Title

Review Status for B.F.A Acting and Musical Theatre Programs

Review Process and Criteria: B.F.A. Acting / Musical Theatre Majors
 
The Review Process
The performance area's Review process is a comprehensive review that provides specific feedback for instructional purposes to encourage growth and artistic progress based on clearly expressed criteria for the B.F.A. programs. Reviews allow area faculty to see the work of every student each semester. Here we can provide instruction on areas of growth that are positive, as well as identify areas that need attention.
NOTE: Students in the musical theatre program have additional review criteria in the areas of music and dance that can be found here and at the end of this document.
 
Scene Review
During Review week each semester, typically the second-to-last week of classes, scenes are presented for evaluation by the performance faculty. These scenes (not to exceed five minutes in length) are developed in scene study class, with partners and material assigned by the scene study teacher, with the students' individual training goals in mind. In the first semester review, "open scenes" are used, which are provided by the teacher. Thereafter, scenes are most commonly drawn from contemporary or modern realist plays involving age-appropriate characters.
 
Scene Review Schedule
Instead of regular morning studio classes during review week, an 8:00 a.m. warmup takes place each morning. All first-year students attend warm up on each day, whether presenting or not. For sophomores, only those students whose scenes are being presented attend warmup. For both classes, scenes begin promptly at 8:30 a.m. All first year and sophomore students are expected to attend all the presentation days regardless of whether they perform on that day. The faculty observe the work in a laboratory atmosphere, and the scenes are video recorded for evaluation purposes. Special guests are welcome at review only by invitations of the chair and/or area coordinators. Non-majors, parents and/or guardians will not be granted permission to attend review.
 
Comprehensive Review Feedback
After viewing the scenes, the faculty meets to discuss student progress and to share feedback. The following week, in place of one scene study class, each student meets individually with their scene study teacher, receiving a written report providing specific feedback on strengths and areas for growth, identifying areas that need attention. Please also see the Review Action Steps for B.F.A Acting and Musical Theatre Programs 
 
Review Criteria
During the student’s first four semesters in the program, progress will be assessed in terms of criteria for the student’s program level participation and the acting competencies for their year/level. Evaluation of progress is based on all facets of the student’s work: classwork, review presentations, productions, and overall professionalism. In the first year of the program, while a reasonable level of artistic and technical growth is expected, particular attention will be paid to the level of professionalism with which the student addresses their work.
Criteria for Evaluating Program Level Participation:
1.  Individual artistic progress;
2.  Contribution as an ensemble member to the artistic progress of their his/her classmates;
3.  Compatibility with the goals and methods of the training; and
4.  Potential for meeting the rigorous demands of a performance career.
Criteria for First Year Acting Competencies:
The general goals of the first year of acting training are to introduce students to the potential of their voices and bodies as expressive tools and to develop the ability to engage their imagination and intellect in both scripted and improvised work. 
By the end of the first year, performance students should have made progress toward:
•         making believable and logical choices regarding actions, objectives, and obstacles; 
•         achieving unselfconscious concentration on the dramatic situation and their partner; 
•         moving without distracting personal tensions or mannerisms; and 
•         using their voice in a healthy way, with an initial awareness of effective breath support and appropriate speech choices.
Criteria for Second Year Acting Competencies:
The general goals of the second year of acting training are to develop specific characterization skills, and to deepen acting, voice, speech, movement, and analytical skills. By the end of the second year, performance students should be able to:
•         play actions and objectives that are believable, logical and emotionally compelling; 
•         respond to their acting partner with immediacy, flexibility and passion; 
•         convey the text effectively according to its logic, conventions and structure; 
•         speak with vocal freedom and resonance supported by breath, and speak text with clarity and precision appropriate to space and material; and
•         use movement skills to create vivid physical characterizations not limited by personal habits and patterns.
Additional Review Criteria for Acting and Musical Theatre Students
Review for all performance students (acting and musical theatre) includes auditioning for each semester’s productions, participating in callbacks, and performing as cast. See Casting Policy.
At the end of the fourth semester review, all continuing performance students sign the “Showcase Agreement” confirming their understanding of the expectations of professionalism that extend through semesters five through eight. If a student’s level of professionalism or achievement in the program fails to meet the criteria and standards set by the faculty, an acting or musical theatre major may receive a Notice of Concern at any point in their career in the department. Additional steps (e.g. removal from casting for a semester, removal of participation in Showcase, etc.) may be implemented to uphold the standards of the department and to serve a pedagogical purpose, such as providing the student a chance to regain their footing in the training process (or in academic courses).
To maintain good standing throughout their time at Ithaca College, BFA performance majors are expected to attend responsibly to their work and adhere to department policies, observing such practices as:
•         Maintaining passing grades in all required coursework in the department.
•         Adherence to the mandatory audition, callback and “perform as cast” policies.
•         Timely submission of faculty-signed Request to Participate forms BEFORE accepting a role in an outside production (please see Extra-Departmental Productions for more information and to access the form).
•         Responsible and contributory work in a cast or on a crew.
•         For musical theatre students, effective completions of their singing reviews and vocal juries. (see below)
•         Avoidance of any behavior that would sacrifice their good standing in the School of Music, Theatre, and Dance or at Ithaca College.
Additional Competencies for B.F.A. Musical Theatre Students:
Musical Theatre students have additional competencies and criteria related to music and dance, and must be able to:
•         demonstrate healthy vocal technique, increased range, competency in music theory, keyboarding, and aural skills.
•         demonstrate the ability to perform a variety of musical styles and a synthesis of acting, singing, and movement/dance skills.
•         able to apply fundamental dance/movement technique (rooted in ballet, modern, jazz and tap) and the principles of biomechanics to performance.
•         demonstrate knowledge of dance vocabulary and dance in historical contexts in a variety of movement/dance styles.
•         demonstrate the ability to organize and manage their time, communicate and collaborate with others, act with commitment, maturity and self-discipline, and reflect other attitudes and values that are essential to professionalism in theatre.
•         demonstrate commitment, maturity, motivation and self-discipline consistent with the demands of the professional theatre.
•         maintain a repertoire of songs including professional audition songbook.
•         develop the skills needed for participating in professional dance classes, auditions, and rehearsals including appropriate etiquette and behavior.
For musical theatre students, additional information about progress in music, voice, and dance classes are considered as part of the review process, including singing reviews in the Center for Theatre and Dance and vocal juries in the Center for Music.
 
