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

Symposium: training the dancer,   pp. [346]-[355] PDF (8.9 MB)

Page 348

Prof. Theodora Wiesner in dance studio,
Theodora Wiesner
Professor Emeritus, Brooklyn College.
What kind of dance education can/should
universities provide?
Dance in colleges and universities should
include a wide spectrum of dance activities:
modern, ballet, folk, tap, etc., the range
depending on whether or not there is a major
program. It should include more than tech-
nique. There should be creative work,
improvisation, performance, etc. In a major
program history, philosophy, music, methods
of teaching and notation should be included.
Is there a philosophy of dance education
Every teacher should have a philosophy, but
I doubt that there is one philosophy that all
agree on. I feel that an educational program
should include a broad understanding of the
whole area of dance and provide an opportu-
nity for the students to create and perform
dance on the highest level of excellence
Dance should be on its own-separate from
physical education, music, or theatre. The
ideal is that of an autonomous dance depart-
ment within a school of performing arts.
Do you feel that the best way that companies
can be made financially solvent is to be
subsidized by a university?
University dance companies should be sup-
ported by the institutions as much as orches-
tras, theatre groups, choruses, and inter-
scholastic athletics. Any performing art costs
money and can seldom meet expenses
through concert admissions.
The proliferation of university-connected
dance companies indicates the rapid growth
of interest in dance, its acceptance as an
academic discipline, and the rising level of
excellence in dance education.
A recent study has highlighted the inflexibility
of music departments (most departments in
1972 did not teach courses in jazz, blues,
rock, etc.). Is dance in academe confronted
with similar problems?
Not too long ago, college and university dance
included only some form of free modern dance,
some folk dance, and maybe a bit of tap.
Now most programs include modern or con-
temporary dance at a number of skill levels,
ballet, jazz, folk, tap, composition or choreog-
raphy, and many related arts.
Would artist-in-residence programs help to
mitigate the dangers of insularity?
Such a program can add additional depth to
the dance offerings, the experience with a
professional approach, and a variety in styles
and techniques that most universities would
be unable to provide with their more limited
Should dance teachers be certified?
Yesl! E
Should dance most logically fall into physical
education or fine arts?

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