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
Purchase Tickets

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 2019-2020


Co-production with
BW Music Theatre

Book by Harvey Fierstein
Music and Lyrics by
Cyndi Lauper

Directed by Victoria Bussert
November 12-24

By Anton Chekov
Directed by Brennan Murphy
January 22-26

fyoo zh en 20
The Body Politic
of the Beautiful

Based on the research of
Dr. Ana de Freitas Boe
Directed by Sara Whale
February 12-15

By Stephen Dietz
Directed by Scott Plate
April 22-26

Studio Series 2019-2020

By Stephen Adly Guirgis
Directed by Nathan Motta
October 23-26

Directed by Keira McDonald
March 25-28

Lab Series 2019-2020

Marginalia: Interplay with Poe
Directed by Sara Whale
October 31-November 2

By Sarah Ruhl
Directed by Maria Maggard
November 14-16

Written & Directed by Shane Thatcher
January 23-25

Dance Works in Progress
Directed by Sara Whale
April 29

December 10
May 5

Staged Readings 2019-2020

By Wendy Wasserstein
Directed by Martin Friedman
September 20-21

By Bertolt Brecht
Directed by Martin Friedman
March 20-21


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. 




(440) 826-2239,

Full-Time Faculty

Scott Plate
Chair, Department of Theatre and Dance
Directing Program Coordinator
Associate Professor
Acting, Directing, On Camera

Tesia Benson
Assistant Professor
Make-up, Costume Construction

Beth Burrier
Music Theatre Music Director & Area Coordinator, Music Theatre
Associate Professor of Music Theatre

Victoria Bussert
Director, Music Theatre Program
Professor of Theatre

Gregory Daniels
Coordinator, Dance Program
Associate Professor of Dance
Jazz, Tap

Anjanette Hall
BFA in Acting Program Coordinator
Assistant Professor

Les Hunter
Associate Professor
Playwriting, Script Analysis, Screenwriting

Keira Lea McDonald
Associate Profesor

Brennan Murphy
BFA in Acting Program Coordinator
Associate Professor
Acting, Voice

Annika Sheaff
Assistant Professor
Ballet, Modern Dance

David Allen Stoughton
Assistant Professor

Sara Whale
Assistant Professor
Ballet, Modern, Improv, Choreography

Charlotte Yetman
Costume Design Program Coordinator

Adjunct Faculty

Laura Welsh Berg

Melanie Boeman
Costume Shop Manager

Pamela Decker
Theatre History, Dramaturgy, Script Analysis

Martin Friedman
Script Analysis, Intro to Theatre

Dylan Fujimura
Technical Director

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

Fred Gloor
Improvisation, Intro to Theatre

Heidi Glynias

Tracy Grady
Singing for Actors, Voice

Todd Krispinsky
Theatre Management

Christine McBurney

Lisa Ortenzi
Creative Dramatics

Corrie Purdum
Stage Management 

Pandora Robertson
Movement, Devised Theatre

Kelly Smith

Bob Taylor
Theatre Seminar in London

Dusten Welch
Resident Fight Director, Stage Combat


Yolanda Kennedy
Office Manager

Josh Padgett
Assistant Technical Director