Dance & Performance Studies Major


1. Learning Goals
2. Path to Achieving Goals
3. Statement of Methods of Evaluation and Feedback Mechanisms
4. Declaring the Major
5. Things to Know About Transfer Credits
6. Contact Us



By the end of their time in Dance & Performance Studies, students should possess:

  • The ability to synthesize a well-organized argument from textual or other evidence and to express it in formal, written form
  • Proficiency in research methods (i.e. utilization of public and private archives, libraries, electronic databases, oral histories; textual and performance analysis)
  • Collaborative skills
  • Foundational stagecraft and production skills and knowledge (design, craft and technology, stage management, new media)
  • Literacy in foundational dramatic texts and fundamental concepts of performance theory
  • Basic knowledge of the history of Euro-American dance practice, including issues of race, ethnicity, and multiculturalism in the performing arts.
  • Basic modern/contemporary dance technique in the Western concert dance tradition
  • Understanding of the choreographic process and the tools necessary for this process.

Through upper-division course work, electives, and capstone experiences students should also possess advanced training in at least one of the following:

  • Choreography
  • Advanced Dance Technique
  • History & Theory of Dance



The path to achieving the aforementioned Learning Goals includes building Foundational Skills, developing Advanced Abilities and undertaking Capstone Experiences.

    • Beginning Modern Dance Technique (40A/B)
    • Introduction to Performance Studies (26)
    • Stagecraft (60)
    • EITHER Drama of American Cultures (Theater 25AC) OR Reflections of Gender, Culture and Ethnicity in Dance (52AC)
    • Dance Technique: Once a declared major, students take technique classes every term at their appropriate level (Intermediate Modern Technique 141A/B, Advanced 1 Modern Technique 142A/B, or Advanced 2 Modern Technique 143A/B)
    • Performance Studies: Three courses from areas of Performance Theory, Performance History, Performance Literatures, or Performance and Culture
    • Technical Theater/Design: One lab requirement (167 or 168) AND one design requirement (Adv. Production Study 172, Scenic Design for the Theater 173A/B, Costume Design for the Theater 174A/B, Lighting Design for the Theater 175A/B, Sound Design 177, Music Resources for Performance 145)
    • Choreography Series: choose EITHER Sources of Movement 144 OR Performance Workshop 114 and Beginning Choreography 146A.
    • Productions (from blackbox workshops to main stage productions)
    • Professional workshops and classes with Artists-in-Residence
    • Honors Theses (both written and production projects)
    • Independent Studies
    • Internships with professional companies, studios, agencies
    • Student-created performance projects
    • Leading/teaching DeCal courses
    • Research assistantships



In addition to traditional methods of assessment such as analytical papers, research projects, and examinations (which are used primarily in the Performance Studies courses), the TDPS faculty and lecturers use a variety of qualitative and competitive feedback methods. Among these are:

  • Graded, Written, and Oral Assessment
  • Competitive Evaluation and Selection
    • Students compete with one another for limited spaces in classes and productions.
    • Those who work hard, perform well, and show promise in classes are provided increasing challenges and opportunities.
  • Distribution of prizes
    • Every year, the faculty distributes endowed awards to our students. These awards are given to students whom the faculty have known in both classes and productions, and who have been seen to excel in all areas of the curriculum. While production work is often the immediate anchor of these awards, academic achievement and good collaborative skills are also required of students who receive awards. Students lacking in either of these arenas can be disqualified from receiving awards.
    • These awards are the culmination of long-term assessment over the student’s time in TDPS. In other words, it is highly unlikely that a student will receive an award without having received extensive feedback leading up to that award.
  • One-on-one mentorship and supervision
    •  Students in choreography, dance technique, design, acting, directing, and stagecraft classes are encouraged (and often required) to solicit detailed assessment on particular projects from their faculty
    • For classes that require group projects, faculty give feedback to individual groups within a course, rather than one-on-one. However, these groups are generally small (4-6 students)
    • Students may ask for more detailed feedback on auditions from relevant directors or faculty
    • Guidance on written thesis
    • Supervision of internship or apprenticeship projects
    • Guidance through the major tailored to student’s long-term goals
    • Professional career feedback



To read about Dance & Performance Studies Major Requirements:
Current requirements and 2 Ways to Enhance Your TDPS Elective Experience

You should also know that, as a major, it is expected that students will maintain a 2.0 GPA. Additionally, letter-graded courses for the major MUST be taken for a letter grade.

Please see the Department’s Undergraduate Handbook for more information.



  • A maximum of 8 units of equivalent coursework from EAP or other 4-year colleges transfer into the major as electives, upon departmental approval.
  • All L&S-approved credits from other colleges transfer into your degree, but rarely into the major.
  • Transfer students should bring a copy of previous transcripts/course descriptions to Michael Mansfield for evaluation



Academic questions, declare major, class schedule planning:

Michael Mansfield, Undergraduate Advisor
15B Dwinelle Hall  (office hours: Mon-Fri, 1pm to 4pm)
(510) 643-4050