Performing Arts


Right brain or left brain? Nonsense.  Participating in the performing arts uses both sides of the brain. It’s creative and fluid, and involves a high degree of technical ability and concentration. It’s both a craft and a science.

At RIT, you’ll have the opportunity to study and perform in eight ensembles that offer academic credit: orchestra, chamber 
orchestra, concert band, two jazz bands, RIT Singers, World Music Ensemble, African Percussion Ensemble and the NTID dance program. In addition, you can join extracurricular student clubs including RIT Players, Pep Band, Drum Line, Gospel Ensemble, Tech Crew and the fan-favorite a cappella groups: Eight Beat Measure, Brick City Singers, Encore, Surround Sound, Vocal Accent and Proof of Purchase. 

There are also 40 music and theater course offerings in the College of Liberal Arts varying from Music Theory to Modern European Theater to an entire course on Beethoven, while NTID Performing Arts offers courses in acting, dance, stage craft and technical theater.

Whether you want to get involved in a performance group or just simply enjoy them as a spectator, RIT’s performing arts have something to offer everyone. 



Concert Band

The RIT Concert band is a large instrumental ensemble that performs a wide range of literature for winds and percussion, including traditional marches, wind ensemble pieces, musical medleys, and orchestral transcriptions.  The group performs at least one formal concert per semester, as well as several special events throughout the academic year.

Academic credit is granted for successful participation in Concert Band

For more information: https://www.rit.edu/cla/finearts/music/rit-concert-band  

Jazz Ensemble

The RIT Jazz Ensembles provide the opportunity for students to become familiar with and perform a variety of musical styles associated with American Jazz.  These include Swing, Blues, Fusion, Dixieland, Samba, Bossa-Nova, Ballads, and Ragtime.  Over the course of the academic year, these groups will prepare and perform an assortment of compositions for both traditional big bands, as well as small groups. 

Academic credit is granted for successful participation in Jazz Ensemble

For more information: http://www.rit.edu/cla/finearts/music/rit-jazz-ensemble


The RIT Orchestra performs three major concerts per year of standard orchestra repertoire.  In addition, students from the orchestra have the opportunity to play in a variety of chamber ensembles.  Participation is by audition. 

Academic credit is granted for successful participation in Orchestra

For more information: https://www.rit.edu/cla/ritorch/

African Percussion & Dance Ensemble

A multi-cultural ensemble of instrumentalists, singers, and dancers organized to explore and perform a variety of music and dance from cultures around the world. The cultures to be studied will be dependent on enrollment. Participants native to the represented cultures will be enlisted to assist in the teaching of basic performance practices and concepts. Enrollment is open to all students, faculty, and staff, who are competent instrumentalists, singers and/or dancers from both Western and non-Western traditions. Auditions will be held to assess proper placement.

Academic credit is granted for successful participation in African Percussion & Dance Ensemble

For more information: http://www.rit.edu/cla/finearts/music/world-music-ensemble

Flute Ensemble

The RIT Flute Ensemble provides weekly chamber and small ensemble experience for RIT flutists.  Drawing from the vast repertoire of music for flute choir, students play a variety of music from different styles and perform several times a year.  Students have the opportunity to play the entire family of flutes (C-flute, Piccolo, Alto Flute, and Bass flute).

For more information: https://www.rit.edu/cla/finearts/music/rit-flute-ensemble 


The RIT Drumline is a performing arts group consisting of Battery and Pit percussion ensembles. The RIT Drumline competes in the New York State Percussion Circuit, where it is currently the defending State Champion of its class. The Drumline also plays at various sports events and festivals on campus to support RIT teams.

Drumline is sponsored by the College of Liberal Arts

For more information: https://thelink.rit.edu/organization/drumline

Pep Band

The Pep Band plays at all men's Division I hockey games in the Frank Ritter Arena, as well as other athletic and non-athletic events.  The pep band consists of many instruments to create that much needed atmosphere of school spirit at the hockey games.  Included instruments are drums/marching drums, electric guitar/bass, electric violin, French horns, flutes, clarinets, saxophone, trumpets, trombone, alto, baronets, and the all-important conductor.  The Pep Band always welcomes new members!

Pep Band is sponsored by the College of Liberal Arts

For more information: https://www.rit.edu/sg/pepband/

Vocal Ensembles

RIT Singers

RIT’s primary choral group performs vocal works dating from the Middle Ages to the present.  There is one major performance per quarter and several smaller events throughout the year. A select number of students from this group are chosen each year to perform in a variety of small vocal ensembles and in men’s and women’s a cappella groups.

