Theatre: Dance & Movement Major

BW's comprehensive theatre majors include studies in dance, movement, acting, auditioning, voice, script analysis, directing, stage management and more.

Theatre: Dance & Movement


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Undergraduate Admission

(440) 826-2222, (877) BW-APPLY,




Explore and articulate your creative physicality as you develop the technical and theatrical skills needed to prepare you for a successful career in the arts.

Baldwin Wallace’s dance and movement program is a comprehensive, rigorous study in both theatre and dance. It includes intensive studio instruction in ballet, jazz, modern, tap and hip hop dance as well as theatrical training in acting, stagecraft, makeup, and costume and lighting design.

Exceptional Learning Experiences

You’ll develop your whole-body-instrument as you learn to physically articulate a role or character, or interpret music with imagination, flair and authenticity. You’ll be introduced to innovative modes of dance and movement that challenge you as a dancer and expand your technical skills and creative vision.

Faculty Focused on Your Success

Small class sizes, individual attention and faculty mentoring are hallmarks of the program. BW faculty are working professionals with decades of real-world experience and contacts at regional and national arts organizations.

  • Two dance students performing

    A vibrant display of student achievement, BW's fyoo zh en dance concert unites student choreographers, composers, dancers and designers in a spectacular event.

  • Students perform a dance number in a Music Theatre production

    Theatre and dance majors have opportunities to work on a wide range of theatrical styles and genres, including opera, music theatre, new and classical works.

  • Romeo and Juliet

    "Romeo and Juliet" - Fall 2014

    Students study alongside guest and resident designers who are working professional theatre artists.

  • Music Theatre student dancing during performance

    "What is Love?" - a devised play based on "Romeo and Juliet" - Fall 2014

    Entirely student written and conceived, this production represents one of the many ways BW students benefit from exceptional hands-on learning opportunities. Technical skill, innovation, creativity and a commitment to new works are hallmarks of the theatre major.

  • A BW professor helps a student block dance moves for a performance on stage

    Faculty-student collaboration

    One-on-one coaching and mentoring are at the heart of BW's theatre major.

Four Specialized Programs of Study

At BW, theatre and dance majors can focus their studies in acting and directing, design and technical, stage management, and dance and movement. All programs include a solid foundation of courses designed to give students a comprehensive overview of theatre.

Study Theatre in London

Heighten your understanding and appreciation of British theatre through a study abroad experience. The program is a three-week, credit-earning immersion course in British theatre that includes a nine-day trip to London. It is led by BW theatre faculty.

Career Opportunities

  • Dancer
  • Actor
  • Artistic director
  • Arts manager
  • Dance instructor
  • Choreographer
  • Dance therapist
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Theatre Productions

Baldwin Wallace's theatre and dance department produces two main stage productions and a series of one-acts each semester. Productions include musicals, operas, plays and a dance concert.

Mainstage Series 2021-22

Into the Woods
Directed by Victoria Bussert
November 10-13 & 17-20, 2021 at 7:30 p.m.; November 14 & 21, 2021 at 2 p.m.
Mainstage Theatre, Kleist Center for Art & Drama

fyoo zh en ’22: Revelry or Riot
Directed by Sara Whale
February 23-26, 2022 at 7:30 p.m.
Inspired by Dr. Dale Sheptak’s research on crowd dynamics. Choreographers use movement to illustrate the fine line between supporting your team and breaking the law.
Mainstage Theatre, Kleist Center for Art & Drama

Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare
Directed by Brennan Murphy
March 23-26, 2022 at 7:30 p.m., March 27 at 2 p.m.
Black Box Theatre, Kleist Center for Art & Drama

The Crucible by Arthur Miller
Directed by René Copeland
April 20-23, 2022 at 7:30 p.m., April 24, 2022 at 2 p.m.
Mainstage Theatre, Kleist Center for Art & Drama

Studio Series

Everybody by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins
Directed by Eugene Sumlin
October 20-23, 2021 at 7:30 p.m., October 24, 2021 at 2 p.m.
Black Box Theatre, Kleist Center for Art & Drama

