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Notes for Meeting on Dance
Tuesday, July 11, 2000

Attending: Bob Chapel, Sage Blaska, Mary Beth Cancienne, Marcia Day Childress, Juanita Wilson Duquette, Jane Ford, Joan Fry, Jill Hartz, Michelle Kisliuk, Ann Lane, Farzaneh Milani, Yvi Nguyen, Clo Phillips, Donna Plasket, Jen Sager, James Scales, Judith Shatin, and Deva Woodly.

Bob Chapel, Chairman of the Commission on the Fine and Performing Arts, called a special meeting of those interested in dance at the University of Virginia. Dance has been a part of the Commission’s ongoing discussion of the future of the arts at the University. This meeting was devoted exclusively to a discussion of dance. Mr. Chapel reminded the group that any proposal for a program in dance must come out of the Commission’s work, and it must be a part of the Commission’s final report. Since a program in dance would be in the College of Arts and Sciences, it will need the endorsement and support of the dean of the College.

Three issues dominated the meeting. One issue concerned whether dance should be proposed as a separate, stand-alone program, or whether it should be part of an existing program: drama, music, Studies in Women and Gender program, or housed elsewhere. A second issue concerned whether to build a program in dance incrementally or all at once. The incremental approach would use existing courses and faculty, perhaps with a few additional adjunct faculty, and build over time to a full-fledged, approved program. The alternative would be to start a full program. This would require submitting a program proposal, securing complete program approvals, getting commitments for new lines to hire full-time faculty and staff, and conducting a national search for faculty. A third issue concerned space for a dance program, particularly space with sprung floors suitable for dance.

The discussion of space revealed concerns that plans for the arts precinct do not include a separate building devoted exclusively to dance. Both the drama and music facilities being planned, however, will include floors suitable for dance. The Bayly building might be refurbished to include space for dance classes. The group ultimately agreed that the concept for the program itself must precede the specifications for special facilities.

After discussion of these issues, the group decided to charge a small group to draft a mission/vision statement for dance. In the year 2020, what would the program in dance entail: will it be inclusive or focused, will it stress technique or performance, who will the students be, etc. This mission statement will serve as a guide to the next steps.

Additionally it was agreed that the group would inventory existing dance classes (for credit and not-for-credit), dance club activities, faculty teaching dance, facilities now used, and facilities that could be used for dance.

The mission statement and inventory are to be presented to the dance group for discussion at a future meeting, to be scheduled in August.

Respectfully submitted,
Joan Fry

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