School/College: Milton and Lillian Peck School of the Arts
- MFA in Performing Arts
- Graduate Faculty
- Master of Fine Arts in Performing Arts: Dance
- Master of Fine Arts in Performing Arts: Film
- Courses - Dance
- Courses - Film
The Milton and Lillian Peck School of the Arts offers the Master of Fine Arts in Performing Arts, an interdisciplinary degree program encompassing graduate studies in film and dance. The curricula in this program include intensive professional training in an individual performance area plus significant interdisciplinary experience in related performance and scholarly fields. All curricula are dedicated to maintaining the most rigorous professional and artistic standards in their disciplines.
The programs currently offered are: film and video production in the Department of Film, Video, Animation and New Genres; and choreography and performance in the Department of Dance.
The curricula offered in the program are designed for serious and talented students who are preparing for careers as professionals in the performing arts or as artist-teachers in advanced training programs. Admission to the programs is highly selective, and all curricula include extensive practical performance experience.
The Helene Zelazo Center for the Performing Arts is the premier performance home for the Peck School of the Arts. It includes the 759-seat Helen Bader Concert Hall, a 3,200 square foot rehearsal room, numerous small ensemble practice rooms, and the Mary L. Nohl Art Galleries.
The School's other facilities include the Fine Arts Center which houses two theatres, a recital hall, and related shop, studio, instructional and practice space, and nearby Mitchell Hall with studio, viewing, and processing facilities for the Department of Film, Video, Animation and New Genres as well as the chamber dance theatre and additional rehearsal, studio, and performance spaces for the departments of Theatre and Dance.
- Bronson, Ferne Caulker, B.A., University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
- Ferro, Simone, M.F.A, University of Iowa
- Parsons, Marcia Ruth, M.A., University of Illinois-Champaign/Urbana
- M.A., Columbia College, Chicago
- Associate Professors
- Vanier, Luc, M.F.A., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
- Wutz, Darci, M.F.A., Smith College
- Assistant Professor
- Gillespie, Maria, M.F.A., University of California-Los Angeles
- Visiting Assistant Professor
- Briggs Winslow, Christina, M.F.A., University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
- Condit, Cecelia, M.F.A., Temple University
- Associate Professors
- Cobb, Portia, M.A., San Francisco State University
- White, Iverson, M.F.A., University of California-Los Angeles
- Yeo, Robert H., M.F.A., School of the Art Institute of Chicago
- Assistant Professors
- Kirshtner, Kelly, Ph.D. University of California-Irvine
- Wetzel, Stephen, M.F.A. University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, M.F.A. University of Illinois-Chicago
Master of Fine Arts in Performing Arts: Dance
Dancing is a lifelong passion for Davalois Fearon, who has performed around the world with the Steven Petronio Company. She is now also a student in the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee's Master of Fine Arts in Performing Arts program—a degree designed for professionals like her. Watch full size on YouTube
The Department of Dance offers graduate study leading to the Master of Fine Arts in Performing ArtsDance. The program offers opportunity to hone technical skills, to explore personal intuition, imagination, and craft both in creating dance works and also in performing them, and to focus on critical areas of dance core studies.
Graduate choreographic projects may be pursued both on and off campus. Students may arrange to set works for schools, churches, galleries, community projects, and local dance companies, and are encouraged to discover new dance environments and resources. Two on-campus dance spaces, the Mainstage Theatre and the Mitchell Hall Studio 264, may be available for selected works during the year.
A block of on-campus and distance learning course work is available during the fall and spring semesters, in addition to the intensive summer graduate course offerings, which make the degree accessible to those whose full-time professional employment schedules require them to study at these non-traditional times.
Applicants who meet Graduate School requirements plus these program requirements may be admitted in good standing:
- submission of a videotape or DVD of past or current performance and/or choreographic work.
- submission of two letters of recommendation.
Applicants lacking in course background may be admitted with deficiencies on the condition that deficiencies be made up; credits earned in making up deficiencies do not count toward the master's degree.
