Theater and Dance

Sarah Bay-Cheng, Department Chair
JJ Peeler, Department Coordinator

Professors: Sarah Bay-Cheng, Davis R. Robinson
Associate Professor: Abigail Killeen
Assistant Professors: Aretha Aoki, Adanna Jones
Senior Lecturer: Gwyneth Jones
Visiting Faculty: Judy Gailen

The Department of Theater and Dance offers a major in performance arts that integrates studio technique, history and theory, and original creative work within the performance and study of theater and dance.

Students may major in performance arts with a concentration in either theater, dance, or interdisciplinary performance. Students may also choose to minor in theater or dance.

The theater concentration at Bowdoin combines practice and theory to develop students’ skills as innovative theater artists and thinkers. Students explore theatrical performance through critical study, collaborative productions, and the development of independent student projects. The curriculum includes studio-based courses in production (e.g., acting, directing, design, and playwriting), as well as courses focused on performance history, theory, and criticism.

The dance concentration provides a coherent course of study through a range of classes in dance technique and repertory, choreography, improvisation, and critical dance studies, among others. It offers multiple levels of technique in modern dance—a term designating a wide spectrum of styles that focus on an inventive, unrestricted approach to movement. Other dance techniques and styles (e.g., ballet, Afro-modern, jazz) are also offered periodically.

The interdisciplinary performance concentration allows students to take courses in both theater and dance to create an individualized curriculum across these disciplines. Students work closely with an advisor to determine a coherent course of study and appropriate electives as needed.

Majors who are candidates for honors write a thesis over the course of their senior year, typically in relation to their studio project created as a part of Theater/Dance 4040/4041. Possible areas for an honors project include original work in acting, choreography, dance, design, directing, dramaturgy and criticism, or playwriting, among others.

Interdisciplinary Major

The department participates in an interdisciplinary major in English and theater. See Interdisciplinary Majors.

Requirements for the Major in Performance Arts

The major consists of ten credits (eleven if a student pursues honors).

The core requirements are:

  • Theater 1500, Art of Performance
  • Theater 1700, Performance in Production (one-half credit)
  • Theater 1750, Technical Production (one-half credit)
  • Theater 4040 and 4041, Performance Studio (Each of these are a one-half credit course.)

Area of Concentration Requirements

Theater Concentration

  • introductory theater, two of:
    • Theater 1000–1049 or 1100–1399
  • dramatic literature, one of:
    • Theater 1501–1599, 1800–1899, 2500–2599, 2800–2899, 3500–3599; English 1115, 2015
  • history/theory, one of:
    • Theater 1501–1599, 2500–2599, 3500–3599
  • intermediate theater, one of:
    • Theater 2000–2999
  • advanced theater, one of:
    • Theater 3000–3999
  • elective, one of:
    • any theater or dance course at the 2000 level or above, or by a course outside the department by permission of advisor

Dance Concentration

  • introductory dance, two full credits of:
    • Dance 1100–1299
  • history/theory, one of:
    • Dance 1501–1599, Theater 2500–2599
  • intermediate dance, one full credit of:
    • Dance 2000–2499
  • advanced dance, one full credit of:
    • Dance 3000–3999
  • electives, two full credits of:
    • any theater or dance course at the 2000 level or above, or by a course outside the department by permission of advisor

Interdisciplinary Performance Concentration

  • introductory performance, two full credits of (one from each discipline):
    • Dance 1100–1299
    • Theater 1000–1049 or 1100–1399
  • dramatic literature, one of:
    • Theater 1501–1599, 1800–1899, 2500–2599, 2800–2899,
  • 3500–3599; English 1115, 2015
  • history/theory, one of:
    • Dance 1501–1599; Theater 1501–1599, 2500–2599, 3500–3599
  • intermediate performance, one full credit of:
    • Dance 2000–2499, Theater 2000–2999
  • advanced performance, one full credit of:
    • Dance 3000–3999, Theater 3000–3999
  • The intermediate and advanced performance classes must be in different sub- disciplines, i.e., one must be in dance and one in theater.
  • elective, one of:
    • any theater or dance course at the 2000 level or above, or by a course outside the department by permission of advisor

Requirements for the Minor in Theater

The minor consists of five credits to include the following required courses:

  • one course at the 1000 level (Theater 1000–1049, 1100–1399, 1501–1599)
  • one course in history or theory (Theater 1501–1599, 2500–2599, 3500–3599)
  • three additional courses, including at least two taken at the 2000 level or above
    • One of the three additional courses may be taken in dance. One 2000-level course taken abroad may count toward the minor.

Requirements for the Minor in Dance
The minor consists of five credits to include the following required courses:

  • one course in creative process (Dance 1101, 1102, 1103, 1104, 2401)
  • one course in history or theory (Dance 1501–1599; Theater 1501–1599, 2500– 2599, 3500–3599)
  • one full credit in studio technique (Dance 1211, 1221, 2211, 2221, 2231, 2241, 3221)
  • one full credit in repertory and performance (Dance 1212, 2212, 2222, 2232, 2242, 3212, 3222)
  • one elective (Dance 1000–3999)

Additional Information

  • Students must earn a grade of CR (Credit) or C- or better to have a course count toward their major or minor.
  • Students may not count more than one full credit from courses graded Credit/D/ Fail, including those offered only on a Credit/D/Fail basis.
  • Students may be able to repeat half-credit courses in theater and dance; please refer to repeat limits on individual courses for more information.
  • Typically, one course taken at another college or university may count toward the major or minor with departmental approval. No more than one course taken outside the department may be counted toward the major or minor, except by advance departmental permission.
  • One course cannot fulfill more than one requirement for the major or minor.
  • First-year seminars can count toward the major and minors.
  • Independent studies count toward the major or either minor.
  • No credit is given for Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate.

(Department/Program website)