Academic credit is granted for successful participation in RIT Singers

For more information: https://www.rit.edu/cla/finearts/music/rit-singers

Eight Beat Measure

Performing for over 20 years, 8 Beat Measure is RIT's oldest A Cappella group. Originally formed as an extension to the RIT Singers, 8 Beat Measure eventually expanded their horizons, while still maintaining a strong affiliation to the RIT Singers. 8 Beat Measure is known for their 'Funky Fresh' Style, and smooth harmonies. The guys of 8 Beat enjoy many different types of music, and perform from a wide repertoire of A Cappella music both arranged by our members and pre-arranged. Eight Beat Measure’s recent album, No Safety Nets, was recently nominated as one of the top 10 collegiate a cappella group recordings for the 2011 Contemporary A Cappella Recording Award.

Eight Beat Measure is sponsored by the College of Liberal Arts

For more information: http://8beat.org/


Continually defying the odds in the Brick City simply by being 10 girls in one place at the same time, the energetic and fun-loving gals of Encore entertain RIT audiences throughout the year at campus events as well as independent shows. Encore has been around since 1996, but has only existed in something comparable to its current teal-clad form since 2003, when they were weaned away from piano accompaniment for good. The group has released two albums, Rinse and Repeat, and energy.focus.

Encore is sponsored by the College of Liberal Arts

For more information: https://www.rit.edu/sg/encore/index.htm 

Brick City Singers

Active on campus since 1999, the RIT Brick City Singers have been defying borders, crossing genres, and pushing the limits on stage with entertaining performances that leave everyone looking for more. With a broad repertoire, wacky antics, amusing skits, and even a little bit of class, the Brick City Singers are a force to be reckoned with. The Singers are known for their creativeness on stage as they bring a new sound to classic and modern "radio hit" pieces.

Brick City Singers is sponsored by the College of Liberal Arts

For more information: http://www.rit.edu/sg/brickcitysingers/

Proof of Purchase

Proof of Purchase is RIT’s newest and only co-ed ‘a cappella’ group.  Now in its second year, the group has made numerous appearances both  on and off-campus and recently was one of two winners – along with Eight Beat Measure – of President Destler’s contest for a theme song for the university’s May Innovation Festival.

Proof of Purchase is sponsored by the College of Liberal Arts

Surround Sound

Surround Sound started in 2002, initially formed by talented singers that auditioned for other RIT A Cappella groups. Surround Sound focuses on various arrangements from across the decades, anything from oldies to today’s hits!

Surround Sound is sponsored by the College of Liberal Arts

Gospel Ensemble

The purpose of the RIT Gospel Ensemble, founded 1981, is to inspire and uplift others, while sharing the unique flavor and cultural heritage of the Gospel tradition through the ministry of song.

Gospel Ensemble is sponsored by the College of Liberal Arts

For more information: http://ritgospelensemble.weebly.com/


COLA’s program in Theatre Arts combines study in theatre history, literature and theory with practical experience and opportunities to work backstage and/or perform in two to three productions a year.  The current curriculum of 11 courses introduces students to the basics of dramatic structure, a variety of performance conventions and practices, and the cultural significance of various theatre styles and genres.  Students who elect to pursue a minor or immersion will also gain perspective on how theatre reflects and comments on human history, culture and the essential aspects of human experience, expression, and interaction.  Students in all majors and in every career focus will find value in the analytical and creative aspects of theatre, and students planning careers in communications, media, gaming and film production will find theatre courses particularly relevant for the skills and perspectives needed in these careers.

For more information on COLA’s theatre program, visit the Department of Performing Arts & Visual Culture website.

COLA Theatre Ensemble

The Theatre Ensemble is offered each semester and provides students with an opportunity to participate as actors or stage crew in COLA theatre workshops, stage readings and full productions.  The focus of the Theatre Ensemble varies from semester to semester with opportunities to create and perform in a wide range of theatre genres and styles, including comedies, dramas, musicals, and classics.  

Academic credit is granted for successful participation in the Theatre Ensemble

Read more about COLA Theatre Ensemble

COLA Design/Stagecraft Apprenticeship

The Design/Stagecraft Apprenticeship provides the opportunity for students to gain professional production and backstage experience through an apprenticeship with a local or regional theatre. 

Academic credit is granted for successful participation in Design/Stagecraft Apprenticeship.

Read more about COLA Design/Stagecraft Apprenticeship

NTID Performing Arts

NTID Performing Arts was established in the Fall of 1974 following the success of the student drama club founded by Dr. Robert Panara in 1969.  NTID Performing Arts offers a comprehensive curriculum of for-credit theatre courses and produces six productions and one outreach tour per season. These productions are presented simultaneously by Deaf actors who sign the lines and hearing actors who speak the lines.  Every aspect of an NTID production is accessible to both Deaf and hearing people: back stage, onstage, or in the house.

