It’s official: The Faculty of Arts and Sciences recently approved the creation of a concentration in Theater, Dance, and Media. While students have previously been allowed to pursue a secondary concentration in Dramatic Arts, a formal degree program has been a long time coming—in 2007, University President Drew G. Faust commissioned a Report of the Harvard Task Force on the Arts, which ultimately called for “changes in the undergraduate curriculum to make arts practice a more important and accessible dimension of both General Education and departmental courses in the arts.”
Of course, the Great Recession hit the following year, Harvard’s endowment shrank, and like hot breakfast in the Houses, plans for increasing academic programming were put on hold. But now, in 2015, Harvard’s finances have bounced back (well, almost, we haven’t quite topped the Vatican’s endowment…yet…if only we had the Pope instead of Faust), and the time is right to catch up to Yale, which boasts an illustrious Drama program both for undergraduates and graduates. As professors and administrators shape the coming concentration, FM suggests some things we’d like to see come declarations in the fall.
A Campus in NYC
Columbia is currently expanding uptown, and Cornell is building a new tech campus on Roosevelt Island, so why can’t Harvard have its own stake of the Big Apple? All of the HUDS apples have bruises and holes in them anyway; it’s time we get a bigger and better one. We should also keep all the old ones just in case, like when we got a new CVS across the street from an existing one. We anticipate SEF funding for Broadway shows as field research and maybe a fourth CVS in the Square.
We can’t learn how to be stars without some role models, now can we? I’m talking Kanye. Beyonce. That actress who sang the Frozen song—Adele Dazeem. Splurging on some famous names as adjuncts has got to be cheaper than actually giving someone tenure (and the benefits that come with tenure), right? Jaden Smith doesn’t have a high school diploma yet, but we expect him to run the Media classes on Twitter. But when he comes to visit for prospective employment, reassure him the Smith Campus Center is named after him—it’ll keep him happy, and us in Willow’s good graces. Hair flip emoji. Swerve.
Drew Faust and Rakesh Khurana on “Dancing with the Stars”
After we hire all of the celebrity professors, let’s turn some of the current faculty into actual stars! (See, admins, we’re thinking frugally.) It takes two to tango, so let’s use two top leaders. She can school him in the history of dance, he can help her make it big in the biz. Together they can wow the judges, and we can all learn a thing or two. What would be a concentration in performance without a little competition to keep things interesting?
A Course in How To Hide Your True Facebook Self from Relatives and Employers
Social media is a beast that sprouts new heads before you have a chance to befriend the last (virtually, of course). Some of these heads will be an employer, and they are not happy with your drunk selfie at Taco Bell at 4 a.m., no matter how proud you are of the fact that you made it to Taco Bell in that state, at that hour (don’t worry—we’re proud of you. Send us a Snap. It’s less lasting). Your aunt in Colorado, whose friend list is composed solely of nine close relatives of yours, is also particularly unenthused. This course, taught via Skype by Mark Zuckerberg and TF’d by each class’s resident Facebook group troll, would teach you all the tricks of Facebook’s privacy policies in order to let you crowdsource the maximum amount of debauchery for the smallest number of repercussions. All, that is, except for your 2007 statuses regarding your love for Disney movies and whines about how “everyone sucks. seriously.” Those deserve to be seen by the world, if only to remind us how literally everything becomes better after middle school.
An Urban Dance Course
This new course should focus on the discipline of dance that involve you, the sidewalk, your favorite playlist, and all the uncomfortable people trying not to stare. How does one walk efficiently down the street while dancing? A greater question may be, how does one walk without dancing? An inefficient urban dancer might arrive to class 15 to 20 minutes late because of clanky movement and unnecessary frills. Mouthing the lyrics while dancing will also be covered because it’s really hard to do two things at once. Britney Spears struggled with dancing and lip-syncing and so do we. If you truly master this course, you will be able to streamline the dance-walk process to just walking in time with the music.
Open Air Theater
Harvard theater has long hosted all its performances inside. But in order to incorporate theater into the lives of all Harvard students, the department should have its performances in the Yard or Science Center. When winter comes, the performances can’t stop. Theater can’t be stopped. Artistry can’t be stopped. Besides, what’s a better day to get an audience than a snow day? In the winter, the audience’s pathos will be strong as they watch the actors trudge around the waist-deep snow trying to reach each other for a heart-wrenching kiss. Winter is a cold and lonely time, devoid of kisses.