Theatre & Dance

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Davidson Music Center (45), Room 104
Phone: 805.756.1465
https://theatredance.calpoly.edu

Department Chair: Josh Machamer

Academic Programs

Program name Program type
Theatre ArtsBA, Minor
DanceMinor

The courses offered by the Theatre and Dance Department provide students with well-balanced programs of study, integrating practical production work with classes that examine the principles, theoretical aspects, and historical development of theatre and dance.

A full range of studio dance courses are offered that include ballet, modern, jazz, and ballroom. Composition and dance production are available, as well as courses designed for future teachers of dance. The department also provides general education and breadth courses in the areas of dance history and dance appreciation.

The department also acts as a cultural focus for the campus and community. An annual dance concert is presented under the auspices of the Orchesis Dance Company. Every spring a student-directed dance concert is also produced. Each quarter the department presents three main-stage theatre productions. Recent titles include: A Streetcar Named Desire, Smash, Falsettos, Betty's Summer Vacation, The Bald Soprano, Julius Caesar, The Phantom Tollbooth, Blood Wedding (Bodas de sangre), Spike Heels, The Arabian Nights, Animal Farm, and As You Like It. The department also produces original works; sponsors guest lecturers and specialized workshops; and manages a program of student-directed works, field trips, and internships.

Undergraduate Programs

BA Theatre Arts

Students who major in Theatre at Cal Poly participate in a comprehensive, hands-on training program that gives them a balanced and enriched knowledge of theatre arts: acting, directing, design, playwriting, technical theatre, script analysis, and theatre history. Participation in main-stage productions, as actors and members of the artistic/production crew, is a key component of each student's education. As a small program, the Theatre Arts B.A. allows for faculty to get to know students' abilities and needs as individuals; promoting the selection of special projects, electives, and interests that mesh with their career ambitions.  The Department's curriculum also offers courses as part of the University's General Education Program: Introduction to Theatre, Theatre History I & II, Theatre in the United States, Global Theatre and Performance, and Topics in Diversity on the American Stage.

Degree Requirements and Curriculum
 

Dance Minor

The Dance Minor consists of 26 units designed to provide the student with a well-balanced program in the art and education of dance. Admission to the minor is contingent upon a departmental interview and review. Students must have more than a 2.0 GPA.

Minor Requirements
 

Theatre Minor

The Theatre Minor is designed to provide a foundation of 12 required units in three major aspects of theatre: introduction/appreciation, design/production, and diversity. On top of that, the inclusion of 16 additional elective units allows for a degree of specialization in an area of the student's choice.  Students should discuss their interests with department faculty.

Admission to the minor is contingent upon a departmental interview and review. Students must have more than a 2.0 GPA.

Minor Requirements

How to Read Course Descriptions

DANC Courses

DANC 130. Pilates and Conditioning Fundamentals. 2 units

Term Typically Offered: F, SP

Introduction to Joseph Pilates' Physicalmind conditioning method. Development of ideal physical fitness for the attainment and maintenance of a uniformly developed body and sound mind. Purchase of concert ticket(s) may be required. Total credit limited to 6 units. 2 activities.

DANC 131. Beginning Ballet. 2 units

Term Typically Offered: F, W, SP

Fundamentals of ballet technique stressing alignment, turn-out, five basic positions, seven movements of dance, and terminology. Purchase of concert ticket(s) may be required. Total credit limited to 6 units. 2 activities.

DANC 132. Beginning Modern Dance. 2 units

Term Typically Offered: F, W, SP

Fundamentals of modern technique stressing alignment, off-centered use of torso, floorwork, movement phrases, and improvisation exercises. Purchase of concert ticket(s) may be required. Total credit limited to 6 units. 2 activities.

DANC 133. Beginning Jazz Dance. 2 units

Term Typically Offered: F, W, SP

Introduction of jazz dance techniques stressing a variety of styles, alignment, isolation, polyrhythms, syncopation, improvisation, and phrasing. Performance technique and presentation of simple dance phrases. Purchase of concert ticket(s) may be required. Total credit limited to 6 units. 2 activities.

