Frequently Asked Questions


 How big is the School of Theatre and Dance?

Approximately 275 total students; 152 Theatre Majors, 48 Musical Theatre Majors, and 75 Dance Majors.  Major classes range from 10 – 20 students per class.

 How is a B.A. program different from a B.F.A. program?

The School of Theatre and Dance offers BA degrees in Theatre, Musical Theatre, and Dance.  We do not offer BFA degrees.  Our accrediting agencies have called our majors “intensive BAs,” meaning that we combine a liberal arts education with pre-professional artistic training.  We feel strongly that undergraduate years are best balanced between skill development in your major and obtaining a broad base of knowledge about the world.

 Do I need to interview or audition to be a Theatre, Dance or Musical Theatre major?

Yes.  We call it our “gateway” process.

Dance Admissions

Musical Theatre Admissions

Theatre Admissions

 Can I audition for multiple majors within the School of Theatre and Dance?

Yes.

 How many students apply to the School of Theatre and Dance each year?

Acceptance rates differ for each major, but all majors are competitive.

 Do you offer scholarships?

Yes.

 Do you accept transfer students?

Yes. Transfers and current JMU students apply the through the same gateway process as prospective first-year students.  Depending on previous coursework, transfer students can complete a Theatre or Dance major in 2 – 3 years or a Musical Theatre major in 3 years.

 When will I know if I am accepted artistically to the School of Theatre and Dance?

Typically, School of Theatre and Dance decisions are available by April 1st for Regular Decision applicants and between January 15th and March 1st for Early Action applicants.  Decisions are provided through MyMadison (the same portal you are notified of your admissions decision from the university.) 

 If I am accepted to JMU, but not to the School of Theatre and Dance, may I re-apply later?

Yes. Transfers and current JMU students apply the through the same gateway process as prospective first-year students.

 How many productions do you do?

Each year we produce 3 plays, 2 musicals, and 3 dance concerts on our mainstage season;  5 – 8 student produced full-length plays, musicals, or devised work in the Studio Theatre; 3 student-produced full-length dance concerts and 2 student choreography showings in the Earlynn J. Miller Dance Theatre; and 3 – 8 staged readings of original student work in our Workshop season. 

 Who can audition for School of Theatre and Dance productions?

Dance concerts are reserved for dance majors.  Any JMU student (including first-year students) can audition for theatre and musical theatre productions, including mainstage, studio, and workshop productions. 

 Can I be cast in dance or theatre productions as a first-year student?

Yes.  Any JMU student (including first-year students) can audition for theatre and musical theatre productions, including mainstage, studio, and workshop productions.  In addition, first-year Dance Majors are required to perform in the Student Dance Concerts in the fall and spring and can audition for student choreographers (showcasing in the spring Student Dance Concert) and some guest artist work.  Any first-year Dance Major may also audition their own choreography for the Student Dance Concert.

 What performance opportunities are available for sophomore, junior and senior Dance Majors?

The dance program provides dance majors with numerous performing and choreographic opportunities.  In the sophomore year and above, dance majors participate in the Contemporary Dance Ensemble. This company offers majors the opportunity to perform, choreograph, work with a guest artist and/or faculty members as well as work with professional costume and lighting designers. Juniors and seniors may participate in the Virginia Repertory Dance Company (VRDC) is considered our pre-professional company. Students in VRDC work with guest artists and faculty and perform on-campus in the fall, and in the spring, this company tours regionally and sometimes, internationally.  And speaking of internationally, the dance program offers two short-term summer study abroad programs in London and Russia in alternating years.      

 Do I compete with graduate students for opportunities?

No.  The School of Theatre and Dance focuses exclusively on undergraduate education.

 Is it possible to double major?

Yes.  Some double majors, such as English, Kinesiology, or Media Arts and Design, are easier to complete in four years.  More credit intensive double majors, such as Business, may require more than four years. 

 Do you offer teaching licensure?

Yes.  Theatre Majors may concentrate in Theatre Education through which students may receive Pre K-12 licensure.  Dance Majors may obtain a Pre K-12 licensure.  Prospective licensure students must be admitted to the teacher education program in the College of Education prior to enrolling in professional education courses.

 What coursework do I take as a Dance Major?

The dance program provides dance majors a challenging intensive study of dance and offers coursework in modern and ballet technique, dance composition, dance history, performance production, repertory ensemble experience, anatomy and somatic practices, teaching methods and teaching licensure. Other courses include jazz, tap, improvisation, and yoga, among others. There are many avenues that dance majors may follow and the dance faculty help each student create his/her individual path. 

 How do minors work?

Anyone may declare a Theatre or Dance minor through your student portal.  A gateway audition or interview is not required.  Musical Theatre does not offer minors.  Lower-level major courses are available to minors on a space-available basis.

 As a Theatre Major, can I specialize?

Yes.  As a theatre major, you may choose to interview/audition for a “concentration” in the spring of your sophomore year.  Theatre offers four concentrations: Performance, Design and Technology, Theatre Studies, and Theatre Education.  You may be accepted into multiple concentrations.  Concentrations are not required.

 What is the difference between the Musical Theatre Major in the School of Theatre and Dance and the Music Theatre Major in the School of Music?

The Musical Theatre Major in the School of Theatre and Dance offers different coursework from the Music Theatre Major in the School of Music. These programs hold separate auditions. People typically choose the program that is most suited to their needs, although some students choose to audition for both programs and then determine (if accepted) which one is best suited to their goals.

 What coursework do I take as a Musical Theatre major (private voice lessons, music theory, dance, etc)?

Musical Theatre Majors are required to take one year of small group voice lessons (including a weekly performance lab) and two years of private voice lessons.  Students are encouraged to continue private voice study in their senior year. Musical Theatre majors take two semesters of Piano, and one semester of Music Theory and Ear Training. Students who enter with significant prior piano/music theory training may be allowed to test to place out of the requirement or into higher-level courses.  Some Musical Theatre majors choose to minor in Music, Music Industry, or Music and Human Services. Musical Theatre majors are required to take Dance to meet the major requirements.  Most Musical Theatre majors take one to two dance classes per semester (some taking three if their schedule allows). Students entering the major with a lot of dance experience may replace beginning-level classes with intermediate and advanced classes at the discretion of the dance instructor and the Musical Theatre Coordinator.  Some Musical Theatre majors choose to minor in Dance. Musical Theatre majors take their Theatre classes with faculty members from the Theatre department. 

For more information about the specific classes that are a part of the Musical Theatre major, visit the JMU course catalog.

 If I am a Theatre, Musical Theatre, or Dance Major, can I take courses in any of the other two majors?

Yes, our curriculum is designed for students to take courses across disciplines.  Upper-level major courses may also be taken on a skill and space-available basis.  Majors may also minor in another School of Theatre and Dance program.  For instance, some Dance Majors have broadened their studies with a Theatre Minor to explore lighting design, costume design, arts administration, and/or stage management.  Some Theatre and Musical Theatre majors choose to minor in Dance.  Musical Theatre does not offer minors. 

 Can I study abroad?

Absolutely.  The Center for Global Engagement at James Madison University offers a variety of study abroad opportunities during the fall, spring, and summer semesters. 

 Do you have a Senior Showcase for Theatre and Musical Theatre Majors?

Yes.  We produce a Senior Showcase in Washington DC every spring.  Musical Theatre majors & Theatre majors from all specialty areas (including performance, design, dramaturgy, arts management, theatre education, among others) are given the opportunity to participate.

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