Theater, Dance, & Media

Theater, Dance, & Media is Harvard’s newest and 49th concentration!  This interdisciplinary undergraduate program, which integrates the study of theater, dance and media with their practice, responds to both the Report of the Task Force on the Arts’ demand “to make the arts an integral part of the cognitive life of the university,” as well as to a consistent appeal from students over many decades to have a theater major at Harvard.  Drawing on the many resources dedicated to the performing arts at the university, including the American Repertory Theater, the Theater Collection of Houghton Library, the Office for the Arts, the Dance Center, the Music Department, and the Department of Visual and Environmental Studies (VES), this new concentration offers students the opportunity to investigate the myriad ways that theater, dance, and media have been an ever-present part of human life.  Department Website

Theater and dance are two of the oldest human art forms and are central to cultures around the world.  The invention of theatrical genres such as tragedy and comedy, the use of masks and different acting and movement techniques, and the evolution of theater architecture are major cultural achievements; knowing them is crucial for understanding our past.  These achievements continue to shape our own arts culture, and contemporary artists in theater and dance have begun to re-imagine their art forms in a new media environment.  The concentration in Theater, Dance and Media harnesses these past and present energies to create an integrated course of study for Harvard undergraduates.

In this concentration, experienced professionals from the American Repertory Theater and the Dance Center, as well as visiting artists from NYC and elsewhere, teach practice-based courses that introduce students to the rigor and discipline required to master the interlocking techniques out of which theater, dance, and media practices are composed.  Also, scholars in various Harvard humanities departments (including, but not limited to, African and African American Studies, Comparative Literature, English, Folklore and Mythology, History of Art and Architecture, Music, Visual and Environmental Studies) teach courses on the history, theory, and criticism of the performing arts.  Concentrators, therefore, engage in a cognitive approach to art making in order to understand both the theory and practice of the performed arts, rather than pursuing a conservatory-style of training.  By taking sophomore and junior tutorials that integrate theory and practice along with lecture and studio courses that focus on particular aspects of these theatrical forms, students actively engage in all aspects of theater, dance, and media production, working with scholars and professionals in all areas.