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Presenting ballet on college campuses (campi?)Is UConn programming phenomenom occurring elsewhere?


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#31 Stage Right

Stage Right

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Posted 04 October 2011 - 01:09 PM

At the university where i teach (make that taught: the administration eliminated the dance program in June. I was given the (ahem!) "opportunity" to teach in the Sport Management program instead !!!*#&!!--I who can't tell a football from a basketball!), and I retired instead. But anyway, in recent years I have seen a definite 'slippage' in the quality of the dance companies presented by the university.(And by the way, even though I was one of only two dance professors there, I had no say about which companies got invited to campus). Generally, they have presented two dance companies per year. When I was first teaching there, we got some really good companies, even including Martha Graham, Mark Morris, Alvin Ailey, Paul Taylor, and then some second-tier companies such as the Pittsburgh Ballet, Garth Fagan, etc. The companies always presented a master class for the dance students as well as a performance. In the last 3-5 years, however, the quality of the dance companies has dropped precipitously. They are now bringing in very small dance companies, mostly ones I haven't heard of. They are what I would describe as "eclectic" dance companies, that often combine other things (theatre, gymnastics, juggling, etc.), or they have an ethnic flavor. I believe that the intention is to present companies that might bring in new audiences to dance, people that might not go to see what they perceive as "serious" dance. Certainly they do need new audience members: most of the heads are gray-haired at the dance concerts. But if they are trying to bring new audiences to dance, I think it was a grave mistake to eliminate the dance program!!! And I am not convinced that the way to attract new audiences is to present dance of lesser quality. For the last two years, there were also no master classes offered. So I would say that at this university, it's a downhill slide (or maybe avalanche is a better word) where dance is concerned.


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