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Introducing the Department of Performing Arts and Technology

Music and dance faculty have unified in a new academic department and launched a new B.S. degree in music technology.

An empty stage behind a red curtain

University College and the Division of Academic and Student Affairs are pleased to announce the formation of the Department of Performing Arts and Technology. The new department merges dance faculty from the Department of Health and Exercise Studies and the Dance Program with the faculty from the Department of Music into a single department. 

Vice Chancellor and Dean Doneka Scott charged the faculty in each department to unite into a singular department last year, and after much research, assessment, conversations and planning, the merger was finalized last month.

“This model is prevalent in similar-sized institutions throughout the country and will allow for greater cohesion and an even broader range of interdisciplinary courses in the arts,” Scott said. “Another benefit is that our students will be able to more easily identify the dance programs at NC State by housing them in a single location. I am grateful to our outstanding faculty for all of their hard work and collaboration, and I’m excited to see this vision become a reality.”

A Major Announcement

The new department also brings about the creation of a new academic major and B.S. degree in music technology. This new interdisciplinary degree program, which partners with the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, will foster and support music-based entrepreneurial initiatives at the intersection of technological innovation and creative expression by building a foundation of theoretical and practical skills in music, electrical or computer engineering, industrial design and arts entrepreneurship. 

“We are pleased to launch our first undergraduate degree program in music technology and look to expand the breadth of our curricular offerings in dance and somatics,” said Daniel Monek, music professor and head of the new department. “This new and larger department will build on the natural synergies between our two disciplines and the talents of our faculty who are all leaders in their respective fields. It allows us to create new departmental structures and creative curricular offerings that will open pathways for greater engagement with students and increased collaboration with one another.”

There is an increasing space for careers combining music and technology, which will continue to grow in number and variety as technology continues to revolutionize the multi-faceted music industry. Students will integrate a broad range of musical styles, performance practices and creative projects with the design, development and implementation of advanced music technologies. With its historic strengths in engineering, technology and entrepreneurship, NC State is well-positioned to lead the nation in producing highly skilled music technology graduates.

In addition to the new major, Performing Arts and Technology plans to expand the dance minor offerings into two separate minors in dance studies as well as dance performance and choreography. This change allows NC State students the opportunity to dive deeper into their passion for dance and innovate with faculty and peers. 

“Bringing all of dance together provides a home for curricular and co-curricular dance opportunities,” said Beth Wright Fath, teaching professor of dance and associate department head. “The new department allows for more unique course offerings for students.”

Learn more about the Department of Performing Arts and Technology on its website, and follow along on the department’s social media (@ncstateartstech) for more exciting updates this spring. More information about the bachelor of science in music technology degree will be available this summer, and the program will launch in fall 2023.

History of the NC State’s Music and Dance Programs

The Department of Music at NC State was established in 1924, though its origins can be traced to the first drum and bugle corps, formed in 1898 to perform for the university’s ROTC military parades. Percy W. Price – the namesake of Price Music Center – arrived at NC State in 1916 to teach in the textile school, and quickly took on duties with the college band. When the department was created in 1924, he was named as the first director.

The Dance Program was founded in 1986, organizationally housed with the other arts units under the University Student Center, part of the (then) Division of Student Affairs. At that time, a few beginning level technique classes were offered by the Department of Physical Education (now Department of Health and Exercise Studies). The Dance Program has been the home of NC State’s two academic dance companies: the State Dance Company (formerly the NCSU Dance Company), founded in 1987 and focused on modern dance; and Panoramic Dance Project, a company that explores a range of dance styles from the African diaspora.

As dance offerings were expanded in the Department of Health and Exercise Studies, a dance minor was created in 2016. This 16-credit hour minor was designed for students who wanted to delve deeper into dance studies in an intellectual, creative and practical capacity to propel them forward in career, service and artistry.