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Kamarck, Edward (ed.) / Arts in society: growth of dance in America
(Summer-Fall, 1976)

Hammond, Sandra N.
Dance in academe: [dance in the universities--the first and second fifty years],   pp. 336-339 PDF (4.0 MB)


Page 336


by Sandra N. Hammond
She is an instructor in dance at the
University of Arizona.
It has been fifty years since Margaret
H'Doubler persuaded the University of Wis-
consin that dance deserved a degree pro-
gram. The diversity and proliferation of dance
on college campuses since then makes
hazardous indeed any forecast of the next fifty
years. Nevertheless, certain trends are unmis-
takable and thus tempt speculation about
how dance and the universities will continue
their relatively new alliance. For dance, the
oldest of art forms, is just now in its
academic adolescence.
Clearly, college dance has shed its baby-
buntings of flowing gauze shirts, its early
image as "something for the girls" in women's
physical education departments. Those
departments are rapidly becoming co-ed, but,
just as rapidly, dance is demanding its own
department, located somewhere in the
vicinity of theatre/performing arts colleges.
Whether dance should abandon its physical
education nest, the only home it was offered
for so long, and cross the campus to join the
fine arts complex, is becoming a moot
question. The move is being made, and new
proposals for dance programs are laid direct-
336
ly at the fine arts' door. Nevertheless, as will
be discussed later, dance encompasses more
than performance. Programs which affiliate
exclusively with fine arts colleges may find
they do not meet the new demands of dance-
related interests.
The Artist on Campus-Today and Tomorrow
The validity of dance major programs and
college degrees in dance may still be ques-
tioned by both academicians and dance
professionals, but the debate now is decidedly
less intense. The "peril" of dance in the
universities and colleges, as eloquently
described by Carolyn BrownL, Agnes de Mille2,
and other professional dancers, is greatly
reduced, not least by dance professionals
themselves who are on dance faculties
around the country.
Thus the danger of insularity-college-trained-
teachers teaching more teachers-has disap-
peared from many campuses where adminis-
trators have recognized the importance of
professional artists on their faculties. Clearly,
this is a trend that will continue because it has
benefits for both the academy and the artist.
Colleges sometimes give artists regular or
part-time academic appointments. Other
times artists-in-residence for one or more
semesters are appointed. Whatever the exact-


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