The Department of Dance and Performance Studies develops highly trained, creatively active and professionally oriented students with its unique curriculum. The program allows for individual attention from the faculty, who are all working professionals in the field. Courses are offered in technique (ballet, modern, jazz, tap, ethnic and social forms), choreography, history, pedagogy, movement analysis, kinesiology and performance techniques. Additionally, RWU has the only dance-based university program in the United States to provide training in movement theatre. Majors are expected to maintain a continuing level of technical and creative development and are evaluated each semester by the faculty.
Each year, the department welcomes to campus notable artists for teaching and choreographic residencies and performance collaborations. Artists have included Seán Curran, Doug Elkins, Heidi Latsky, Carl Fink, Molissa Fenley, Billy Siegenfeld, Margie Gills, Creach / Koester, Arthur Hall, Meredith Monk, Marty Beller, Emilie Plauché, Fred Curchack, Bill Evans, Daniel Stein, Laura Glenn, Gilles Obermayer, Claire Porter, Kate Weare, David Dorfman, Neta Pulvermarcher, Tiffany Mills and Janice Lancaster.
Students are also involved in research with faculty members. Recent projects include a feature film, "Children of Providence," that was written, produced and directed by Gary Shore with help from many students, and Residency at the Egg in Mystic Connecticut with choreography by collaboration between Mary Ruffin Ward and three students.
Most recently, Dance students performed at The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts as part of the American College Dance Festival Gala in May 2010. The group beat out 45 other programs at a regional competition to earn the right to perform in Washington, D.C.
Student Learning Outcomes