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Theater, Dance, and Media, in its fourth year as Harvard’s youngest concentration, is searching for new faculty members and diversifying its curriculum, in an effort to further integrate its three focus areas.
Since the concentration began in 2015, the number of TDM concentrators has doubled. Eight students declared TDM as their concentration in 2015, while 14 sophomores chose TDM this past fall, according to Sylvaine Guyot, interim chair of the TDM concentration and professor of Romance Languages and Literatures.
“It does not happen so often to be in this moment of growth and development in a program. Even though we are not a department yet, it is very exciting and promising,” Guyot said.
The expanding TDM committee is in the process of conducting two searches for new faculty members, one in playwriting and the other as an artistic director. Guyot also hinted that a “fourth dimension” of TDM may be on the horizon.
“There is going to be a new position in the music department of somebody who will be teaching courses for TDM. It’s a position in composition,” she said.
As TDM has grown, so has the diversity in its curriculum. Guyot said the performing arts of today are much more of a “fluid continuum” than they used to be.
“One of our goals and a thing that we want to transmit to our students is the mutually constructive relationships between the form, vocabulary, history, and method of three areas of dance, theater, and media,” she said.
Guyot said that the TDM concentration is at the crossroads of many disciplines and offers a balance between practice, theory, and history. TDM faculty come from the American Repertory Theater, Harvard academic departments, and from the practice.
“It was really the idea since the beginning to develop this integrated model of a performing arts and to have this T shaped program. It is the T of TDM,” Guyot said. “Both the integration of all arts and at the same time depth and precision in each art.”
The flexibility of the TDM curriculum, Guyot said, allows students some choice in choosing between an integrated course of study and a more narrow area of specialization. However, Guyot added that students will not leave TDM without an appreciation of the integrated nature of the performing arts.
“Even though you want to become a specialist of just theater, you will be aware that you cannot conceive of theater independently from dance, media, and music,” Guyot said.
Looking ahead, TDM is continuing to move towards the “practical continuum between disciplines.” In designing classes for next year, the TDM faculty are looking to mostly add courses that showcase an interdisciplinary or integrative element.
“There has been a necessity for us as faculty and practitioners to collaborate among ourselves,” Guyot said. “We’re thinking of developing co-taught courses with one faculty in theater and one faculty in media, for instance.”
One such course that bridges theater and media will be co-taught by English professor David Levine and by VES professor Karthik Pandian, who are currently planning the details of the class.
—Staff writer Annie C. Doris can be reached at email@example.com.
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