Major Professor as Advisor
The student must have a major professor to advise and supervise studies as specified in Graduate School regulations; the student may not register for any courses without this advisor's prior approval. A student who is not assigned to an advisor at the time of admission should immediately contact the Program Director.
Credits and Courses
Minimum degree requirement in Performing Arts—Dance is 60 credits distributed as follows, of which at least 6 must be in complementary studies.
- Dance Techniques and Somatics (Modern, African, Ballet, Alexander, Pilates, Yoga), 9-15 cr.
- Creating, Staging, and Performing Dance Works, 16-22 cr.
- Theory and Application of Dance, 12-18 cr.
- Electives in Complementary Studies, 6-14 cr.
- Final Project, 4-8 cr.
For those who began the program prior to summer 2008, the minimum degree requirement in Performing ArtsDance is 48 credits, of which at least 6 must be in complementary studies. Students may distribute the required 48 credits of course work as follows:
- Dance Techniques (modern, African, ballet, yoga), 6-14 cr.
- Creating and Performing Dance Works, 12-18 cr.
- Core Dance Studies, 12-18 cr.
- Electives in Complementary Studies, 6-14 cr.
- Final Project, 4-8 cr.
- Total Required: 48 Credits
Each student must undertake a final project of either one or two semesters duration (4-8 cr.). The project must be approved by the major advisor. The project may involve an array of challenging roles and/or production of choreographic work created by the student. These may occur in a variety of approved performance settings which may include on- or off-campus sites. The quality of performance and/or choreography will determine whether the degree is granted. This evaluation is made by the graduate faculty after the presentation of the final project. No comprehensive examination is required.
The student must complete all degree requirements within seven years of initial enrollment.
Master of Fine Arts in Performing Arts: Film
The Department of Film, Video, Animation and New Genres offers a graduate program in media arts practice. The curriculum is designed for serious and talented students who are preparing for careers as artists.
Facilities include a complete production studio, with all tools and services necessary for in-house film, digital video and sound work; photography and imaging labs; a digital studio for Internet projects, physical computing, interactivity and other forms of digital and media arts; and space for installation and performance projects. A special feature of the program is our excellent in-house processing facility for black-and-white reversal 16mm film.
In addition to a series of graduate seminars, students can choose from an array of elective options that include graduate production studios, conceptual studies courses, complementary studies from outside the department, professional practice opportunities in the field and U/G or G electives. Students are expected to originate and produce finished projects on a regular basis, culminating in a thesis presentation.
In order to be considered for admission to the program, an applicant must meet Graduate School requirements and submit original media-related work that demonstrates technical competence and creative promise.
An applicant whose grade point average or quality of work does not meet Graduate School and Department of Film, Video, Animation and New Genres program standards may be considered for admission on probation. Each student is expected to satisfy deficiency requirements within three enrolled semesters. The Graduate School and the Department of Film, Video, Animation and New Genres graduate program monitor the deficiencies. No course credits earned to make up deficiencies may be counted as program credits required for the degree.
Transfer of Credits
With the approval of the Department of Film, Video, Animation and New Genres graduate program and the Graduate School, an applicant from another institution may be permitted to transfer up to 19 credits toward the total of 48 graduate credits required for the MFA degree.
Major Professor as Advisor
Each student chooses a major professor from the Department of Film, Video, Animation and New Genres graduate faculty to advise and supervise studies. In addition to the major professor, each student's committee must contain a minimum of two Department of Film, Video, Animation and New Genres graduate faculty members. Any student electing a minimum of nine credits in either Conceptual or Complementary Studies must include a faculty member from that discipline on the committee as well.
Credits and Courses
The minimum Film-MFA degree requirement is 48 graduate credits, (18 cr required, 30 cr elective). It is recommended that students earn 12 credits each semester through full-time attendance on campus.
