About the Department

In the Performing Arts Department, rigorous instruction in theater, dance, and performance enriches our students creatively and intellectually. We showcase the artistic and scholarly achievement of our faculty and students, and give students the opportunities for personal growth that only a performing arts education can provide.

Our dance and drama events put students center stage, enhancing the cultural life of the Washington University community with vibrant productions and scholarly events that reach thousands of audience members each year.

Our Community

Our faculty are award-winning artists, scholars, and educators widely recognized for excellence in their fields. We offer rigorous instruction in modern and classical traditions of dance, and in every major discipline of theatrical art. With our accomplished faculty, students can take multiple levels of classes in acting, directing, playwriting, scenic design, costume design, and theatrical lighting. Our scholars bring expertise in the literature, history, and theory of performance from Antiquity to the twenty-first century.  Across all these diverse specialties, we are unified by a commitment to fostering independent creative thought, and to equipping students with what they need to thrive artistically and intellectually after graduation. 

David Marchant, professor of practice in Dance

Welcome the Dance Program at WashU

With Spring 2020 performances canceled and in-person dancing abruptly halted, the dancers at WashU found a way to connect in spite of being socially distanced all summer. Their version of an “exquisite corpse”—or, perhaps more aptly, an “exquisite corps”—is based on the Surrealist concept of artists collaboratively creating a chain of dances without knowing what came before. This short film features students, alumni, and faculty dancing apart…yet together.

Tellini celebrates Butoh, the Japanese style of avant-garde dance

Tellini celebrates Butoh, the Japanese style of avant-garde dance

PAD Alums, Sanjit De Silva LA ' 98 and Sathya Sridharan LA '09 to act in a new radio play version of "Richard II."

PAD Alums, Sanjit De Silva LA ' 98 and Sathya Sridharan LA '09 to act in a new radio play version of "Richard II."

Scene from