DANC 134. Beginning Ballroom Dance. 2 units

Term Typically Offered: F, W, SP

Selected ballroom dances including the cha-cha-cha, foxtrot, merengue, rumba, samba, swing, tango, waltz, and line dance hustle. Emphasis on alignment, etiquette, leading and following, performance techniques, and presentation of simple dance phrases. Purchase of concert ticket(s) may be required. Total credit limited to 6 units. 2 activities.

DANC 135. International Folk Dance. 2 units

Term Typically Offered: TBD

Introduction to international folk dances including round, longway, and square sets. Study of various dance steps, formation, positions, historical and cultural background. Purchase of concert ticket(s) may be required. Total credit limited to 6 units. 2 activities.

DANC 210. Active Wellness. 4 units

GE Area D4

Term Typically Offered: SP

Investigation of health and wellness ideologies and techniques for dancers and non-dancers through active participation in fitness circuits and lecture. Elements of fitness, injury prevention, somatic methodologies, anatomy, and body image will be presented and discussed to help students maintain and cultivate optimum health now and in the future. 3 lectures, 1 activity. Fulfills GE D4.

DANC 221. Dance Appreciation. 4 units

GE Area C3

Term Typically Offered: F, SP

Diverse dance forms. Focus on major western dance artists and their works from the 19th century to the present. Cultural context, style and forms in dance. Introductory survey of major experiments in dance. Purchase of concert ticket(s) may be required. Course may be offered in classroom-based or online format. 4 lectures. Fulfills GE C3.

DANC 231. Intermediate Ballet. 2 units

Term Typically Offered: F, W, SP

Prerequisite: Intermediate level experience as determined by instructor at first class meeting.

Continuation of training in basic technical skills in ballet stressing phrasing, performance, and more complex step patterns. Purchase of concert ticket(s) may be required. Total credit limited to 6 units. 2 activities.

DANC 232. Intermediate Modern Dance. 2 units

Term Typically Offered: F, W, SP

Prerequisite: Intermediate level experience as determined by instructor at first class meeting.

Continuing study of DANC 132 with emphasis on various movement styles, phrasing, more complex step patterns, and performance. Purchase of concert ticket(s) may be required. Total credit limited to 6 units. 2 activities.

DANC 233. Intermediate Jazz Dance. 2 units

Term Typically Offered: F, W, SP

Prerequisite: Intermediate level experience as determined by instructor at first class meeting.

Continuation of DANC 133 with emphasis on more extensive movement vocabulary. Purchase of concert ticket(s) may be required. Total credit limited to 6 units. 2 activities.

DANC 234. Intermediate Ballroom Dance. 2 units

Term Typically Offered: TBD

Prerequisite: DANC 134 or intermediate level experience as determined by instructor at first class meeting.

Continuation of DANC 134. Selected ballroom dances: cha cha, foxtrot, merengue, rumba, swing, tango, hustle, paso doble, polka and samba. Emphasis on variations, styles, and performance skill. Purchase of concert ticket(s) may be required. Total credit limited to 6 units. 2 activities.

DANC 270. Selected Topics. 1-4 units

Term Typically Offered: TBD

Prerequisite: Open to undergraduate students and consent of instructor.

Directed group study of selected topics. The Schedule of Classes will list title selected. Total credit limited to 8 units. 1 to 4 lectures.

DANC 280. Body Awareness and Expression. 4 units

Term Typically Offered: W

Directed group study of movement techniques and exercises to facilitate expressive physical performance. Body effectiveness, alignment and conditioning practice integrated with creative exploration and movement analysis of effort, spatial awareness and detailed body usage. 4 lectures. Crosslisted as DANC/TH 280.

DANC 321. Cultural Influence on Dance in America. 4 units

GE Area C4; USCP

Term Typically Offered: TBD

Prerequisite: Junior standing; completion of GE Area A with a grade of C- or better; and GE Area C3.

Multicultural approach to history of dance in America, with emphasis on American Indian, West African, Caribbean, Mexican, European, and Asian contributions and influences. Explores culture through dance. Purchase of concert ticket(s) required. 4 lectures. Fulfills GE C4 except for Theatre Arts majors. Fulfills USCP.