Film MFA Required Courses (18 credits)
710/ 712/ 714 Graduate Seminar (9 credits)
The Graduate Seminar provides students with the opportunity to interact and respond to each other's works—in-progress on an ongoing basis. With faculty guidance, students help each other to articulate, refine and write about the ideas and meanings of their present work and to begin preparing for professional practices as artists. As such, the class features visits and presentations by established local, national and international artists, curators and critics working in the areas of film, video and new genres. Visits to museums, galleries, screenings and other events also constitute a significant part of this course.
730 (3 cr), 732 (6 cr) MFA Thesis Project (9 credits)
The graduate thesis is a substantial, year-long capstone project, (or group of smaller projects), worked on with the guidance of the student's major professor.
Film MFA Elective Courses (30 credits)
With assistance and approval from the Director of Graduate Studies and their Graduate Advisor, entering students will design an individualized program of study based on the following elective courses.
720/ 722 Graduate Media Arts Workshop I/Il (maximum of 9 credits)
Classes focus on conceptualization and production of student-initiated media arts projects.
900 Graduate Studio (maximum of 12 credits)
Graduate Studio provides for an ongoing critique of individual studio research in students' chosen medium. Emphasis is on developing and maintaining an interdisciplinary dialogue. Along with studio research, individual and group critiques are required.
Department of Film, Video, Animation and New Genres Electives (maximum of 30 credits)
These are U/G and G classes in film, video & new genres that are regularly offered by the department, including topics such as 16mm film and video production, screenwriting, lighting, cinematography, audio production, animation, installation, performance and physical computing
Conceptual Studies Electives (maximum of 12 credits)
Our Conceptual Studies program combines the study of media history, theory, and criticism with the practice of media production. Conceptual Studies credits can be combined with Complementary Studies credits to a maximum of 21 credits.
Complementary Studies (maximum of 9 credits)
These are UG/G courses offered outside the department that are relevant to a students proposed course of study. If courses inside the Department of Film, Video, Animation and New Genres are closely allied to an area of complementary study, such as Film courses in audio or photography and Music Department courses in electronic composition, they will count toward fulfillment of the Complementary Studies option. Students interested in Complementary Studies are encouraged to discuss their options with the Director of Graduate Studies and their major professor before enrolling in these courses.
700 Professional Practice (maximum of 9 credits)
Professional Practice is an internship or project done in connection with a media-related enterprise to develop specialized skills and practical experience in the field. It may also be carried out with a non-profit agency, using media as a form of community. Enrollment in a Professional Practice course must be endorsed by the student's faculty advisor and approved by the Director of the Graduate Program.
Upon recommendation of the major professor and advisory faculty, the student presents a thesis exhibition program of work executed since admission to the program. The exhibition may be held either during the semester in which the student completes coursework for the degree or during the following semester.
The student must complete all degree requirements within seven years of the initial enrollment.
On completion of graduate studies, international students are eligible to apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT) for an additional year of practical work experience. If you are interested in OPT, please see an Immigration Coordinator at International Student and Scholar Services in the Center for International Education.
Courses - Dance
Courses numbered 300-699 are Undergraduate/Graduate. Courses numbered 700 and above are Graduate only.
- 319 Dance Service-Learning. 1-3 cr. U/G.
- Service-Learning as field work in a community partnership setting under supervision of Dance faculty member. Conc reg in dance course which allows Dance 319 component by cons instr. May be retaken to max of 4 sem or 9 cr. Prereq: jr st; Dance 219(P), & cons instr.
- 403 Intermediate Yoga For Dancers. 2-3 cr. U/G.
- A continuation of Dance 103 stressing the performance and integration of more advanced asanas. May be retaken to a max of 2 sem. Prereq: Dance 103, or grad st in Dance component of MFA prog, or cons instr.
- 497 Study Abroad in Dance: (Subtitled). 1-12 cr. U/G.
- Interdisciplinary and foundational learning in the area of world dance through interactions with and explorations in differing cultures and areas. May be retaken with change in topic to max of 12 cr. Prereq: jr st or cons instr; & acceptance for Study Abroad Prog.
