USU student lobbying to reinstate dance as academic program

Years ago Utah State University eliminated Dance, which had been a program within the Department of Health, Physical Education and Recreation. During the intervening years students interested in dance have found few creative outlets on campus. That changed three years ago when USU student Krissy Smith-Fry formed the USU Dance Company. That is also when she began lobbying school leaders to reinstate dance as an academic program. “We feel we’re starting to have some success,” she said. “With the Caine School of the Arts now becoming the Caine College, our dance company will be moved in under that umbrella next fall. “Also, the theatre department has hired a movement specialist. We’re hoping to work with that new person and push our goal forward. We feel that dance as an art form should be part of the new college of the arts.” Smith-Fry said even before he was recently named Dean of the Caine College, Dr. Craig Jessop had been helpful. “He’s been very supportive, he believes in us and our goals and he’s told us we’re an asset to the university. He’ll be a great leader of the new college; he’s very student-oriented.” Smith-Fry is realistic about the timetable to make dance an academic program. “With the current economy and more budget cuts this year,” she said, “it will probably take a few years. We’ve been led to believe it will probably start with a minor first, to get students into the program. At least it’s being considered; before no one really took us seriously. With Dr. Jessop we feel things are really moving forward.” To keep the dance company operating the group conducts fundraisers all year and the largest one is this weekend. The company presents “Scapes” Saturday, April 10, 7:30 at the Kent Concert Hall on campus. The troupe of 28 dancers performs in two groups – Full Circle (contemporary and modern dance) and Vilociti (hip hop and break dance) – and will be joined in this season-ending concert by Sacramento’s Core Dance Collective, a professional contemporary dance company. “Our show will present a variety of different styles of dance,” said Smith-Fry, “exploring landscapes and cityscapes and human interaction within these environments.” Smith-Fry said Saturday’s event is an opportunity to display the talents of the two student-run troupes and the growth the company has made in three years. Tickets purchased in advance are $5 (USU students), $7 (youth) and $10 (adults) and are available at Cost is slightly higher if purchased at the door.

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