DANC 331. Advanced Ballet and Repertory. 2 units

Term Typically Offered: F

Prerequisite: DANC 231 or intermediate level experience as determined by instructor at first class meeting.

Advanced ballet technique and reconstruction of historical ballet repertories from the romantic, classical, neoclassical, and modern periods. Participation in dance performance of selected repertory. Purchase of concert ticket(s) may be required. Total credit limited to 6 units. 2 activities.

DANC 332. Contemporary Dance Repertory. 2 units

Term Typically Offered: F, SP

Prerequisite: Intermediate level experience as determined by instructor at first class meeting.

Intermediate to advanced dance skills learned through the study and performance of selected contemporary dance repertory. Addresses problems in advanced performance technique. Informal presentation in performance situation. Purchase of concert ticket(s) may be required. Total credit limited to 6 units. 2 activities.

DANC 340. Dance Composition. 4 units

Term Typically Offered: W

Prerequisite: Intermediate level experience as determined by instructor at first class meeting.

Principles of dance composition. Exploration of creative potential and development of movement motifs through choreographic studies. Preparation for informal public presentation of student generated choreographic works. Purchase of concert ticket(s) may be required. Total credit limited to 8 units. 1 lecture, 1 laboratory, 2 activities.

DANC 341. Dance Concert Practicum. 2 units

Term Typically Offered: SP

Prerequisite: consent of instructor.

Advanced practical application of choreography and dance concert production. Production of the student-produced Spring Dance Concert will be developed and executed. Investigation of complete choreographic work via peer and faculty review. Total credit limited to 8 units. 2 laboratories.

DANC 345. Choreography/Workshop in Dance Concert Preparation. 4 units

Term Typically Offered: F

Prerequisite: By audition only.

Workshop in concert preparation for major public dance production. Exploration and process of concert dance choreography. Purchase of concert ticket(s) may be required. Total credit limited to 16 units. 2 activities, 2 laboratories.

DANC 346. Dance Production. 1-4 units

Term Typically Offered: W

Prerequisite: One of the following: DANC 332, DANC 331, or DANC 345.

Directed production of annual Orchesis Dance Company Concert and other public performances. Attendance of professional dance concert(s) required. Purchase of concert ticket(s) may be required. Total credit limited to 16 units. 1-4 laboratories.

DANC 381. Dance Teaching Methods for Dance Minors. 4 units

Term Typically Offered: W

Prerequisite: Dance Minor.

Dance skills and techniques. Experience in selected dance forms. Rhythmic structure and analysis of dance steps. Includes introduction to dance pedagogy, curricular materials and evaluative procedures. Purchase of concert ticket(s) may be required. 2 lectures, 2 activities.

DANC 400. Special Problems. 1-4 units

Term Typically Offered: F, W, SP

Prerequisite: Consent of instructor and department head.

Individual investigation, research and studies or survey of selected problems in dance and related areas. Total credit limited to 8 units with a maximum of 4 units per quarter.

DANC 430. Advanced Selected Techniques. 2 units

Term Typically Offered: F, SP

Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.

Directed study of selected topics for advanced dance students. Focus on advanced level technique, style, concepts and choreography of classical and contemporary dance forms. The Schedule of Classes will list topic selected. Total credit limited to 8 units. 2 activities.

DANC 470. Selected Advanced Topics. 1-4 units

Term Typically Offered: TBD

Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.

Directed study of selected topics for advanced dance students. Class Schedule will list topics selected. Total credit limited to 8 units. 1-4 lectures.

DANC 471. Selected Advanced Laboratory. 1-4 units

Term Typically Offered: TBD

Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.

Directed group laboratory study of selected topics for dance students. Class Schedule will list topics selected. Total credit limited to 8 units. 1-4 laboratories.

TH Courses

TH 101. First-Year Theatre Seminar. 1 unit

CR/NC

Term Typically Offered: F

Prerequisite: Theatre Arts major.

Introduction to the study of Theatre, focusing on methods, topics and skills in the Theatre Arts major at Cal Poly. Emphasis on practical and professional expectations as well as opportunities within the Department. Examination of curricula, areas of interest, and career planning. Credit/No Credit Grading only. 1 seminar.