- 701 Dance Composition I. 3 cr. G.
- An investigation of resources for discovering and inventing movement material, and for developing concepts and structures to give this material perceptual, emotional validity. Prereq: grad st in Dance component of MFA prog; conc reg Dance 733(C).
- 702 Dance Composition II. 3 cr. G.
- A continuation of Dance 701. Prereq: grad st; Dance 701(P), conc reg Dance 734(C).
- 711 Theory and Techniques of Ballet: Intermediate. 2 cr. G.
- Technical study of classical ballet. May be repeated twice for cr. Prereq: grad st in Dance component of MFA prog & audition.
- 712 Theory and Techniques of Ballet: Intermediate. 2 cr. G.
- A continuation of Dance 711. May be repeated twice for cr. Prereq: grad st; Dance 711 or audition.
- 717 Theory and Techniques of Contemporary Concert Dance: Intermediate. 2 cr. G.
- An intensive course designed to develop understanding of the major techniques of contemporary concert dance. May be repeated twice for cr. Prereq: grad st in Dance component of MFA prog & audition.
- 718 Theory and Techniques of Contemporary Concert Dance: Intermediate. 2 cr. G.
- A continuation of Dance 717. May be repeated twice for cr. Prereq: grad st; Dance 717 or audition.
- 721 Alexander Technique, Developmental Movement and Dance. 1-3 cr. G.
- A hands-on exploration of the application of the Alexander Technique to advanced dance training through developmental movement. Prereq: grad st in Dance component of MFA prog or cons instr
- 722 Alexander Technique Practicum. 1-3 cr. G.
- Continuation of Dance 721 focusing on a more in-depth study and application of Alexander Technique for advanced dancers. Prereq: grad st in Dance component of MFA prog & Dance 721
- 723 Pilates Technique and Applications. 2 cr. G.
- Use of Pilates method to understand and articulate essential concepts and theories of movement, and refine dance technique. May be retaken once. Prereq: grad st in MFA Dance Program or cons instr.
- 733 Improvisation. 2 cr. G.
- Techniques and structures for improvisation--the development of processes for evolving movement material from an exploration of the dynamics of inter and intra-relationships, and environment. Prereq: grad st in Dance component of MFA prog & conc reg in Dance 701(C).
- 734 Improvisation. 2 cr. G.
- A continuation of Dance 733. Prereq: grad st; Dance 733(P) & conc reg in Dance 702(C).
- 743 Dynamic Analysis of Movement I. 2 cr. G.
- Exploration of personal patterning and discovery of movement sources at the body level. Incorporates material from bartenieff fundamentals, feldenkrais, and sweigard. Prereq: grad st in dance component of mfa prog.
- 744 Dynamic Analysis of Movement II. 2 cr. G.
- A continuation of Dance 743. Advanced body level work, application of bartenieff fundamentals to dance technique. Prereq: grad st & Dance 743(P).
- 751 Laban Movement Analysis. 3 cr. G.
- Theory and movement practice in effort/shape for use both in performance and in choreography. Prereq: grad st in dance component of mfa prog.
- 761 Survey of Dance Literature and Bibliography. 3 cr. G.
- Lecture, research, and discussion of the major English language dance reference works, and of dance research publications. Prereq: grad st in Dance component of MFA prog.
- 762 Dance in Secondary Education and College. 3 cr. G.
- Methods and philosophy of teaching dance in the secondary school. Theory and practice in solving problems arising in practical teaching situations. Observation of dance lessons. Prereq: grad st & admis to MFA prog in Dance.
- 771 History of Renaissance and Baroque Dance. 3 cr. G.
- Lecture, discussion of readings of the periods (in translation). Emphasis also upon performing some of the period dances. Prereq: grad st in dance component of mfa prog.
- 772 American Concert Dance of the Twentieth Century. 3 cr. G.
- Graduate seminar in special topics of American concert dance of the twentieth century. Prereq: grad st in Dance component of MFA prog.
- 775 Valuing and Evaluation of Dance. 3 cr. G.
