Theater and Dance

Create the theater and dance of your generation

Learn the vocabularies of our disciplines, take master classes with distinguished artists, and become part of a vibrant arts community.

Rehearse for your life. Studying theater and dance prepares performers, directors, choreographers, designers, researchers, technicians, and playwrights for careers in the arts, but that’s not all. By taking our courses and working closely with classmates on all aspects of productions, students also learn valuable skills of collaboration, teamwork, listening, and observation that can be applied to many different careers and professions.

Opened in January 2019, Macalester’s new theater and dance building features 11 flexible and modern classrooms; a large performance space with hinged galleries that can create different seating and performance configurations for each production; an expanded costume shop; and a 2,400-square-foot dance studio.

Why study theater and dance at Macalester?

For students interested in the arts, our facilities and urban location are unparalleled. The Twin Cities have the second highest number of theater companies per capita in the United States, after New York. Attending performances is integrated into our curriculum. Students regularly attend on-and off-campus theater and dance productions at nationally recognized LORT theaters such as the Guthrie; the Cowles Center for Dance and Theatre; Penumbra Theatre; Ananya Dance Theatre; Jungle Theater; James Sewell Ballet; Mixed Blood Theatre, as well as many other venues throughout the community. There are also ample opportunities to explore music, visual art, and other performances at concert halls and museums that will fuel your own artistic development.

Our cross-disciplinary degree will challenge you and expose you to many different people and ideas. With mentorship from expert faculty members and visiting artists, you will learn the nuts and bolts of our disciplines in studio classes, while also delving into academic topics like gender and race theory in performance that will help you bring to life what’s next in theater and dance. Collaboration is part of our DNA. Each spring, students in lighting, costuming, directing, acting, and dancing studio courses collaborate on public performances.

Life after Macalester

Theater and dance in the cities


Number of theater venues in the Twin Cities, from the Fringe Festival to the Guthrie.

Theater and dance students intern as assistant directors and designers, actors, dancers, dramaturgs, and arts administrators at dance and theater companies throughout the community.

National touring companies like the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and American Ballet Theatre often perform during the Northrop dance season at the University of Minnesota, just 5.4 miles from campus.

Join our community

  • Evenings out. Twice a semester, our entire department attends a performance together at a local theater or dance space to support fellow artists and get to know each other better.
  • Visiting inspiration. Local and nationally recognized dance and theater artists regularly visit Macalester to work with students, give lectures, and perform.
  • Ad hoc adventures. Our students are active in the arts community and regularly organize casual outings to performances and exhibitions at theaters, galleries, and studios across the Twin Cities.