TH 210. Introduction to Theatre. 4 units

GE Area C3

Term Typically Offered: F, W, SP

Overview of theatre principles and production practices, including terminology and conventions, methods, dramatic literature and performance, aesthetic appreciation, and technology. Emphasis on theatre as an integral cultural, social, and artistic entity. Attendance at theatre performance(s) required. Course may be offered in classroom-based or online format. 4 lectures. Fulfills GE C3.

TH 220. Acting Methods. 4 units

Term Typically Offered: W

Prerequisite: TH 210.

Contemporary acting techniques focused on character building, objectives and tactics, with a focus on the development and implementation of various interactive methods of vocal work, images and actor resources. 3 lectures, 1 activity.

TH 225. Costume Construction I. 4 units

Term Typically Offered: F, W, SP

Basic costume construction techniques used in the entertainment industry. Building of all costumes and special craft projects for main stage theatre productions. May not be taken concurrently with TH 230 or TH 330. 4 laboratories.

TH 227. Theatre History I. 4 units

GE Area C3

Term Typically Offered: F

Highlights of European theatrical history - Greeks, Romans, Medieval English and French theatre through the 17th century. Production methods, acting styles, playwriting theories and representative plays. 4 lectures. Fulfills GE C3.

TH 228. Theatre History II. 4 units

GE Area C3

Term Typically Offered: F

Highlights of European and American theatrical history from the 18th to 20th century. Production methods, acting styles, playwriting theories and representative plays. 4 lectures. Fulfills GE C3.

TH 230. Stagecraft I. 4 units

Term Typically Offered: F, W, SP

Basic stagecraft technique used in the entertainment industry. Construction and painting of scenery, building and gathering properties, hanging and focusing lighting instruments, and acting as running crew for department production each term. May not be taken concurrently with TH 225 or TH 325. 4 laboratories.

TH 240. Improvisational Theatre. 4 units

Term Typically Offered: W, SP

Objectives and techniques of improvisational theatre. Participation in a series of exercises designed to develop skills in dramatic structure formatting, interactive problem solving, spontaneous scripting, dynamic communications, and applied performance styles. 2 lectures, 2 activities.

TH 245. Introduction to Stage Management. 4 units

Term Typically Offered: TBD

Prerequisite: TH 210.

Basic stage managerial skills for organizing, preparing, and fulfilling theatrical productions from the inception through rehearsal and performance. 4 lectures.

TH 260. Voice and Diction for the Stage. 4 units

Term Typically Offered: TBD

Theory and practice in developing command of oral techniques for the stage including breath support, resonance and articulation. 4 lectures.

TH 270. Stage Make-Up. 4 units

Term Typically Offered: TBD

Introduction to the art of theatrical make-up design and application. Techniques for producing character, old age, fantasy and special effects make-up. Demonstration and discussion of various design and application styles. 3 lectures, 1 activity.

TH 275. Selected Topics. 1-4 units

Term Typically Offered: TBD

Prerequisite: Open to undergraduate students and consent of instructor.

Directed group study of selected topics. The Schedule of Classes will list title selected. Total credit limited to 8 units. 1 to 4 lectures.

TH 280. Body Awareness and Expression. 4 units

Term Typically Offered: W

Directed group study of movement techniques and exercises to facilitate expressive physical performance. Body effectiveness, alignment and conditioning practice integrated with creative exploration and movement analysis of effort, spatial awareness and detailed body usage. 4 lectures. Crosslisted as DANC/TH 280.

TH 285. Internship. 1-4 units

CR/NC

Term Typically Offered: F, W, SP

Prerequisite: TH 101; TH 210; and consent of instructor.

Part-time, supervised internship experience for Freshmen & Sophomore students in theatre or equivalent professionally related industry. Ability to work independently; strong verbal and written skills. Faculty approval of internship position required. Evaluations by supervisor and written reports by student required. 30 - 120 hours of work experience. Total credit limited to 4 units. Credit/ No credit grading only.

TH 290. Script Analysis. 4 units

Term Typically Offered: SP

Prerequisite: TH 210, TH 227 or TH 228.

Script analysis taught as an essential applied skill for actors, designers and directors. Students read a variety of plays and learn how to examine their structure, theme and context. 4 seminars.