- Observing and describing dancing and choreography and shaping values. Prereq: grad st.
- 790 Repertoire and Ensemble. 1-3 cr. G.
- Practicum in group performance in dance department productions, touring groups, and performances related to the dance department. Includes original works from classical and contemporary repertoire. May be repeated to max of 12 cr. Prereq: grad st in Dance component of MFA program.
- 799 Independent Study. 1-3 cr. G.
- Individual faculty and student will define the teaching/learning contract for the semester and agree on the credit. Prereq: grad st.
- 801 Choreography I. 3 cr. G.
- Creating fully mounted works; choreography, performance quality, lighting decor, costumes. Prereq: grad st in Dance choreography track of MFA prog; Dance 701(P) & 702(P) or cons instr.
- 802 Choreography II. 3 cr. G.
- Creating fully mounted works of greater length and complexity. Prereq: grad st in Dance Choreography track of MFA prog; Dance 701(P), 702(P), 801(P), or cons instr.
- 861 Research Methodology for Dance. 3 cr. G.
- Lecture, formulation of research proposal, research and write-up of a dance research problem. Prereq: grad st & admis to dance component of mfa prog.
- 871 Applied Anatomy for Dance. 2 or 3 cr. G.
- Study of human bony and neuromuscular structures in theory and movement. Lec only for 2 cr; lec & lab for 3 cr. Prereq: grad st in dance component of MFA prog; Dance 711(P) & 717(P) or cons instr.
- 873 Field History: Contemporary Dance Festivals. 2-4 cr. G.
- Research, reading, attendance and documentation on selected festivals/series events. Pre-study of choreography/performance style, background, influences, artistic themes. Group discussions and evaluations. May be repeated with permission to max of 9 cr. Prereq: grad st in Dance component of MFA prog.
- 880 Developing Performance Quality. 1-3 cr. G.
- Studies in dynamics of specific choreography. Cr determined prior to regis. May be repeated for up to 6 cr. Prereq: grad st in MFA performance component of dance prog; Dance 711 & 717 or cons instr.
- 888 Candidate for Degree. 0 cr. G.
- Available for graduate students who must meet minimum credit load requirement. Fee for 1 cr will be assessed. Prereq: grad st.
- 889 Special Workshops: (Subtitled). 1-3 cr. G.
- Special short intensive workshops of 1-4 weeks during inter-terms or summer sessions presented by guest artists. May be retaken to 9 cr max. Prereq: grad st in MFA component of dance prog or cons instr.
- 990 Dance Final Thesis/Project. 2-4 cr. G.
- Final demonstration of craft and artistry mastered in program, when completion approved by project committee. May be repeated to max of 8 cr. Prereq: grad st; cons dept chair.
Courses - Film
Courses numbered 300-699 are Undergraduate/Graduate. Courses numbered 700 and above are Graduate only.
- 420 Intermediate Media Arts Module: (Subtitled). 3 cr. U/G.
- Intermediate level course in specialized production skills in film, video, audio or new genres. May be retaken with change in topic to max of 12 cr. Prereq: admis to upper level course per portfolio review; jr st or cons instr. In case of over-enrollment, admission based on gpa in major.
- 450 Advanced Internship/Professional Practice. 1-6 cr. U/G.
- This project-oriented course supports student engagement in professional internships, production of a media project for a non-profit organization or curating a media arts event/series. May be retaken to max of 9 cr. Prereq: admis to upper-level Film classes per portfolio review, cons instr.
- 455 Integrated Film/Video Exploration. 6 cr. U/G.
- A study of the relationship between film/video production and film/video analysis, team taught by an artist and a critic. Jointly offered with ArtHist/English/JMC 310. Prereq: jr st. Film majors: portfolio review and/or cons instr; non-film majors: cons instr.
- 456 Digital Imaging in Photography. 3 cr. U/G.