Lab Series

The Modern Prometheus (Testing Ground: Fall Edition)
Directed by Sara Whale
Oct 27-30, 2021 at 7:30 p.m., Oct 31, 2021 at 2 p.m.
An adaptation of Frankenstein using text and movement to explore Mary Shelley’s classic tale, and her mindset as she created it.
Black Box Theatre, Kleist Center for Art & Drama

Angels in America, Part One: Millennium Approaches by Tony Kushner (A Radio Play)
Directed by Bryce Kessler
November 18-20, 2021 at 7:30 p.m., November 21, 2021 at 2 p.m.
BWTD Acting Studio, Loomis, Room 177

Judge and Jury by Reed Kruger
Directed by Reed Kruger
February 10-12, 2022 at 7:30 p.m., February 13, 2021 at 2 p.m.
BWTD Acting Studio, Loomis, Room 177

Danceworks in Progress (Testing Ground: Spring Edition)
Directed by Sara Whale
April 27, 2022 at 6 p.m. 
A chance to see what the BW choreographers and dancers have been cooking up in the studio! Immediately followed by a feedback session where you can share your impressions with the artists!
Black Box Theatre, Kleist Center for Art & Drama

Staged Reading Series

Dear by Lily Houghton | Aliens by Annie Baker
September 17-18, 2021 at 7:30 p.m.
Mainstage Theatre, Kleist Center for Art & Drama
Director, Dear: Martin Friedman | Director, Aliens: René Copeland

Radium Girls by D. W. Gregory
March 18-19, 2022 at 7:30 p.m.
Mainstage Theatre, Kleist Center for Art & Drama
Director: Anjanette Hall


Offered as a major and a minor, BW’s theatre and dance program has four areas of focus: acting and directing, design and technical, stage management, and dance and movement. BW also offers a major in music theatre through its Conservatory of Music and a BFA in acting.

The theatre major provides a broad perspective of the literature, history and creative practices of the discipline. Courses prepare students to appreciate and participate in theatre at all levels of performance, production, direction, design and management.

You can study acting, directing, voice and movement, scenic and costume design, lighting, stage management, theatre history and more. You also can take special seminars in contemporary topics.

The theatre major prepares students to:

  • Develop an awareness and appreciation of theatre and/or dance as art forms and as a vital asset to society
  • Acquire competency in their chosen area of study
  • Acquire an understanding of the history of the theatre and/or dance including its literature and criticism
  • Develop responsible standards of criticism regarding the aesthetics of theatre and/or dance
  • Develop research skills/techniques applicable to scholarly and/or production needs
  • Develop an understanding of the collaborative nature of theatre and/or dance by active participation in production work within the program
Course Catalog

Course Descriptions

Course descriptions, requirements for the major and additional information can be found in the University Catalog.


With an emphasis on experiential learning within a liberal arts environment, the BW Department of Theatre and Dance blends artistic excellence with innovation. You are encouraged to attend and participate in BW’s numerous theatre and dance productions. Also beneficial to your studies and networking opportunities is BW’s connection to Cleveland and its vibrant performing arts community, a quick 20-minute drive from campus.

Performance Opportunities

Baldwin Wallace produces main-stage and one-act productions, in addition to dance performances that include:

fyoo zh en: new music + dance

Each year, choreographers and composers collaborate to create an original, movement-based production that takes its inspiration from a BW professor’s academic research. This experience challenges these aspiring artists to create meaningful and imaginative work based on real-world topics.

Testing Ground: Danceworks in Progress

Testing Ground is a biannual event that offers developing choreographers an opportunity to present their work and receive feedback from both the audience and invited dance professionals from the Greater Cleveland area. The performance is designed to encourage dance artists to go back to the studio armed with positive feedback that can improve their work.

Student Organizations

Theatre Arts and Performance

This organization supports student theatre artists and those interested in theatre on campus. It informs students of events and opportunities in theatre, maintains an open forum for student ideas and projects, and raises awareness of on- and off-campus theatrical events.


