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The Department of Dance Theatre

The Department of Dance Theatre was established in September, 2013. As a professional department, it is designed to systematically nurture professionals in dance theatre capable of choreography and creation. The Department is engaged in the teaching, practice and theoretical research of dance theatre, which is an emerging discipline in the international circle of theatre arts education.

The Department was led by Professor Shen Peiyi, a renowned dance artist in China, founder of the theoretical system for acting in dance theatre, and the discipline’ pace-setter. Besides, the faculty is also consisted of outstanding teachers both experienced in dance theatre performance, capable of dance theatre creation, and well-versed with related theories.

The Department now provides undergraduate and postgraduate education and training. The BA program lasts for 5 years. Students are taught by professional teachers, choreographers, lecturers on acting theory for dance theatre, and teachers of other theatre-related courses. The Department spares no efforts to cultivate talented and virtuous professionals in dance theatre who systematically master the skills required in the industry, have the ability to create characters and to choreograph, and have theoretical knowledge of dance theatre.

For the BA program in Acting (for Dance Theatre, we have ‘Dance Dramas’ as the main module, ‘Basic Ballet Training’ and ‘Dance Techniques and Skills’ as the technical module; for genre dance module, we have ‘Chinese Classical Dance (figure, classical dance of Han & Tang dynasty, and Dunhuang Dance)’, ‘Chinese and Foreign Folk Dance’, ‘Modern Dance Techniques’, ‘Dramatic Technique for Pas de Deux’, and ‘Dramatic Technique for Chinese Classical Duo Dance’. Meanwhile, there are supplementary courses on the syllabus specifically for Dance theatre, including Choreography and Directing, Play-writing, Music, Makeup and Costume, Stage and Visual Design, Pop Dance, among other practical courses related to the discipline. Professional theory courses include: History of Western Dances, History of Chinese Dances, Narrative Research of Dance Theatre, Appreciation and Analyzing of Classics, and Benesh Movement Notation, etc. Our students are also exposed to such areas of knowledge as Dance as Medical Treatment, Calligraphy, and Literature.

For MA students of Acting for Dance Theatre, they will take 7 specialized core courses and practical courses in total, including ‘Acting Techniques for Dance Theatre and Its Application’, ‘Theory and Research on the Techniques of Dance Theatre’; ‘Comparative Analysis and Research of Acting  in Chinese and Foreign Dance Dramas’, ‘Practice of Techniques and Skills for Dance Theatre’, “Application of the Acting Technique of ‘Visualization, Characterization and Contextualization’ in Various Genre Dances’, ‘Creation of Dance Dramas’, and ‘Artistic Creation for Dance Theatre’.

Both undergraduate and postgraduate students are supposed to finish the following practical modules: Graduation Thesis (Dissertation), Graduation Work, and Performance in Graduation Production.

The undergraduate education in the Department of Dance Theatre features acting as its core, supplemented by choreography and research; for postgraduate education, in contrast, prioritizes theoretical study and research, with acting and creation as secondary modules. The Department is the only one in the CAD, a palace of art with profound cultural heritage, to offer a course in Dance Theatre.

In 2022, the Department was granted the honorary title of ‘Excellent Undergraduate Education Team of Beijing Universities and Outstanding Teaching and Management Team of Beijing Universities’ and ‘Team for Education of Acting in Dance Theatre’.

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