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

Hayes, Elizabeth
Dance in academe: [dance in the universities: yesterday, today and tomorrow],   pp. 340-[345] PDF (6.1 MB)


Page 341


dance in the universities:
yesterday, today and tomorrow
and sophisticated. The effect of this nudge
from the professional world was to establish
in the minds of university administrators the
realization that dance was more than just an
activity in physical education; it was poten-
tially a legitimate art form worthy of taking a
place among the other arts. The great admin-
istrative move of dance programs began in
the early sixties. In some instances dance
was placed administratively in music or
theatre departments; in other instances it was
made a department of its own, but the end
result was that dance educators were at last
freed of the conceptual limitations that had
been imposed upon them by the assumption
that dance was merely a subdivision of physi-
cal education-an assumption that unfortu-
nately still exists in many institutions.
The initial outcome of this administrative
change was first evidenced in the upgrading
of already existing teacher education pro-
grams. The curricular structure of the dance
major that had been established at Wisconsin
was still basically sound, but now there was
opportunity to enlarge the program and to
reschedule class periods to satisfy needs
peculiar to the dancer. Both technical and
choreographic offerings could be extended to
create a four year progression, and long time
blocks, which were needed for the efficient
teaching of technique and composition, could
be allocated to replace the 35-50 minute class
periods that had previously been so restric-
tive. Kinesiology as taught by physical edu-
cators-often with little application to dance-
could now be replaced by a kinesiological
approach dealing directly with the analysis
and control of dance movement. Dance stu-
dents, relieved of the demand that they
become physical educators as well as dance
educators could devote increased energies to
in-depth studies of dance history and philoso-
phy, music and other related arts. Adequate
time could now be given to such theatre
aspects as staging, lighting, and costuming
which are essential to the dance educators as
well as those who plan to enter the so-called
"professional world." And finally, increased
opportunities and budget for student perform-
ances could be provided to enable future
teachers to learn through personal experience
the meaning of dance as a performing art.
This move to free dance from its dependence
upon physical education called attention to a
long existing problem of secondary school
certification for dance teachers. Up to this
time, in rare instances where dance special-
ists had been certified, these teachers had
received their certification as physical edu-
cators with a dance emphasis. For indepen-
dent departments of dance this kind of
certification was no longer possible. As yet,
341


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