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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 350


budget. Decisions are normally dictated by
these considerations.
Should dance teachers be certified?
In my opinion they should not be certified for
several basic reasons, as follows:
a.) Most "certification" requirements, I know,
stress quantitative rather than qualitative
achievement.
b.) Certification requirements in "academe,"
because of self interest and pedagogical
insularity (established to protect university
practices and "teacher training" pro-
grams), could shut out the most highly
qualified candidates from within the univer-
sity system or the professional field. The
candidate who may be the best applicant
for the position, but does not have the cor-
rect degree or any academic degree,
would normally be eliminated. D
Christena Schlundt. Photo by Geoff Manasse.
Christena L. Schlundt
Professor and Chairperson, Program in Dance,
University of California-Riverside.
social sciences and the humanities-that a
university offers. Breadth of experiences in
thinking and feeling and moving should be
the result of a university education.
This applies especially to the educated
dancer who is an artist, if he or she wants to
make worthwhile statements through his/her
art. It also applies to the dancer who is a
teacher, if she/he wishes to be the large
human being his/her students deserve. And it
applies to the dancer who, more often than
not, after dancing through his or her youth,
wishes or is forced to find alternative life
goals. A broad university education has
equipped him/her for such a development.
In the dance curriculum itself, as much
emphasis should be placed on the history and
theory of the art as on its technique, creativity,
and performance. The first subjects give
mental understandings while the second offer
ways of knowing that are non-verbal. The two
aspects are one in the individual student;
only in the curriculum are they dichotomized.
Both of these learning/experiences are essen-
tial to a university graduate in dance who
speaks as a unified person through his/her
dance.
Is there a philosophy of dance education
today?
No, fortunately there is no one philosophy of
dance education today in America. Dance
education at the university level grew out of
John Dewey and the waves he started, which
were picked up by dancers at Teachers Col-
lege, Columbia.
Should dance teachers be certified?
No. And I say this after a year in France in
which I observed the stultification that obtains
from such control. The chaos we have in
America, which allows for charlatans but also
for great creativity, is far preferable. E
What kind of dance education can/should
universities provide?
Primarily, universities should provide a good
college education. All students, even danc-
ers, should have an opportunity to explore the
myriad areas-in other arts, the sciences, the
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