The BW Department of Theatre and Dance is located in Kleist Center for Art and Drama. It houses two theatres: Mainstage Theatre and Black Box Theatre.

The Mainstage Theatre is a large 512-seat proscenium theatre. The stage has a 67-foot fly loft with a counterweight system. The stage opening is 44' by 24' with an extended 15-foot apron, ample wings and depth measuring 30 feet. This facility also boasts a new lighting system installed by ETC. With over 200 dimmers, lights are operated on an Emphasis board including a WYSIWYG program.

The Black Box Theatre is a smaller, flexible theatre with seating between 100-250. This unique studio space is intended to provide a variety of seating arrangements, including proscenium, three-quarter-thrust and in-the-round. The theatre has a balcony around three sides and a lighting grid 23 feet above the stage floor. This space also boasts a new Strand Century Lighting system with a 520 series light board.

Off-Campus Experiences

Baldwin Wallace's close proximity to Cleveland and its nationally ranked arts organizations offers outstanding learning and performance opportunities. BW students worked with:


At Baldwin Wallace, you'll experience personal and professional growth in a supportive community that challenges and inspires you to succeed. Recent BW theatre majors are finding their success in a variety of careers and studying in top graduate programs. 

Portrait of Mawusi Nenonene Mawusi Nenonene ’19 is enrolled at the University of Ghana, pursuing an MFA in dance and choreography. She is studying and performing traditional Ghanaian dances while experiencing the culture of origin. She has performed in an on-campus showcase, at the National Theatre of Ghana and Alliance Francaise, and with an all-female contemporary African dance group.

Portrait of Ali ManfrediAli Manfredi ’19 is pursuing a MS degree in dance/movement therapy at Pratt Institute. By working in a therapeutic setting, she uses dance as a catalyst to express things that words cannot. After graduation, she will be a Registered Dance Movement Therapist (R-DMT) and Licensed Creative Arts Therapist (LCAT). She plans to work in behavioral health.

Portrait of Cleo DeOrioCleo DeOrio '16 is a physical theatre and dance artist/teacher currently based in California. She earned a master's from Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre. Her choreography has premiered in “The Three Musketeers,” “Big Love,” and “Fyoo Zh En.” Current productions include “Love,” “Betty,” and “IMPRINTS.” She is originally from Cleveland, Ohio.




(440) 826-2239,

Full-Time Acting Faculty

Victoria Bussert
Director, Music Theatre Program
Professor of Theatre

René Copeland
Assistant Professor
Directing Program Coordinator

Anjanette Hall
Assistant Professor

Keira Lea McDonald
Associate Professor
Movement Specialist

Brennan Murphy
Department Chair, Theatre & Dance
Associate Professor
Acting, Voice

Full-Time Dance Faculty

Gregory Daniels
Associate Professor
Dance Program Coordinator
Jazz, Tap

Annika Sheaff
Assistant Professor
Ballet, Modern Dance

Sara Whale
Assistant Professor
Ballet, Modern, Improv, Choreography

Full-Time Design/Tech Faculty

Tesia Benson
Assistant Professor
Make-up, Costume Construction

Jeff Herrmann

David Allen Stoughton
Assistant Professor

Charlotte Yetman
Costume Design Program Coordinator

Adjunct Faculty

Laura Welsh Berg
Lecturer, Acting
M.F.A., DePaul University

Melanie Boeman
Costume Shop Manager

Martin Friedman
Theatre Literature

Dylan Fujimura
Technical Director

Shannon B. Fujimura
B.F.A., Kent State University
Stage Management

Kim Gladden
M.D., George Washington University School of Medicine

Tracy Grady
Area Coordinator, Music Theatre
Singing for Actors, Voice

Heidi Harris
M.F.A., George Washington University

Lisa Ortenzi
Creative Dramatics

Dusten Welch
Resident Fight Director, Stage Combat


Yolanda Kennedy
Office Manager

Josh Padgett
Assistant Technical Director