To be the premiere undergraduate Theatre and Dance Department in the Pacific Northwest.
To provide a transformative liberal arts education based in the rigorous study of theatre and of dance, while developing skills leading to artistic excellence in the practice of theatre and dance. We promote an inclusive and collaborative view of performing arts education which leads to student success and future achievement, whether in the arts professions or as engaged members of a global community.
Program Description: Theatre
Theatre offers a Bachelor of Arts as well as a theatre minor and an endorsement in Theatre Education in conjunction with Woodring College of Education. Each theatre arts major is grounded in generalist fundamentals and chooses one or more areas of specialization: Education, Entertainment Design and Technology, Performance, Production, and/or Theatre Studies. In addition to preparing majors for careers in academic or professional theatre, the lessons acquired through this course of study are readily transferable to careers in teaching, law, business, social services and other areas where inter- and intrapersonal skills are required.
The following program goals are central to our philosophy of the undergraduate theatre arts degree. We strive to:
- Support the liberal arts through the rigorous study of theatre arts, its literature, history, and practice; and to expand the appreciation of theatre arts in our community and throughout the region.
- Graduate theater artists with the knowledge, pre-professional skills, and experience to succeed in top graduate programs, professional theaters, and the entertainment industry.
- Provide undergraduates with performance, design and technical opportunities which are supported by professional shops, staff, and budgets.
- Graduate theatre artists who possess the writing, devising, and entrepreneurial skills to express their own artistic voice in the creation of unique and innovative theater.
- Pursue artistic excellence in the practice of theatre by commissioning and premiering new and innovative works from a diverse range of artists, as well as producing works from a wide range of historical periods, genres, and forms.
- Support theatre arts education by placing our graduates in Washington State public schools, arts organizations and professional youth theatre companies.
- Demonstrate the value of community and collaboration by creating opportunities for internships, outreach and civic engagement.
- Support the values of equity, justice, and respect for the rights and dignity of others through the study and practice of theater.
In addition, students completing a degree in theatre arts will possess the ability to:
- Demonstrate a knowledge of professional practices in the field of theatre.
- Demonstrate a knowledge of, and an ability to analyze and interpret, important works of dramatic literature representative of diverse cultures
- Demonstrate a knowledge of, and an ability to interpret, theatrical production, its styles, conventions, and cultural context, from the ancients to the present day.
- Function effectively as a member of a collaborative team in the preparation and realization of a theatrical performance as designer, performer, director, playwright, and/or technician.
- Apply the skills of collaboration, communication, critical thinking and problem solving in the study and practice of theatre.
Assessment of these competencies is accomplished through individual course performance as well as a final evaluation of each student via a senior capstone thesis. The subject of these capstones vary by student specialization and interests.
Program Description: Dance
Dance offers a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Fine Arts as well as a Dance Minor and a Teaching Endorsement in conjunction with Woodring College of Education.
Entry into the BA/BFA is by audition and the completion of the program is dependent upon successful progress through the curriculum. The BA is a broadly-based degree, with a liberal arts orientation, and is designed for students with a general rather than career interest in performing or choreographing. BA candidates will focus on pedagogical and historic aspects of dance. The BFA degree is a highly selective program which trains exceptionally committed, disciplined, and talented students. The BFA degree also requires recommendation of faculty members.
All BA/BFA Dance Majors will learn to understand, create, evaluate, and contribute to current ideas about the role of dance and movement in our society as they develop the skills of collaboration, communication, critical thinking and problem solving to foster life-long learning. All Dance majors are immersed in the physical practice and artistic process of technique, performance and choreography as globally minded artists that support the values of collaboration and inclusivity through the study and practice of dance.
It is the goal of the dance program for graduates to:
- Pursue the rigorous study of dance while broadening their education through Western’s liberal arts curriculum.
- Practice functioning effectively as a member of a collaborative team in the preparation and realization of multiple public performances in a variety of venues.
