The LEAP Program
LEAP Into Your Future...
The Liberal Education for Arts Professionals (LEAP) Program provides professional dancers and other performing artists a unique path to access higher education - a community for whom access to college has been traditionally rare or impractical. Founded in 1999, The LEAP Program is specifically designed to deliver a comprehensive liberal arts education to professional dancers and performing artists from around the country, with the goal of completing a Bachelor’s Degree in Performing Arts from Saint Mary's College of California through part-time study.
Mission and Values
LEAP provides higher education of exceptional quality to professional dancers, a community for whom access to college has been traditionally rare or impractical. In alignment with Saint Mary’s core values and traditions, LEAP makes it possible for dancers to prepare intellectually and emotionally for a meaningful life beyond dance performance by offering them the chance to explore different disciplines, develop multiple perspectives, discover new passions, and become confident, lifelong learners. The 10 LEAP Core Curriculum courses have been specifically chosen to model the Liberal Arts education of the traditional undergraduate program at Saint Mary’s College.
Graduates of the LEAP program will:
- Demonstrate a familiarity with a wide variety of academic disciplines
- Demonstrate competence in the skills of careful reading, analysis, critical thinking, interpretation, collaborative inquiry and communication in both written and oral forms
- Demonstrate competence with information literacy
- Engage in thoughtful critical discourse about complex intersections of social identity that illuminate the construction, reinforcement, and interrogation of systems of power and inequality
- Construct and apply knowledge of professional performance and life experience to new learning
- Reflect an understanding of the impact of their own academic experience and how it prepares them for a life of active citizenship and continued learning
The LEAP staff and faculty...
- are committed to co-creating an inclusive community of learners that honors years of work within diverse fields of The Performing Arts.
- champion embodied knowledge and experiential learning as integral components of our curriculum.
- believe diversity, multiculturalism and systemic change are foundational to our success within the program, our campus community and our professional field.
- value a “learning in dialogue” model of instruction, and believe that artists are vital to social change, and that our differences are our strengths.
- encourage transformative learning that centers each student’s interests and acknowledges that each student’s path to graduation is individualized.
In LEAP's continued commitment to anti-racism we pledge to listen, learn, course correct, and share resources freely.
Learn more about this pledge and our actions toward change through our Commitment to Anti-Racism Page.
The LEAP Program recognizes that the Saint Mary's College of California campus occupies the ancestral lands of the Sacian Tribe, whose descendents are now organizing into the Muwekma Ohlone tribe. In addition, as a national program serving students who reside all across the area we call the United States, we recognize the thousands of Indigenous tribes that have, and continue to, steward these lands.
Learn more at Native Governance Center's A Guide to Indigenous Land Acknowledgement.