- Exploration of critical concepts through digital image processing and manipulation,including color correction, retouching,compositing,scanning and output. Jointly offered with & counts as repeat of Art 456(455). Prereq: jr st; grade of B- or better in Film 350(P) & 352(P) or Art 350(P) & 352(252)(P); or grad st; or cons instr.
- 459 Photography Workshop: (Subtitled). 1-3 cr. U/G.
- A special topic course in photography. Jointly offered with & counts as repeat of Art 459. Retakable with change in topic to 6 cr max. Prereq: jr st; admis to Film prog or Art & Design prog or Inter-Arts/IAT prog: or grad st; or cons instr. Additional prerequisites may be announced in the Schedule of Classes each time course is offered.
- 460 Advanced Media Arts Module: (Subtitled). 3 cr. U/G.
- Advanced-level course in specialized production skills in film, video, audio or new genres. May be retaken with change of topic to max of 9 cr. Prereq: admis to upper level course per portfolio review; jr st or cons instr. In case of over-enrollment, admission based on gpa in major.
- 470 Advanced Media Arts Workshop: (Subtitled). 1-6 cr. U/G.
- Individual student projects exploring portable and studio media arts production techniques. Students will submit production proposals for faculty approval. Retakable with change of topic to 6 cr max. Prereq: Film 389(P); or grad st; or cons instr.
- 552 Studio Practice and Research in Photography. 3 cr. U/G.
- Research and development of a body of photographic work. Jointly offered with & counts as a repeat of Art 552. Prereq: jr st; grade of B- or better in Film 454(P), 456(P) & 457(353)(P) or Art 454(P), 456(455)(P) & 457(353)(P); or grad st; or cons instr.
- 700 Professional Practice: Production. 3 cr. G.
- Professional production internship with area film-related enterprise to develop specialized technical skills or practical experience in film exhibition. May be repeated to max of 9 cr. Prereq: grad st & cons advising faculty member.
- 710 Graduate Film Studio/Seminar I. 3 cr. G.
- Each student to pursue a film production project to completion. Lectures and readings in seminar format to address issues facing independent film production and distribution. Prereq: grad st.
- 712 Graduate Film Studio/Seminar II. 3 cr. G.
- Faculty advised film production studio course. Instruction in advanced production skills and directed reading relevant to the nature of proposed film projects. Prereq: grad st.
- 714 Graduate Film Studio/Seminar III. 3 cr. G.
- Faculty advised film production studio course to introduce and familiarize students with specific crew member responsibilities of collaborative filmmaking. Prereq: grad st.
- 720 Graduate Media Arts Workshop I. 1-6 cr. G.
- Conceptualization and production of student-initiated media arts projects. Retakable to 9 cr max. Prereq: grad st film
- 722 Graduate Media Arts Workshop II. 1-6 cr. G.
- Conceptualization and production of student-initiated media arts projects. For 2nd-year MFA students. Retakable to 9 cr max. Prereq: grad st; Film 720(P) or cons inst.
- 730 Advanced Research in Film I. 3 cr. G.
- Faculty advised, pre-production research leading to the completion of a shooting script and production schedule for the thesis film project. Prereq: grad st; two of the following: Film 710, 712 & 714.
- 732 Advanced Research in Film II. 3-6 cr. G.
- Independent study with selected faculty member adviser for the production and post-production phase of the thesis film project. May be retaken to max of 6 cr. Prereq: grad st; Film 710(P), 712(P), 714(P), 730(P).
- 760 Film/Video Module: Post-Production Sound. 3 cr. G.
- Course in sound post-production for the media arts. Prereq: grad st; cons instr.
- 799 Independent Graduate Study: 1-6 cr. G.
- Variable content. Supervised independent study, production and non-production for the grad student in film/video. May be repeated to max of 9 cr. Prereq: grad st; cons instr.
- 900 Graduate Studio. 3 cr. G.
- Ongoing critique of individual studio research in students' chosen medium(s). Emphasis on developing and maintaining interdisciplinary dialogue. Studio research, individual and group critiques required. Retakable to 9 cr max. Prereq: grad st