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Department of Theatre & Dance

From directing, choreographing, acting and dancing to designing and technical work to arts management - theatre and dance are highly collaborative art forms at SUNY Potsdam.

Students and professionals engage in creative problem solving requiring the setting and meeting of long-term goals and the analysis and understanding of movement, dramatic literature, and arts administration skills.

Faculty and students work closely in support of our active programs which includes productions and events that are directed, choreographed, and managed by students, faculty members, and guest artists. These include ten-minute play festivals, faculty dance concerts, full-length plays, student choreographers' concerts and TEDx SUNY Potsdam.

*Accreditation: The SUNY Potsdam Department of Theatre and Dance is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Theatre for the B.A. in Theatre and the B.A. in Arts Management

Crafting a Horror Show

Perfectly in sync with the Halloween season, the Department of Theatre and Dance just completed five performances of “Night of the Living Dead.” Leading up to the show, students and faculty were busy working behind-the-scenes as they designed the set, and learned the nuances of applying stage makeup, before taking the stage in the Black Box Theater.

Launch Gallery

Creative Arts Camp Leader

Aaliyah Cabellero-Cortez '23, a senior majoring in theatre at SUNY Potsdam, discusses her leadership role at the Creative Arts Camp, as she works with drama students to create and memorize scripts, before performing for a live audience in the Black Box Theater.

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Small Steps

Taylor Post ’22 has been dancing her entire life. Guided by her grandmother’s passion for dance, she continued to refine her dance and choreographic techniques as a student at SUNY Potsdam, while working closely with supportive faculty in the Department of Theatre & Dance. After receiving her degree in May, she returned to her hometown of Hopewell, N.Y., where she is helping to run the family business,  a dance studio her grandmother opened more than half a century ago.

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Healing Through Dance

Intertwining her academic interests in dance and psychology, Maribel Flores ’20 graduated from SUNY Potsdam with a singular vision for her future—to help people dealing with trauma through dance movement therapy. She’s now pursuing a master’s degree in dance movement therapy at the Pratt Institute in New York City, and gaining valuable real-world experience working with dementia patients.

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Arts Management in the Real World

Business savvy students pursuing a degree in arts management are gaining valuable hands-on experience this semester at organizations around the North Country—impactful capstone internships that allow them to take what they’ve learned in the classroom out into the real world. Led by Arts Management Coordinator Joshua Vink, students are completing the internships at organizations like the St. Lawrence Arts Council, Brick & Mortar Music and the Community Performance Box Office.

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Rising on the Wings of Dance

Zoe Walders '16 has refused to let a pandemic quash her creative spark. Dedicated to the art of dance, she brings her talents full circle in a new filmed dance-theatre production presented by her alma mater.

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From a Tiny Studio

Stretching skyward from the tiny studio at the back of her Potsdam home, Rivka Rocchio, an assistant professor of theatre, uses her phone to record yoga techniques for her students. Her routine—like with every other professor and student at SUNY Potsdam—has shifted inward in the wake of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, and the social distancing that followed. Rocchio has responded—using technology to bridge the physical chasm between her and her students.

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Brianna Polite ’21

Now a junior at SUNY Potsdam, Brianna Polite ’21 has continued to develop confidence and leadership skills as a dancer and choreographer in the Department of Theatre and Dance. Once introverted, she’s now taking the lead as the co-captain of Team Envy (the hip-hop club on campus), and as a choreographer for her own dance composition, “Progression,” which was recently staged during the Student Choreographers’ Concert.

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Amiere Bell ’20

During his first three years at SUNY Potsdam, Amiere Bell ’20, a theatre major with minors in dance and speech communication, has grown both academically and artistically. He has choreographed dances, played the lead role in “Wiley and the Hairy Man,” and landed on the President’s List the last two semesters.

Rafael Villa '19

Rafael Villa '19 is a pioneer in several new academic programs on campus. He is the first student to graduate from SUNY Potsdam’s new Arts Management B.A. program (spring 2019) and he is also the first "auto-admit" student to be accepted into the M.S. in Management program—a new master’s program that offers auto admission to Potsdam undergraduate students with a GPA of 3.0 or higher.

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Emma Simon '12

Emma Simon ’12 recently returned to campus as an actor in the Pendragon Theatre’s touring production of “Pride & Prejudice.” She didn’t stop there, staying on for several more days to lead a clowning techniques workshop and speak to students about her work as an actor in New York City.

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Passionate Faculty

Cynthia DuFault’s true love is dance. She has taught dance all over the country and in Mexico and has been trained in everything from modern dance to ballet, building her life around the pedagogy of dance and bringing extensive knowledge to her students since joining the College two years ago.

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Morgan Ose '19

Morgan Ose '19, who is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in dance with a minor in pre-creative arts therapy at SUNY Potsdam, spent the Fall semester of her junior year studying abroad in Dublin, where she landed an internship at CoisCéim Dance Theatre—one of the top modern dance companies in Ireland.

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James W. Dornemann ’99

James W. Dornemann ’99 thinks of himself as a problem solver at heart. As a light board operator for film and television, he is constantly tinkering and must keep up with the latest in technology to make sure that directors can get the shot they are looking for.

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Fatima Simmons '16

Since graduating from SUNY Potsdam two years ago, Fatima Simmons'16 has quickly transitioned into a leadership role as a dance instructor in New York City as well as a dancer for “Pretty BIG Movement” —a plus size dance company founded by Akira Armstrong in 2008.

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