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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 338


gifts from foundations and wealthy patrons,
can be expected to move under the artistic
umbrella of some college or university.
The dance artists on campuses, and the uni-
versity-connected dance companies that have
emerged, clearly have economic advantages
over their civic counterparts. This advantage
will remain until, miraculously, the public
demands live drama, opera, symphonic music,
ballet and concert dance in preference to
television and rock concerts. Needless to
say, dancers should not hold their port de
bras in anticipation of such events.
Dance Education-Present and Future
Even as the university appears destined to
become the next patron of the dance arts and
a conservatory for training performers, it does
not and will not limit enrollment to aspiring
performers. The university functions not
merely to train people for jobs. Indeed, the
majority of dance majors should not be
enrolled if employment in a dance company is
their expectation following four years of
college. Instead, universities will continue to
offer dance as another area of general educa-
tion, a liberal and not just a fine art.
Where better than at a university could so
many be introduced to the great variety of
Rite of Spring, Frances Cohen, choreographer.
Dancers: Sandra Hammond and John Wilson.
Arizona Dance Theatre. Photo by Timothy
Fuller.
dance related subjects? Where else can the
interests of the young in those subjects be
encouraged and guided? Dance history and
philosophy, dance writing and criticism, dance
notation, dance lighting and costuming, dance
accompaniment-all this in addition to the
craft of dance itself-constitute a healthy
education. Add to this the stimulation pro-
vided by other liberal arts courses in the
general college requirements, and one need
not be embarrassed about the "dance" major.
Undeniably, college dance progi.r-s offer
creative experiences for students and the
preparation of dance-educated audiences.
These "by-products" of dance education may
well be justification enough for dance major
programs, but other, more pragmatic, reasons
for dance degrees are emerging. In spite of
economic woes, dance is gaining in popular-
ity and thus in public visibility. Dance and
dancers are not so "strange" to a public
which sees Baryshnikov on the cover of Time
and Newsweek or which reads a regular
dance column by Arlene Croce in The New
Yorker. The popular media thus are recogniz-


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