Singing Reviews:
Sophomore B.F.A. musical theatre majors are required to participate in a singing review near the end of the fall semester prior to acting review. First year and sophomore B.F.A. musical theatre majors are required to participate in a singing review near the end of the spring semester prior to acting review.
 
Vocal Juries:
In addition to singing reviews in the Center for Theatre and Dance, all first year and sophomore musical theatre majors are required to do vocal juries in the Center for Music in the second, third, and fourth semesters. Students should follow Center for Music guidelines for vocal juries. Musical theatre majors must pass their vocal jury to pass their private voice class and move on to the next year of musical theatre training. 
NOTE: Musical theatre majors continue to have vocal juries in the Center for Music during their junior and senior years as part of their private voice class requirements.
 
Singing Review Preparation and Procedures
Students should prepare two pieces that contrast in time period and style. These pieces should be chosen from the students' vocal jury repertoire and approved by each student's voice teacher.  Both selections together should equal no more than three minutes of music.
Students should prepare their singing review repertoire with their voice teachers and in sessions with the Center for Theatre and Dance vocal coach. The Center for Theatre and Dance vocal coach may make repertoire suggestions for students, but voice teachers have the final word in all selections for singing reviews and vocal juries.
Singing reviews are open to faculty, staff, and students of the Center for Theatre and Dance and Center for Music. Singing review should be thought of as an opportunity for students to share their work. The faculty and other students observe the work in a laboratory atmosphere, and the scenes are video recorded for evaluation purposes. Special guests are welcome at review only by invitation of the chair and/or the area coordinators. Students not majoring in BFA acting, musical theatre, or music; as well as parents and/or guardians, will not be granted permission to attend review.
Performance area faculty will share their singing review feedback with the voice teachers of each participating student. Voice teachers will then discuss this feedback with students during their lesson time.
Areas of Assessment for Musical Theatre Singing Reviews  
Body Integration
•         Mannerisms and habitual tension patterns
•         Head, neck, shoulder (release/tension issues)
•         Breath and body work (release/tension issues)
•         Alignment issues (head, neck, shoulders, spine, pelvis, knee, ankle)
Vocal Integration
•         Working with the breath in support of the voice
•         Tension (jaw, tongue, face, etc.)
•         Sound/tone
•         Diction
•         Commitment to, investment in, and engagement with the material
•         Expressive connection with the material and self
•         Stage presence
•         Level of confidence
•         Ease 
Expressivity
•         Commitment to, investment in, and engagement with the material
•         Expressive connection with the material and self
•         Stage presence
•         Level of confidence
•         Ease 
revised 7/27/2022
 
