Skip To Content Skip To Menu Skip To Footer

Theatre and Dance Advising


The Theatre and Dance Department offers courses and co-curricular activities in dance and theatre. Our introduction and history courses are traditionally academic, while others, such as acting, directing, stagecraft, design, dance technique and choreography classes, emphasize projects in the practice of theatre or dance along with reading, writing, and discussion. Students with an a vocational interest in performing arts interact with serious vocational students in all aspects of our programs. Students at all levels of experience are welcomed; some become accomplished artists and artisans over the course of up to four years of intense involvement, while others find their undergraduate experience enriched by enrollment in a single course or involvement in a single play or dance concert, and look forward to a life as more knowledgeable and enthusiastic audience members.

The Theatre Arts major offers students a choice of a number of options within the basic major. Students may elect an emphasis in Acting/Directing, Dance, Dramatic Literature or Design and Technology. It is expected that majors will be active in the Mermaid Players and/or the Dance Theater Group.

The Inter-arts major in Dance & Music provides interdisciplinary study that combines work in both the Theatre and Dance department and the Music department.

Courses appropriate for prospective majors

THDA 101: Theatre as Social Exploration (or approved course in dramatic literature, taught in alternate years)
THDA 121-221: one course credit of Modern Dance (or other dance courses approved by the director of dance)
THDA 130: Introduction to Stage Technology
THDA 201: Theatre History (taught in alternate years)
THDA 203: Acting I: Basic Technique and Modern Drama
THDA 205: Directing
THDA 230: Design Principles and Practices for the Stage
THDA 319: Dramaturgy (Writing in the Discipline—Taught 2 of every 3 years)

For Acting and Directing (Choose 3):
THDA 300: Acting II: Movement/Voice Technique and Devised Theater
THDA 303: Acting II: Advanced Technique and Classical Drama
THDA 305: Advanced Directing
THDA 495: Senior Project (.5 course each semester, fall and spring)

For Design and Technology (Choose 3):
THDA 495: Senior Project (.5 course each semester, fall and spring)
THDA 500: Independent Study in Applied Design or Technology
THDA 550: Independent Research in Applied Design or Technology
THDA 560: Student/faculty collaborative research in Applied Design or Technology.

But no more than two of the following:
ARTH 101 or 102: An Introduction to the History of Art
ARTH 122: Fundamentals of Composition and Drawing
ARTH 123: Fundamentals of Sculpture and Three-Dimensional Design

For Dramatic Literature: Three additional approved courses in Dramatic Literature, one of which must have a pre-1800 focus. Examples include:
CLST 110: Introduction to Greek Civilization
FREN 364: Topics in French and Francophone Literatures (if substantially dramatic in focus) GRMN 342: Sturm und Drang and German Classicism
GRMN 345: German Expressionism
GREK 234: Greek Tragedy
GREK 332: Greek Comedy
SPAN 320: Studies in Spanish Golden Age Texts
SPAN 360: Introduction to Translation Studies (when focus on Dramatic translation is possible)
495: Senior Project

Intro to Stage Technology (THDA 130) is only taught in the Fall semester and is a prerequisite for Design Principles and Practice for the Stage (THDA 230) which is only taught in Spring.  Acting (THDA 203) is a prerequisite for Acting II (THDA 300 & THDA 303) and Directing (THDA 205). Directing is a prerequisite for Advanced Directing (THDA 305). Theatre Arts majors should take (THDA 101) Theatre as Social Exploration before Theatre History (THDA 201).

The best way to become involved in theatre or dance at Dickinson is to participate in the Mermaid Players or the Dance Theatre Group.

For course descriptions and requirements for the major, refer to the Academic Bulletin: Theatre and Dance.