TH 295. Foundations in Theatrical Design. 4 units

Term Typically Offered: SP

Prerequisite: TH 210.

Exploration of the fundamental principles and practices of designing for the stage. Emphasis placed upon the creative and collaborative process of theatre; development of the visual world of the play via language, color, drawing, analysis, and peer evaluation. 3 lectures, 1 activity.

TH 305. Topics in Diversity on the American Stage. 4 units

GE Area C4; USCP

Term Typically Offered: SP

Prerequisite: Junior standing; completion of GE Area A with a grade of C- or better; and GE Area C3 (TH 210 recommended); or TH 210, TH 227, or TH 228 for Theatre majors.

Critical analysis of traditionally underrepresented groups in the American theatre, as writers, practitioners, story subjects. Investigation of dramatic literature and performance trends related to special interest topics. The Schedule of Classes will list topic selected. Total credit limited to 8 units. 4 lectures. Fulfills GE C4 except for Theatre majors. Fulfills USCP.

TH 325. Costume Construction II. 4 units

Term Typically Offered: F, W, SP

Prerequisite: Junior standing.

Specialized and advanced costume construction techniques used in the entertainment industry. Building of all costumes and special craft projects for main stage theatre productions. Total credit limited to 8 units. May not be taken concurrently with TH 230 or TH 330. 4 laboratories.

TH 330. Stagecraft II. 4 units

Term Typically Offered: F, W, SP

Prerequisite: Junior standing.

Basic stagecraft technique used in the entertainment industry. Students construct and paint scenery, build and gather properties, hang and focus lighting instruments, and act as running crew for department production each term. Total credit limited to 8 units. May not be taken concurrently with TH 225 or TH 325. 4 laboratories.

TH 341. Advanced Acting Studio. 4 units

Term Typically Offered: F

Prerequisite: TH 210 and TH 220.

Selected acting techniques with focus on specific advanced modes of training. The Schedule of Classes will list topic selected. Total credit limited to 12 units. 3 lectures, 1 activity.

TH 345. Rehearsal and Performance. 4 units

Term Typically Offered: F, W, SP

Prerequisite: By audition only.

Preparation of a play for public presentation, including acting, stage management, publicity, or serving as a key member of the artistic team. Total credit limited to 12 units. Major credit limited to 4 units; repeated units are free electives. 4 laboratories.

TH 350. Seminar in Playwriting. 4 units

Term Typically Offered: W

Prerequisite: TH 210; and completion of GE Area A with a grade of C- or better.

Examines dramatic structure, techniques of dialogue, and means of characterization in variety of plays. Relates dramatic writing to technical, design, directorial and acting demands. Compositions of monologues, scenes and one-act play; works read and critiqued in class. 4 seminars.

TH 360. Theatre in the United States. 4 units

GE Area C4

Term Typically Offered: TBD

Prerequisite: Junior standing; completion of GE Area A with a grade of C- or better; and GE Area C3 (TH 210 recommended); or TH 210, TH 227, or TH 228 for Theatre majors.

Examination of specific American plays, playwrights, organizations and movements, applying them as portraits of the United States' historical, philosophical and cultural make-up. Topical emphasis focuses on the definition and development of an 'American' identity via the context of theatre. 4 lectures. Fulfills GE C4 except for Theatre majors.

TH 370. Costume History. 4 units

Term Typically Offered: W

Prerequisite: TH 210.

Dress worn in Western society from Ancient Egypt through AD 2000. Silhouette; how, when, and why particular garments were worn; emphasis on social, political, and economic context. 4 lectures.

TH 380. Theatre for Young Audiences. 4 units

Term Typically Offered: W

Prerequisite: TH 210 or upper-division Liberal Studies, Child Development or Psychology course.

Practice of educational drama as applied to multidisciplinary curricula. Collaborate on story-based improvisation in areas that include language arts, social studies, geography and science with additional focus on examining emotional development and creativity. 3 lectures, 1 activity.

TH 390. Global Theatre and Performance. 4 units

GE Area C4

Term Typically Offered: TBD

Prerequisite: Junior standing; completion of GE Area A with a grade of C- or better; and GE Area C3 (TH 210 recommended); or TH 210, TH 227, or TH 228 for Theatre majors.

