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University of Utah dance departments to become first School of Dance in Intermountain region

22 February 2016 Published in News and Announcements

The University of Utah College of Fine Arts is pleased to announce the formation of the School of Dance, beginning July 1, 2016.

Housed under this new administrative structure, the individual disciplines of ballet and modern dance will continue their long, esteemed legacies, with expanded opportunities and collaborations possible. This School will be the first of its kind in the Intermountain region, and one of only a handful of others across the nation.

“Our two dance disciplines have a long tradition of excellence and prominence here in the state and across the world,” said Dean Raymond Tymas-Jones. “It’s because we have been innovators in those fields, recognizing and adapting to change when needed. The world of dance has evolved dramatically since the departments’ founding 60 years ago, and while the curricula for each discipline have been constantly reshaped and updated to meet the changing demands of the field, this structural shift is necessary for the next iteration of our legacy of success.”

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While the most significant change will be seen on the administrative side and will preserve the individuality of each discipline, the new structure will facilitate greater interdisciplinary education and research opportunities across multiple genres of dance. The School of Dance will continue to award degrees, certificates and minors in the specialized disciplines of ballet and modern dance.

“Each of our current departments maintains an excellent international reputation in the world of dance. We are among the oldest programs in the nation offering BFA degrees in ballet and modern dance,” comments Brent Schneider Acting Chair of the Department of Ballet. “We are at an exciting time now when the strengths of each discipline will remain intact and opportunities for new hybrid course offerings can become a reality.”

This change comes after several years of thoughtful discussion and with unanimous support of the faculties of the two disciplines (one abstention from a faculty member on sabbatical). The change was approved by the University of Utah’s Board of Trustees on Nov. 10, 2015 and by the Board of Regents on Jan. 22, 2016. It will be the second School in the College of Fine Arts joining the School of Music, alongside the Departments of Art & Art History, Film & Media Arts, and Theatre.

“I am excited by the increased possibilities, collaboration and interaction between the two disciplines, ballet and modern, that a School of Dance will provide where we all benefit by the sharing of our impressive strengths,” said Stephen Koester, the current chair of the Department of Modern Dance. “While honoring traditions and the legacies of each discipline, we will discover new dynamic synergies and opportunities between the disciplines, learning from each other, as we forge a new future for dance.”

A national and international search is now underway for the School of Dance’s founding director. More information on that position can be found here.

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(Artwork by David Habben)