Theatre Arts teaches vital skills

By Erika Flores |Staff Writer|

The Performing Arts Building is home to the Theatre Arts Department where every year students attain skills that can be used universally.

With emphasis in acting, design, technical, drama education, dance and musical theater, the department offers various classes that help instill values that students can practice in the future.

TJ Sloan, a fourth-year theatre arts major with an emphasis in acting, plans to pursue a career as a professional actor.

According to the Theatre Arts Department’s mission statement found online, “The program is designed to prepare students for careers in a variety of fields, including the entertainment industry, education, and business.”

When asked what he liked most about being a part of the department, Sloan said, “What I like the most about acting is that it prepares you for life in general just like other fields do such as interpersonal communications to prepare us for jobs and to also learn to read people better.”

“I feel that this department prepares you as a well-rounded person in your communication skills, tech skills and because of that scene shop experience gained here I am now able to say that if something broke in my house, I would be able to fix it,” added Sloan.

Melissa Ruiz, a fourth year double major in psychology and human development, is also pursuing a minor in dance.

She is currently a dance teacher for children at Project Life Impact in San Bernardino. Ruiz seeks to help children express themselves through dance.

“Seeing the excitement and joy of being in my class has made me realize that I need to continue doing what I love because others are also finding that same kind of love,” stated Ruiz.

Ruiz and Sloan are actively involved in practicing their skills on campus.

Sloan has participated in numerous plays on campus like “The Three Musketeers,” “The Balcony,” “As You Like it,” “Hairspray,” “Trojan Women” and “Romeo and Juliet.”

“The skills that I have learned through taking dance classes at CSUSB have helped me gain proper knowledge on how to teach others. It has benefited me because I have experienced working with people of all ages,” stated Ruiz.  “Taking classes here has also given me the opportunity to become a part of the University Dance Company.”

Ruiz has been involved with the University Dance Company (UDC) on campus and continues practicing her love of dance.

“As Vice President for the upcoming year, I know that these dance classes will help me accommodate the various amounts of students who also participate. I am more aware of the needs of others, therefore, I will be able to pass my experiences on to others,” added Ruiz.

This department doesn’t just provide a stable foundation of knowledge in its fields, but also makes an effort to provide students with an opportunity to give back through the different collaborations with community organizations and local school districts.

By getting involved with such after-school programs, theatre arts majors strive to engage and promote the arts to Inland Empire youth.

With scholarships available for their students, the theatre arts department cares for their success.

They understand the stress of working, being a full-time student and having rehearsals too. This scholarship is their way of helping out aspiring students.

“My goal is to be a professional working actor within the entertainment field, or even with directing or lighting and this department really gets you ready for that field….The staff has helped point me in the right direction and helped me build my self-confidence. Since I started my confidence has soared,” said Sloan.

“Once On This Island” based on “My Love, My Love” by Rosa Guy is a production that will be playing from June 5-14 in the Performing Arts Building.

This production is one of the acting opportunities students get each quarter to gain experience.

“The performing arts department has helped me find my passion by providing various opportunities to participate in dance activities,” stated Ruiz.

For more information, contact the Theatre Arts Department at (909) 537-5876.


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