Investigation of non-American theatre and dramatic performance; emphasis on plays, playwrights, and movements as portraits of philosophical/national make-up. Topical emphasis focuses on the definition and development of a cultural identity via the context of historical and contemporary theatre practices. 4 lectures. Fulfills GE C4 except for Theatre majors.

TH 400. Special Problems for Advanced Undergraduates. 1-4 units

Term Typically Offered: F, W, SP

Prerequisite: Consent of department head.

Individual investigation, research, or project centering around theatre. Total credit limited to 8 units.

TH 430. Scenic Design. 4 units

Term Typically Offered: F

Prerequisite: TH 290 and TH 295.

Scenic design process used in the entertainment industry, including collaboration, concept development, research, sketching, drafting, color rendering using a variety of media, 3D model building, and the presentation of design material. 3 lectures, 1 activity.

TH 432. Costume Design. 4 units

Term Typically Offered: W

Prerequisite: TH 290 and TH 295.

Costume design process used in the entertainment industry, including collaboration, concept development, research, sketching, color rendering using a variety of media, and the presentation of design material. 3 lectures, 1 activity.

TH 434. Lighting Design. 4 units

Term Typically Offered: TBD

Prerequisite: TH 290 and TH 295.

Lighting design process used in the entertainment industry, including collaboration, concept development, research, functional aspects of lighting equipment, CAD drafting, the development of production paperwork and presentation of design material. 3 lectures, 1 activity.

TH 450. Directing. 4 units

Term Typically Offered: SP

Prerequisite: TH 290 and consent of instructor.

Principles, philosophies, analytical methods, business practices, organizational techniques and interpersonal strategies of directing for the stage. Experiential work includes hands-on, in-class exercises, as well as intensive outside class rehearsals. Culmination in a public production of student-directed one-act plays. 3 lectures, 1 activity.

TH 461. Senior Project Seminar. 3 units

Term Typically Offered: F

Prerequisite: Senior standing and Theatre majors only.

Focus on post-graduate career planning options in theatre arts, including resume and portfolio building, preparation for professional work, graduate school and internships. A structure by which students design and submit their senior projects. 3 seminars.

TH 470. Selected Advanced Topics. 1-4 units

Term Typically Offered: W, SP

Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.

Directed group study of selected topics for advanced students. Open to undergraduate and graduate students. Class Schedule will list topic selected. Total credit limited to 8 units. 1 to 4 lectures.

TH 471. Selected Advanced Laboratory. 1-4 units

Term Typically Offered: TBD

Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.

Directed group laboratory study of selected topics for theatre students. Class Schedule will list topics selected. Total credit limited to 12 units. 1-4 laboratories.

TH 480. Advanced Internship. 4 units

CR/NC

Term Typically Offered: F, W, SP

Prerequisite: Junior standing with a minimum 3.0 GPA and consent of instructor.

Part-time, supervised internship experience in the entertainment or equivalent professional industry. Ability to work independently; strong verbal and written skills. Faculty approval required. Evaluations by internship supervisor and written reports by student required. 120 hours of work experience. Total credit limited to 8 units. Credit/No Credit grading.

Thomas J. Bernard
B.A., University of Minnesota, 1991; M.F.A., Northern Illinois University, 1995.

Brian P. Healy
B.A., Truman State University, 1996; M.F.A., University of Washington, 2007.

Joshua T. Machamer
B.A., Whittier College, 1993; M.F.A., Pennsylvania State University, 2000.

Christina J. McNeil Chand
B.F.A., Cornish College of the Arts, 2000; M.F.A., University of Washington, 2012.

Heidi L. Nees
B.S., Ball State University, 2002; M.A., Illinois State University, 2008; Ph.D., Bowling Green State University, 2013.

Alvin J. Schnupp
B.S., Millersville State College, 1974; M.A., Bowling Green State University, 1979; Ph.D. University of California, Los Angeles, 1985.

Diana L. Stanton
B.A., University of California, Irvine, 1994; M.F.A., University of Colorado, Boulder, 1997.