Mission & Educational Vision

Mission & Educational Vision Statements

Defined by a dynamic blend of theory and practice, the UCLA Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance is a premier program led by a renowned faculty of scholars, activists, curators, filmmakers, and choreographers dedicated to critical cross-cultural analysis and art-making.

WACD is the place to innovate choreography, produce digital media, curate exhibitions, develop as an arts activist, and gain scholarly expertise in culture and the arts.

With an emphasis on world arts, the department decenters Eurocentric perspectives by recognizing the value of visual arts and performance as modes of inquiry and ways of knowing, globally.

We draw upon multiple disciplines and artistic approaches while encouraging students to position their work within broad social contexts.

Our courses integrate theory, method, and practice and are grounded in diverse cultural artistic expressions. Topics include art as moral action, body politics, theories of performance, heritage and globalization studies, choreography, and corporeality/embodiment.

Guided by an interdisciplinary faculty of artists, dance scholars and ethnographers, the academic programs in World Arts and Cultures/Dance are organized around three fundamental missions:

  • The formulation of critical and intercultural insights into the nature of human creativity
  • The creation and interdisciplinary study of dance and other body-based modes of performance
  • Mutually beneficial engagement with the diverse cultural and artistic communities of Los Angeles

Educational Vision Statement

While operating with considerable independence, our degree streams are unified by our common concern for aesthetic production, corporeality and performance, the dynamics of "tradition," and "culture-building" in contemporary societies. We forge connections between critical theory and artistic practice, and we attend to the changing social roles and responsibilities of artists and scholars of the arts in the United States and worldwide. Undergraduates and graduates have excelled in fields including technology and the arts, videography, documentary, public service, education, theatrical/event production, performing arts, urban planning, law, environmental activism, public health and medicine. They have made careers as independent artists, in community non-profits and activist groups, government arts agencies, museums, K-12 schools, and arts foundations. Potential careers for Culture and Performance M.A./Ph.D. and Choreographic Inquiry M.F.A. graduates also include positions in research universities and colleges, and M.F.A. graduates are active as choreographers/performers in their own companies and/or with other professional organizations.

Working within this acutely interdisciplinary environment, the department's vision is to blend explorations in the library, the field, and the studio, to find unity through a shared engagement with problems of cultural and aesthetic diversity. All areas of our department promote interdisciplinary exploration and students are encouraged to combine rigorous scholarship, creative practice, and experiential learning.