Kamarck, Edward (ed.) / Arts in society: growth of dance in America
Hammond, Sandra N.
Dance in academe: [dance in the universities--the first and second fifty years], pp. 336-339 PDF (4.0 MB)
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-