Review Action Steps: B.F.A. Acting/Musical Theatre Programs
 
Students in their first and second year of training present scene or monologue work, prepared in studio classes, for faculty review and feedback at the end of each semester. Students receive Review reports containing feedback about their progress toward fulfilling program and acting competencies for their year/level and individual comments from faculty about their performance work, class work, and professionalism. It is expected that each student will incorporate this feedback in the preparation and performance of subsequent class and scene work. The area faculty will provide support and help identify resources for all students throughout the review process.
Typically, students make significant observable progress throughout their experience in the program. In some cases, individual progress does not yet meet the Review Competencies for the first and/or second year, or other expressed expectations of the program. Please see Review Process and Criteria: BFA Acting/Musical Theatre Majors
Below please find descriptions of actions that may be taken in response to Review evaluation of student class and performance work:
 
Progressing: Continuation in the BFA program 
The student is making satisfactory or better progress, meeting or exceeding the criteria for competencies for their area and program. They are engaged, collaborative, productive, and able to demonstrate their developing skills in all aspects of their work. The student is expected to focus particular attention on any identified areas for improvement in their preparation and/or performance and make observable progress to proceed on schedule.
 
Notice of Concern: Continuation in the BFA program 
The student is not yet making satisfactory progress in meeting one or more of the area or program competencies. Persistent and/or significant problems may exist in academic and/or performance areas which may or may not include: a low grade point average in major; demonstrated unwillingness or inability to contribute to the program by failing to fulfill participation criteria for that program.  A Notice of Concern will be issued, outlining areas for improvement. 
Students who receive a Notice of Concern for the first time should make a detailed plan for improvement based on the written feedback. The identified areas of concern will be considered at all subsequent reviews. If the student’s previously noted areas for improvement have been strengthened, a recommendation will be made by the faculty for the student to proceed in the program. 
In the circumstance the student has not made progress, a second Notice of Concern may be issued. Advice may include a recommendation to begin concurrent study in another area (e.g. selected courses required by an alternate degree program). 
If a student receives a Notice of Concern for more than one semester, the student is encouraged to consider alternate majors at Ithaca College and must meet with their academic advisor, the degree coordinator, and/or the chair of the Theatre and Dance Performance department to develop a plan for changing majors if the need arises.
Students who receive a Notice of Concern may still apply for permission from the faculty and department chair to participate in extra-departmental productions but should understand that it is unlikely that permission will be granted. It is especially important that the student’s priority be their class work.
 
Not Progressing: Discontinuation from the BFA Program
In cases, the student may be discontinued from the major after receiving one or more Notices of Concern, and persistently unable to meet one or more of the area or program competencies. Persistent and/or significant problems may exist in academic and/or performance areas which may or may not include: a low grade point average in major; demonstrated unwillingness or inability to contribute to the program by failing to fulfill participation criteria for that program. A change of major is therefore required.
Students discontinued from the acting and musical theatre majors may not audition for readmission into those programs.
 
Self-Discontinuation from the BFA Program
Students have the option to self-discontinue and change their major rather than have the departmental action move forward. A student who chooses to self-discontinue from their B.F.A. degree should inform their degree coordinator in writing. Should any student wish to reenter the B.F.A. program, they must re-audition/interview.
 
Appeal Process:
Students who are discontinued from a major may appeal the decision if extenuating circumstances exist that area faculty were unaware of at the time of the Review. The appeal must be sent electronically to their degree coordinator and the department chair within two days of receipt of their discontinuation letter. The appeal must be typed, double-spaced, and may not exceed two pages.  Supporting documents detailing the extenuating circumstances may accompany the appeal letter. The appeal will be considered by the area faculty and the chair, whose decision shall be final. 
 
Change of Major outside of BFA Acting or Musical Theatre Programs
A student may choose to change their major outside of the review process at any time and should inform their advisor and/or the degree coordinator of their program via email. Some new majors have specific admission requirements, and these must be followed prior to approval of the change of major. Details can be found online in student forms under Change of Major/Concentration.
 
IMPORTANT NOTE: For competency-based concerns and issues regarding professionalism, in most cases, students will not be discontinued from the major without receiving a Notice of Concern.  For egregious behavior or unprofessionalism, in accordance with the Student Conduct Code, students may be discontinued from the major at any time.