- Develop proficiency in Contemporary/Modern technique and competency in Ballet technique.
- Explore their choreographic potential in traditional and/or experimental approaches and acquire knowledge of professional practices in the field of dance.
- Expand their diversity awareness on a global scale through the study of historical and cultural dimensions of dance.
- Examine best practices for dance educators through study of the National Arts Standards and current research in dance pedagogy, anatomy and kinesiology.
- Cultivate knowledge of the kinesthetic and intellectual language of movement art, learning effective communication in oral, written, and non-verbal methods through of the study of dance.
- Experience the value of community and collaboration through opportunities for outreach, internships, and civic engagement.
- Support the values of inclusivity, equity, justice and respect for the rights and dignity of others through the study and practice of dance.
The following areas of knowledge are central to both the BA and BFA undergraduate degrees in Dance:
- Knowledge of the kinesthetic and intellectual language of movement art
- Knowledge and application of critical and reflective thinking
- Knowledge of the role of dance in shaping our past, present and future
- Knowledge of the professional practices in their field
In addition to the goals of the content knowledge areas, students completing the degree in Dance should be able to:
- Analyze and interpret the socially and culturally diverse realms of movement art
- Communicate effectively in oral, written and non-verbal methods
- Function effectively as a member of a collaborative team in the preparation and realization of a public performance
Assessment of these competencies is accomplished through individual course performance, completion of degree requirements, and in part by successful audition and casting in faculty directed events. BFA candidates will be expected to participate in a culminating Capstone course and presentation as choreographers and as featured dancers.
RICH BROWN (2006) Chair and Professor. BA, MA, Central Missouri State University; PhD, University of Oregon.
DEBORAH CURRIER (2003) Associate Professor. BA, California State University; MA, PhD, University of Oregon.
NOLAN DENNETT (1989) Professor. BA, Brigham Young University; MA, Western Washington University.
DIPU GUPTA (2018) Assistant Professor. BA, University of Pennsylvania; MARCH, University of Virginia; MFA University of California, L.A.
PENNY HUTCHINSON (2005) Associate Professor. BA, Vermont College; MFA, Mills College.
MARK KUNTZ (1997) Professor. BA, University of Washington; MFA, University of Oregon.
BETH LEONARD (2013) Professor. B.S. University of Kansas; M.A. University of Central Missouri; MFA University of Missouri; ABD University of Kansas.
JAMES E. LORTZ (1989) Professor. BFA, MFA, University of Montana.
DARREN W. MCCROOM (2015) Assistant Professor. BFA, Rockford College; MFA, University of Illinois.
DELISLE MERRILL (2018) Assistant Professor. BA, Western Washington University; MFA, Carnegie Melon University
EVAN MUELLER (2015) Associate Professor. BA, Duke University; MFA, Rutgers University.
MIKE BAJUK (2004) Senior Instructor. BM, Western Washington University; MS, University of Indiana-Purdue.
KAMARIE CHAPMAN (2010) Senior Instructor, BA Western Washington University; MFA, University of New Mexico.
SUSAN HAINES (2005) Senior Instructor. BA, Radford University; MFA, University of North Carolina-Greensboro.
PAM KUNTZ (1999) Senior Instructor. BFA, University of Montana; MFA, Boston Conservatory.
Affiliated Teaching Staff
RACHEL ANDERSON (2000) BA, Western Washington University; MFA, University of Montana.
Application Requirements: Theatre
In order to declare a theatre major, contact the Theatre Office at Performing Arts 395 to attain a declaration of major form.
Application Requirements: Dance
A student may declare a major in Dance after placement in Contemporary Dance I and with the permission of the departmental advisor.
ProgramsUndergraduate MajorUndergraduate MinorEndorsement
Courses numbered X37; X97; 300, 400 are described in the University Academic Policies section of this catalog.Theatre Arts
Courses numbered X37; X97; 300, 400, 500 are described in the University Academic Policies section of this catalog.Page: 1