Basic Concentration

Basic Requirements (12 courses). Concentrators must take a total of 12 (4-credit) courses to meet graduation requirements in Theater, Dance & Media, including the following required tutorials, seminars, and distribution requirements. Students also need to fulfill tech and production training modules and crew membership requirements (see details under Tech Requirements).


TDM 97: Sophomore Tutorial. What are theater and dance? What is at stake when a performance is live or recorded? How do performers use space, time, and bodies to make meaning? What is the relationship between a performance and a script? Why do performers and audiences gravitate to live arts? How do economic and political circumstances shape live performances? This sophomore tutorial in Theater, Dance & Media provides students with an intellectual and practical foundation to the concentration by exploring these questions and more. Readings will include theoretical texts from Schechner, Phelan, and Chaudhuri, alongside scripts and other performance materials by Kennedy, Bausch, Kaprow, and Smith. Assessments emphasize how to write about performance and how performance serves as a form of criticism. (Required of all, and limited to, TDM concentrators): Taught by TDM core faculty, this sophomore tutorial introduces students to the variety of theatrical forms, as well as to the fundamental tools of theatrical analysis. 

TDM 98: Junior Tutorial. (Required of all, and limited to, TDM concentrators): This course, taught primarily by advanced graduate students across FAS departments, A.R.T. Institute graduate students, or by lecturers, is designed to integrate classroom study and studio practice in small groups of concentrators. The goal of the tutorial is to test insights generated from critical reading in the context of studio practice and to use the experience of studio practice to reflect back on critical reading. The result of the junior tutorial can be a final performance combined with a written account of the relation between reading, research, and studio practice that has occurred over the course of the semester, or a written project that includes reflections on studio practice.

Production Studios

TDM 90AR/BR/CR/DR. TDM production studios frame and involve participation in Theater, Dance & Media’s twice yearly professionally directed and designed productions. The preponderance of time for this course will be dedicated to the rehearsal process and performances, where the integration of theory and practice, and theater, dance, and media take place. Students will meet with the course head for seminar discussions at designated times (TBD) to examine the entire performance process through an ethnographic lens.

Theater and dance productions enable students to put together the various skills acquired in concentration courses, in both studio-classes and seminars, under the guidance of theater and dance professionals. Students also learn to collaborate with fellow participants in launching a production, a crucial skill for any work in dance and theater (as well as outside the performance arena!). While some productions will aim to present polished work, others will be informal presentations that exhibit the results of a pedagogical process.

Concentrator roles in these productions fall into the following categories:

  • Writer
  • Composer
  • Director
  • Choreographer
  • Actor
  • Dancer
  • Designer
    • Sets
    • Costumes
    • Sound
    • Lights
    • Video/projections/media
  • Stage Manager
  • Dramaturg
  • Producer/PR

* If a concentration production is staffed by professional artists, serving as Assistant in any of these roles may satisfy the requirement with the approval of the DUS.

The DUS ensures that this requirement is fulfilled appropriately. This requirement will be graded SAT/UNSAT.

Courses (see course list)

Four courses focused on critical and scholarly approaches to Theater, Dance & Media. Taught by faculty based in various humanities departments and programs, including (but not limited to) African and African-American Studies, English, Folklore and Mythology, Comparative Literature, Music, History of Art and Architecture, Romance Languages and Literatures, Slavic Languages and Literatures, and Visual and Environmental Studies (V.E.S.), these lectures and seminars develop students’ knowledge in the different components of theater, dance, and media including dramatic literature, design, dramaturgy, musical theater and opera, architecture, dance, story-telling, and acting. Critical courses should not all be taken in a single discipline (dramatic literature, for example) to ensure that students study the various aspects of art making. Students should consult with the DUS and concentration advisors about the distribution of these critical courses.

Four practice-based or studio courses. Taught by the American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.) and dance faculty, lecturers, professors of the practice, or the creative writing faculty in English and other departments, these courses allow students to explore a range of theater, dance, and media practices, including directing, design, acting, dance, choreography, playwriting, dramaturgy, arts entrepreneurship, and work in newer media. These courses often emphasize the relation between research and practice as critical reading is brought to bear on art making. Concentrators should not take all four practice-based courses in a single discipline (acting, for example), but rather should take at least one, preferably two, in another area of theater-making. We expect that students will become familiar with at least one performing arts language (such as Forsythe, Practical Aesthetics, motion design and motion capture, Alexander technique, Laban, viewpoints, or other theater, movement, or other dance systems). Cumulatively, the practice-based courses should provide students with a well-rounded performance experience. Students should discuss their choice of practice-based courses—indeed of all courses—with the DUS and concentration advisors.

Distribution Requirements:

  • Concentrators must take at least one course, seminar or lecture-based, that explores a time period before 1900 and includes various genres and forms of theater, dance, and media, examining the continual process of historical adaptation and appropriation. Examples are: A History of Western DramaAmerican Drama 1787 to the Present; or World Theater.
  • Concentrators must take at least one course, either studio-based or seminar-based, focused on theater or traditional performance traditions outside of the United States. Such courses include: Spectral Fictions, Savage Phantasms; Embodied Expression/Expressive Body: Dance in Cultural Context; China on Stage (MIT).  (Consult the DUS or Department Administrator for a complete list each year.)

Please also consult the Handbook for Students, under Fields of Concentration, to learn more about TDM requirements.

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