Courses that fulfill distribution requirements

Arts (Division IC):
THDA 101, Theatre as Social Exploration (or approved course in dramatic literature, taught in alternate years)
THDA 121-221, one course credit of Modern Dance (or other dance courses approved by the Director of dance)
THDA 201, Theatre History (taught in alternate years)
THDA 203, Acting I: Basic Technique and Modern Drama
THDA 205, Directing
THDA 130 and THDA 230, Topics in Design and Technology for the Theatre (2 courses required)
THDA 319, Dramaturgy

Writing in the Discipline (WID):
THDA 201, Theatre History


Suggested curricular flow through the major

First Year
Theatre as Social Exploration (THDA 101)
Acting I (THDA 203)
Modern Dance (THDA 121-221)
For Design/Tech emphasis- Topics in Design (THDA 130) Fall semester only

Sophomore Year
Topics in Design (THDA 230) Spring semester only
Directing (THDA 205)
Possibly Theater History Seminar (THDA 201) if not offered in senior year
For Design/Tech- ARTH 101 or 102, 122 or 123
For Drama Lit- course in dramatic lit in other department

Junior Year
Dramatic Literature (taken outside department or abroad)
If not going abroad: Advanced Directing (THDA 305) or Advanced Acting (THDA 300 - 303), Topics in Design (THDA 230) Spring semester only

Senior Year
Advanced Directing (THDA 305)
Topics in Design (THDA 230) Spring semester only
Theater History (THDA 201)
Advanced Acting (THDA 300 - 303)
Senior Project (THDA 495)
For Design Tech- independent study or ARTH classes
For Drama Lit- drama lit class

First Year
THDA 102: Introduction to Global Dance Studies
THDA 121:  Modern Dance l
THDA 220:  Dance Repertory

Sophomore Year
THDA 204:  Fundamentals of Choreography
THDA 215: The Thinking Body: Human Anatomy and Movement (taught alternate years)
THDA 221:  Modern Dance ll
THDA 130:  Introduction to Stage Technology (taught only in Fall semester)

Junior Year
THDA 316: Dance History Seminar
THDA 230: Design Principles and Practices for the Stage (taught only in Spring semester)
NOTE: If not going abroad: THDA 304: Applied Choreography
THDA 300: Acting II - Movement/Voice Technique and Devised Theatre
THDA 321: Modern Dance lll or another dance class (West African, Jazz or Ballet)

Senior Year
THDA 495: Senior Project (.5 course each semester, fall and spring)
THDA 421: Modern Dance 1 or another dance Class (West African, Jazz or Ballet)

Senior Portfolio Review. A preliminary review takes place in the fall, and the final review at the end of the second semester senior year.

Dance emphasis students are expected to take technique classes every semester and all majors should be active in the co-curriculum.


Major GPA of 3.5. 
The Honors projects may consist of:

  1. A research based thesis in literature, aesthetics, dramaturgical analyses or history of any of the theatre arts; or
  2. A creative project in acting, dance, design, direction, or choreography. Performance projects should be supplemented by production materials as requested by the department as well by a research paper relating the project to its specific theatrical context.

All honors students will take an oral examination at the end of their final semester in the general field of the honors project/paper.

Co-curricular activities/programs

Dance Theatre Group and the Mermaid Players are Dickinson’s co-curricular student theatre and dance organizations. Together with the department, they produce high quality, well-attended productions and concerts which are supervised by faculty and professional artists. They are open to all students regardless of class year or major field. The department also produces smaller-scale productions which are often supervised by experienced and committed students; these include the “Senior Projects,” “Lab Shows” and “Freshman Plays” theatre programs and the "Fresh Works" and "Salon" dance program. Auditions open to all students (with the exception of Freshman Plays, open only to first-year students) are held before each production. All students are encouraged to participate backstage by signing up on the call board (a bulletin board located near Mathers Theatre in the HUB) to work in the scene shop or costume studio. No experience is necessary and patient instruction, often from experienced students, is always available.

Opportunities for off-campus study

Majors are strongly encouraged to study abroad, but study abroad is not a requirement. Students should consult with the chair of the department and the executive director of the Center for Global Study and Engagement.

Additional Remarks

Ballet CPYB Certificate Program: The CPYB ballet certificate program is designed for the pre-professional ballet student interested in combining intensive weekly ballet training with pursuit of college level courses. The certificate program is comprised of eight courses that combine daily studio training with academic study. Requirements: Ballet instruction at or beyond 1B level 2years- four credits, one 2 semesters performing a DTG mainstage production including work with a guest choreographer. Other course work includes (THDA 102) Introduction to Global Dance Studies, (THDA 200) Introduction to Dance and the Western Tradition, (THDA 214) Special Topics in Dance and the Body (Anatomy), and Dance History Seminar (THDA 316).