New Degree Program in Dance Studies Announced

October 15, 2014
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The Department of Dance Studies at Salem College is pleased to announce the launch of their new degree program in Dance Studies, approved for the fall of 2015.

“As Salem College continues to evolve as a leader in women’s health education, the study of arts, science, and movement are of paramount importance,” says Heidi Echols, Associate Professor and Director of the Dance Studies Department at Salem College. “The new degree programs will enable us to enrich the work already being done on our campus by our talented dance students and faculty.” Echols has taught at Salem College for 13 years, and the development of a degree program in dance has long-been of interest to her, Salem College students, and her colleagues in the Salem College Dance Company. 

The BA degree will position itself to allow women to explore their passions while reaching their artistic goals. It is an interdisciplinary program that combines dance theory and technique. Students will select courses from a core list, such as History of Dance and Choreography, while exploring a variety of elective offerings, including Performing Arts Management and The Artist as Entrepreneur.

The BA/BS degree in Dance and Movement Science is a combination of dance theory with technique, and a significant focus on human science and movement. This program integrates courses in physiology, nutrition, and motor development.

These new degrees enhance offerings for students who are interested in fields such as choreography, management, education, and multiple health related fields. Both degrees will also allow students to pursue further education in dance and movement related areas, such as an MFA in Choreography or Physical Therapy, or enrollment in medical school.

Echols understands the importance of making Salem’s liberal arts degrees inclusive of dance, echoing other advocates of a liberal arts education who recognize that the creative and performing arts are not always an easy fit for colleges and universities, but necessary to preparing well-rounded graduates for longevity in successful careers. “This makes them more appealing, as they help to challenge our students and create a flourishing cultural outlet for our campus.”

The Department of Dance Studies at Salem College, which was founded in 1957, also offers a Minor in Dance Studies. In 2012, they welcomed the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company to campus for a weeklong residency. This Saturday, October 18, Twyla Tharp, world-renowned choreographer of American dance, will speak from her book, The Creative Habit as part of Salem’s June Porter Johnson Series for the Visual and Performing Arts. Members of Twyla Tharp’s dance company are in residence this week at Salem College, working with select dance students to perform excerpts from Tharp’s work, “Torelli” during the October 18 event. These internationally known dancers and choreographers celebrated with Salem students, faculty, and staff, as the new Dance Studies major was announced.