Academic credit is granted for successful participation in NTID Performing Arts

For more information: https://www.ntid.rit.edu/theatre/


RIT/NTID Dance Company

The RIT/NTID Dance Company is a  unique ensemble of Deaf, Hard of Hearing and Hearing students enriching the educational life of the dancers by providing challenging and rewarding choreographic and performance opportunities. Membership in the company is open to the entire RIT community (dancers as well as non-dancers, from every level of ability and experience).

The RIT/NTID Dance Company has presented a diverse repertoire consisting of full length ballets, student and faculty choreography in modern dance, jazz and a variety of ethnic-based dance, as well as guest choreographers and performers. Along with one major dance concert at NTID in the Panera Theatre, the Dance Company also tours to schools around the United States and performs at RIT campus events and performances around the greater Rochester Community.

Academic credit is granted for successful participation in RIT/NTID Dance Company.

For more information, contact Thomas Warfield, Assistant Professor and Director of NTID Dance Ensemble at tfwnvc@rit.edu

Ballroom Dance Club

A club that focuses on learning the proper steps and technique for ballroom dancing. They teach the ChaCha, Waltz, Tango, Foxtrot, Rumba, Salsa, Viennese Waltz, Quickstep, Paso Doble, Bachata, Hustle, Polka, etc. Starting from the very basic steps and moving into more advanced moves. They also provide information on where members can go out to practice everything they have learned socially and for an affordable price. No dress code, and no partner necessary!

Ballroom Dance Club is a student club and not specifically affiliated with the College of Liberal Arts

For more information: http://thelink.rit.edu/organization/Ballroom

Break Dancing Club

Have you ever found yourself bouncing off walls with too much energy, dancing in your room when nobody is around, or missing something in your life pushing you physically and creatively? Check out RIT's RIThym Crew and learn about what it takes to break dance! Joining RIThym Crew's b-boys and b-girls exposes you to opportunities of traveling to competitions throughout the U.S, meeting new people and gaining greater awareness of hip-hop culture. Plant a seed in this exciting, dynamic dance and witness the potential of a growing passion for one of the great elements of hip-hop, B-boying (aka break dancing)!

Break Dancing Club is a student club and not specifically affiliated with the College of Liberal Arts

For more information: http://thelink.rit.edu/organization/RIThymBDC

Brick Beats

This club is open to anyone who wants to learn fundamentals of dance and become accustomed to choreography.  The club mainly focuses around hip hop and smooth jazz. But, each week members take a vote at the end of the class and see if people feel comfortable tackling another dance form. If you want modern dance, African, pop n' lock.. whatever!  And if you have the urge to teach, by all means do it!

Brick Beats is a student club and not specifically affiliated with the College of Liberal Arts

For more information: http://thelink.rit.edu/organization/BB

Latin Rhythm Dance Club (LRDC)

The Latin Rhythm Dance Club is dedicated to spreading dance at RIT. The club offers free dance lessons in salsa, bachata, merengue, cha-cha, mambo, rueda, and more. Club meetings are held every week and welcome all students, staff, and faculty -- beginners and advanced dancers.

Latin Rhythm Dance Club is a student club and not specifically affiliated with the College of Liberal Arts

For more information: http://thelink.rit.edu/organization/LRDC

Swing Dance Club

The Swing Dance Club offers a variety of opportunities to begin or expand an individual’s knowledge of dance. The club breaks off classes into three levels, Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced to accommodate all levels of skill. The club also provides open dance times weekly where all of the dance levels come together and dance together socially.

Swing Dance Club is a student club and not specifically affiliated with the College of Liberal Arts

For more information: http://thelink.rit.edu/organization/Swing

Tango Club

The Tango club is committed to the teaching and spreading awareness of the Argentine Tango dance and culture at RIT by offering free lessons at all levels. They focus on the social aspects of the dance and generally avoid teaching choreography or "show moves". The club will occasionally do performances for promotional purposes, but does not actively seek out competitions.  As with regular social dances, you are not expected to bring your own partner… Just bring yourself!

Tango Club is a student club and not specifically affiliated with the College of Liberal Arts

For more information: http://thelink.rit.edu/organization/Tango

Velocity Dance Team

VELOCITY is RIT's very own urban dance crew! They perform on campus and the Rochester Area. VELOCITY seeks to help students learn different styles of hip hop and perform at a competitive level.  

Velocity Dance Team is a student club and not specifically affiliated with the College of Liberal Arts

For more information: http://thelink.rit.edu/organization/Velocity

Vis Viva Dance Company (V)

Vis Viva means "living force" and that is exactly what  the group is- a student run dance company inspired by their passion for dance and love of performing!  Founded in May 2012, Vis Viva choreographs their own dances and showcases them through various events both on and off campus.

Vis Viva Dance Company is a student club and not specifically affiliated with the College of Liberal Arts

For more information: http://thelink.rit.edu/organization/VisVivaDance

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