Theatre and Dance
Member of the Division of Humanities
In the practice and study of performance, the Department of Theatre and Dance at Grinnell is committed to high standards of artistic expression and creative scholarship within the context of a liberal arts education. In the expansive fields within our department, students study the literature, history, and theory of theatre, dance, and performance. We also study the practices of performance making, of design, acting and directing, dance and choreography in European, American, postcolonial and other non-Western forms.
The major provides rigorous training in the analysis of performance forms in all of our classes. This provides a set of analytical “ways in” that students can apply to any of the texts (written or performed) with which they engage in all of our emphasis areas. These methods are predicated on understanding social, political, and historical contexts, and the ability to use theory to ground specific examples and forms. Our program coheres around a shared theoretical and methodological approach to the creation of performance in theatre, dance, and the multiplicity of cultural forms of identity-making (including sports, rituals, festivals, spectacles, and everyday life).
All of our students will graduate knowing how to read and critique texts and to interpret them for performance. They will be prepared for graduate study as well as professional programs. As one successful recent graduate commented of her studies, “I couldn’t learn everything there is to know about theatre at Grinnell, since it’s a liberal arts institution. But I learned how to learn.” Learning how to learn, how to research, and create continue to be the foundation for students within the multiple pathways in our discipline.