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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 337


dance in the universities -
the ftrst and second fHft years
approach, at least the college dance student
earns a degree in a performing art from a
faculty which includes professional perform-
ers of that art.
Most dance major programs have some stu-
dents who aspire to be professional dancers.
For most that goal is unrealistic, and for all
it is tough to achieve. Here, then, is an impor-
tant reason to have the professional dancer
on the faculty-to provide first-hand experi-
ence with respect to the competitive dance
world outside the academy. The advice and
the contacts provided by such a person need
to be available to any college dance major.
But more important than employment counsel-
ing is the value of the artist on campus for
assuring the vitality of dance itself. To
observe Antony Tudor choreograph, for
example, has to be an invaluable education
for dance students on the Urvine campus
where Tudor has been periodically in resi-
dence. Or consider the opportunity to study
four years with George Zoritch (University of
Arizona) or David Wood (University of Cali-
fornia at Berkeley). In the first instance,
dance majors have the experience of regular
instruction in the style of Russian ballet, and,
in the second, in the theatre of Martha Gra-
ham-both from artists with first-hand experi-
ence. This is not, of course, to argue that
any artist should be hired on a university
faculty. Some are not good teachers, let
alone adaptable to other features of the
academic role. An artistic appointment must
be screened and evaluated as carefully as any
other faculty appointment.
For the artist, the campus base has great
economic benefits. For some, of course,
those benefits do not outweigh the burdens of
committee assignments, grading of students,
faculty meetings, etc. For others, however,
those are small enough penalties if, in
exchange, the opportunity exists to choreo-
graph and rehearse in rent-free space with
"free" dancers, to obtain a technical crew
(including costuming and publicity) at no per-
sonal cost-all this preparatory to perform-
ances in some of the finest theatres in the
country, oftentimes with live music (glory,
even on occasion a full orchestra). Further-
more, there are colleagues in art, music,
drama, and other disciplines with which to
collaborate and a ready-made audience of
hundreds, yea thousands, of students.
As costs soar, and artistic deficits rise, more
performing artists may well look to univer-
sities for their very survival. Many civic
theatres, symphonies, ballet and modern
dance companies, now struggling for slices of
the tax pie and competing for the dwindling
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