Theatre. 3 Credits.

Fundamentals of script analysis, staging, casting, and rehearsal techniques. Prerequisite: TRDA 1214, TRDA 1330; TRDA 2240/ ENGL 2240 or TRDA 3240/ ENGL 3240. Laboratory fee.

TRDA 4338. Scene Painting. 3 Credits.

The techniques and materials used in creating character in the various elements of set design. Methods include set preparation, coating, mixing, palette preparation, spraying, transfer, texturing, finishing, and wallpapering. Prerequisite: TRDA 1330. Laboratory fee.

TRDA 4595. Selected Topics. 1-3 Credits.

Topics of current interest in theatre or dance. Topics (and course fee, when charged) announced in the Schedule of Classes. May be repeated for credit provided the topic differs.

TRDA 4595W. Selected Topics. 1-3 Credits.

Topics of current interest in theatre or dance. Topics (and course fee, when charged) announced in the Schedule of Classes. May be repeated for credit provided the topic differs. Laboratory fee.

TRDA 4596. Independent Study. 1-6 Credits.

Independent research and special projects. Open to qualified juniors or seniors majoring or minoring in theatre or dance. Before students are permitted to register for TRDA 4596, they must submit a written proposal of the plan of study and obtain approval of the faculty member who is directing the study and the department chair.

TRDA 4598. Internship. 3,6 Credits.

Open to qualified seniors majoring or minoring in theatre or dance. Work placements with not-for-profit and commercial theatre and dance organizations for an approved number of hours per week. Admission requires departmental approval. May be taken for a maximum of 6 credits.

TRDA 4599. Honors Thesis. 3 Credits.

Directed research and/or creative project. Open to qualified seniors by permission. Arrangements must be made with a sponsoring faculty member in the department and applications must be completed early in the second semester of the junior year.

TRDA 6200. Portfolio I:Performance. 1-5 Credits.

Prerequisite: M.F.A. candidacy and permission of instructor.

TRDA 6201. Personal Aesthetics I: The Body. 5 Credits.

Prerequisite: M.F.A. candidacy and permission of instructor.

TRDA 6202. Contemporary Dance History and Criticism. 4 Credits.

Prerequisite: M.F.A. candidacy and permission of instructor.

TRDA 6203. Portfolio II: Choreography/Creativity. 1-5 Credits.

Prerequisite: M.F.A. candidacy and permission of instructor.

TRDA 6204. Personal Aesthetics II: The Environment. 2 Credits.

Prerequisite: M.F.A. candidacy and permission of instructor.

TRDA 6205. Choreography. 4 Credits.

Prerequisite: M.F.A. candidacy and permission of instructor.

TRDA 6206. Dance Pedagogy. 4 Credits.

Prerequisite: M.F.A. candidacy and permission of instructor.

TRDA 6207. Portfolio III: Artistic Initiative. 1-5 Credits.

Prerequisite: M.F.A. candidacy and permission of instructor.

TRDA 6208. New Media & Dance. 5 Credits.

Prerequisite: M.F.A. candidacy and permission of instructor.

TRDA 6209. Cultural Communities of Dance. 4 Credits.

Prerequisite: M.F.A. candidacy and permission of instructor.

TRDA 6210. Personal Aesthetics III: Integration. 4 Credits.

Prerequisite: M.F.A. candidacy and permission of instructor.

TRDA 6211. Career Networks in Dance. 4 Credits.

Prerequisite: M.F.A. candidacy and permission of instructor.

TRDA 6212. Portfolio Review I: Performance. 1-5 Credits.

Prerequisite: M.F.A. candidacy and permission of instructor.

TRDA 6213. Portfolio Review II: Choreography/Creativity. 1-5 Credits.

Prerequisite: M.F.A. candidacy and permission of instructor.

TRDA 6214. Portfolio Review III: Artistic Initiatives. 1-5 Credits.

Prerequisite: M.F.A. candidacy and permission of instructor.

TRDA 6296. Research Project I. 4 Credits.

Prerequisite: M.F.A. candidacy and permission of instructor.

TRDA 6299. Research Project II. 5 Credits.

Prerequisite: M.F.A. candidacy and permission of instructor.

TRDA 6331. Intermediate Lighting Design. 3 Credits.

Theory and execution of lighting design for theatre and dance. May be repeated for credit. Prerequisite: M.F.A. candidacy and permission of instructor. Laboratory fee.

TRDA 6335. Intermediate Scene Design. 3 Credits.

Development of advanced skills of scenic design, including script analysis, needs assessment, research techniques, conceptual design development, drawing/ rendering techniques, preparation of construction documentation and fabrication management. Prerequisite: M.F.A. candidacy and permission of instructor. Laboratory fee.

TRDA 6336. Intermediate Costume. 3 Credits.

Basic techniques of costume design through specific projects. Various rendering techniques consistent with the historical period concerned. May be repeated for credit. Prerequisite: M.F.A. candidacy and permission of instructor. Laboratory fee.

TRDA 6338. Scene Painting. 3 Credits.

Development of the skills of painting needed for the reproductive craft of theatrical painting. Prerequisite: M.F.A. candidacy and permission of instructor. Laboratory fee.

TRDA 6340. Period Styles. 3 Credits.

A broad perspective of major European and American cultures through analysis of the interiors, furniture, textiles, fashion, and architecture of major civilizations/ historical periods from Egypt to the present. Prerequisite: M.F.A. candidacy and permission of instructor. Laboratory fee.

TRDA 6342. Pattern Making. 3 Credits.

Pattern drafting and draping methods, based on contemporary and historical clothing. Prerequisite: M.F.A. candidacy and permission of instructor. Laboratory fee.

TRDA 6344. Production Drafting. 3 Credits.

Development of drafting skills for production: groundplans and shop documents. Traditional hand drafting and computer assisted design. Prerequisite: M.F.A. candidacy and permission of instructor. Laboratory fee.

TRDA 6346. Advanced Studies in Design: Collaborative Studies. 3 Credits.

Development of an ability to design and work within a collaborative or teambased environment through visual and verbal communication, script analysis, concept development, and research techniques. Prerequisite: M.F.A. candidacy and permission of instructor. Laboratory fee. May be taken for a total of 15 credits.

TRDA 6348. Techniques in Design Presentation. 3 Credits.

The various techniques used in costume and scenic design presentations, such as rendering with paint, pencil, ink, and electronic media. Prerequisite: M.F.A. candidacy and permission of instructor. Laboratory fee.

TRDA 6595. Selected Topics. 1-3 Credits.

Prerequisite: M.F.A. candidacy and permission of instructor. May be repeated for credit.

TRDA 6596. Independent Research in TRDA. 1-12 Credits.

Prerequisite: M.F.A. candidacy and permission of instructor. May be repeated for credit.

TRDA 6598. Internship. 1-12 Credits.

Internships with theatre companies or arts organizations, including conference and/or seminar. May be taken for a total of 12 credit hours. Prerequisite: M.F.A. candidacy and permission of instructor.

TRDA 6998. Thesis Research. 3 Credits.

Prerequisite: M.F.A. candidacy and permission of instructor.

TRDA 6999. Thesis Research. 3 Credits.

Prerequisite: M.F.A. candidacy and permission of instructor.