It is the mission of the Department of Theatre and Dance to provide training for professional, community and academic theatres and dance companies within the framework of liberal arts education. The theatre and dance programs also serve as one means of acquiring a liberal education.
A liberal education serves to broaden horizons, break down prejudices, and build inquiring open minds; it is of value no matter what the student's future goals. Theatre and dance, which are ultimately concerned with all aspects of humankind's experiences, have special relevance to a liberal education. The more the theatre or dance major in a liberal arts program understands about humankind, the more experiences they have entered into imaginatively and projected to others from the stage, the more they will be able to order, clarify and understand their own lives and the world in which they live.
The theatre and musical theatre major deals with the life of humans as reflected in the history of the theatre and in the range of dramatic literature. As such, theatre is a form of human knowledge, but one that functions through feeling as much as through thought. The student will find that the dramatic literature of both past and present tends to reflect the ideas and feelings of its ages, because dramatic expression changes as man's conception about himself and his world change. In short, theatre deals with the basic aspects of human existence that we are constantly trying to comprehend.
Dance is the physical expression of human thought and feeling. By developing the expressive potential of the human form, dance attempts to bring to physical life the sensations and emotive aspects of music, poetry and literature. Through both ensemble and individual performance, dancers seeks to express that which is difficult or impossible to express by word alone.
The theatre, musical theatre and dance major learns to deal with the societal aspects of humankind as reflected in the creation of an art form. These aspects are the interpersonal and interpersonal relationships created through total involvement as a performing artist. Through work on a production, whether on stage or backstage in a supportive role, theatre and dance majors must learn independence from as well as dependence on fellow students. A comprehension must be developed of individual identity and responsibility to the goals of a production or the academic program.