The combination of intensive practical training and academic university theory truly distinguishes Ryerson’s Performance programs. While learning to achieve their professional goals, students gain a well-rounded education in the humanities and liberal arts. They develop valuable skills in problem solving, adaptability, critical thinking, research, and communication. These skills are essential for success in the current arts and cultural industry and they enrich all facets of the student’s life.
The four-year Acting and Dance programs offer an intensive conservatory approach in performance complemented by academics which are a crucial part of the program curriculum. Actors and dancers spend a portion of each day in the studio, and each year brings fresh opportunities to perform in productions of original, innovative and established works. The program trains performers who are distinguished by their capacity to generate original artistic material and their ability to bring a rich mixture of skills into the multi-disciplinary environment. Graduates of the program will be ready for immediate entry into a wide range of performance-related careers and for future professional growth.
The four-year Production program is designed for those who wish to become professionals in the production areas of the performing arts/entertainment industries – design, artisan, technical, production management and arts administration, publicity and promotion, as well as manufacturing and sales. A rigorous balance of academic and production work is integral to all four years. As students progress, they assume positions of increasing responsibility for all facets of the School of Performance dance and theatre productions. This brings them into close working contact with the prominent professional directors, designers and choreographers engaged by the School. As well, Production students network with their acting and dance colleagues in both the School’s shows and common courses and form creative partnerships that can continue beyond the School.
The Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree awarded to our Performance graduates is recognized internationally in the profession and gives the option of further pursuing studies at the graduate (Master’s) level.
Toronto: Centre for Canadian Theatre and Dance
Toronto is one of the major centres of performing arts activity in North America and Ryerson, located in the heart of Toronto, offers students unsurpassed access to shows, performers, and the theatre environment. With more than 125 professional dance and theatre companies, commercial and nonprofit, producing over 10,000 live dance and theatre performances per year, students have plenty of opportunity for theatre-going and interaction with working performers - the key to developing discerning critical skills and to bring training into sharper focus.
The Program of Study
The Performance program challenges students with creative study, critical analysis, and exciting traditional and innovative areas of application for their performance skill development.
In the tradition of all Ryerson programming, the program offers a very strong conservatory perspective to the theoretical exploration of dance or acting. There is a wide variety of practical/studio work, active learning projects, and performance-related assignments. Everyone has the opportunity to perform under the guidance of working professionals who are leaders in the artistic community.
The Core Years - Acting
The Acting Program provides a multidisciplinary perspective to performing through a varying combination of studies in theatre, film, television, acting techniques, voice and movement training and dance. A number of theatrical productions staged annually at Ryerson bring classroom theory to life.
Experienced directors are invited to stage well-known theatrical works for annual fully produced mainstage presentations, open to the public. Students can also present their own original works in the New Voices Festival. During the summer the students have an opportunity to study ancient Greek theatre in Greece.
The first two years introduce the fundamentals of theatre performance which include courses in Acting, Voice, Movement, Dramaturgy, Anatomy of Movement, Film Studies, Time-lines of Performance History, Canadian Theatre, Music, Elements of Production and Creative Performance Studies. Through these foundation courses, students learn to critically approach their work, to develop entrepreneurial initiative, and to find joy in the creative process.
In the third and fourth years students engage in a Study of the Classics, Clown Project, courses in Commedia dell'Arte and Character Masks. They are also assigned roles in several productions and also produce their own work. The students may further refine their career goals through professional and professionally related electives. Students may choose to focus on Business and Marketing oriented courses such as Entrepreneurship, New Venture Startup and Promotion. Electives are also available in the more traditional theatrical applications of Film Acting, Vocal or Dance Pedagogy, Audition Preparation, Directing, Musical Theatre Dance Repertoire, Dance Styles: Historical Period, Modern Social or Jazz and many other courses.
The Core Years - Dance
Throughout the four years of study, the Dance Program offers intensive professional training with daily dance classes in ballet, jazz, modern and contemporary dance. It is designed to develop versatile dance professionals prepared for immediate entry into the performance industry, arts education, and multi-media entertainment.
Well-known, experienced choreographers are invited to create, stage, and rehearse their works for annual fully produced mainstage presentations, open to the public. There is also an annual choreographic workshop featuring the students’ own original creations.
The first two years introduce the fundamentals of theatre performance including courses in Improvisation, Anatomy of Movement and Lifestyle, Time-lines of Performance History, Performance Arts in Canada, The Rudiments of Music, a Dance History, and the Basics of Theatrical Production and Creative Performance. Through these foundation courses students learn to critically approach their work, to develop an entrepreneurial initiative, and to find joy in the creative process.
In the third and fourth years students may further refine their career goals through professional and professionally related electives. Students may choose to focus on Business and Marketing oriented courses such as Entrepreneurship and New Venture Startup. Electives are also available in the more traditional theatrical applications of Film, Dance Pedagogy, Audition preparation, Acting, Staging the Theatrical Production, Musical Theatre Repertoire, Dance Criticism and many other courses.
The Core Years - Production
The first two general years of the Production program introduce the student to the multi-disciplinary and collaborative nature of production work. In core courses consisting of lectures and labs, students learn the basics of the skills required to mount a show and apply those skills in junior capacities on the School’s shows. Lecture courses include instruction in the management of the process, theatre history and the research skills required for critical thinking.
In the third and fourth years, through a large menu of lecture and lab electives, students concentrate on those areas where their interests are greatest. They take the gained knowledge with the skills learned in their first two years and apply both to their duties in more senior positions on the School’s various dance and theatre productions. Academic courses broaden the understanding of the holistic process required for producing. Students also take business and management electives to broaden their understanding of those issues.
The advanced courses offered by the School of Performance are unique opportunities for special students to work in Stage Design, Directing, Playwriting and Dance, under the guidance of professionals in a complete theatre environment.
Admission to these courses is based on audition and/or portfolio of the applicant’s work and on a special project to be discussed at the interview. It is assumed that applicants are already experienced in these areas. Students are selected on the basis of background and talent, and have individual timetables prepared according to their own needs and wishes. Students may be required to take other School of Performance courses where their knowledge is limited, and may be permitted to take other courses at Ryerson provided they have the prerequisite knowledge.
Graduates in Demand
Students graduate with an entrepreneurial spirit and a wealth of versatile career skills. Their performance skills ensure that they are well-equipped to enter the Performing Arts and entertainment sector which includes Theatre, Dance Companies, Musicals, Videos, Cruise Lines, Commercials, Industrials, Film. Their exposure to the entrepreneurial dimensions of the Performing Arts equips them to function as a freelance artist, or as a member of creative companies.