Fall 2020: School of Dance Climate Progress Report

The School of Dance is committed to building a sustainable, equitable and inclusive environment, where cultural diversity and race are celebrated and valued. For the fall semester, faculty and staff worked to address equity, diversity and inclusion in a variety of ways which included:

  • Curricular expansion and adjustments that celebrate the work of a wide array of artists of color;
  • Engaged diverse guest faculty, choreographers and lecturers;
  • Expansion of our dress code to include flesh-toned dancewear; and
  • Outreach conversations with our Preparatory Dance and year-round programs to provide dance education to local underserved communities.

Curricular expansions and modifications

Dance History II 20th Century Modern course expansion and modifications:

  • Added a wider range of Black dancers and choreographers into the introductory PowerPoint of thumbnail biographies/photos, including lesser-known figures such as Edna Guy, Hemsley Winfield and Mary Hinkson; 
  • Added a study unit on Josephine Baker with readings and viewings. Added discussion about the question of dance as ‘entertainment’ ‘art’;
  • Added study units on five important Black choreographers who are often overlooked in the ‘canon’ – Pearl Primus, Talley Beatty, Donald McKayle, Eleo Pomare and Garth Fagan; and
  • Increased readings and viewings in the units on Katherine Dunham, Alvin Ailey and Bill T. Jones. 

Dance Perspectives I Course presented a diverse group of alumni as weekly guest speakers:

  • Juel D. Lane (Choreographer)
  • Ashley Lindsey (Director of UNCSA Summer Dance)
  • Brian Binion (Broadway)
  • Mia Breaux Lorick (Law)
  • Liz Sargent (Film)
  • Jerome Johnson (Local community engagement)
  • Monica Johnson (Dance)
  • Rebecca Bryant (Dance)
  • Justin Dominic (Dance in public schools)
  • Lina Puodziukaite (Director of Contemporary Dance program in Lithuanian national conservatory)

Supplemental Topics course expansion included:

  • Exploring and recognizing important contributions made to Pilates by a diverse group of teachers and citing their influences. Teachers mentioned include Kathy Grant, Blossom Leilani Crawford, Marimba Gold Watts, Maria Earle and Brett Howard.  

Dance Music History curriculum expansion and modifications included:

  • Non-Western perspectives: Introduction to Quranic recitation in the Islamic tradition
  • Inclusion of Islamic recitation to core medieval curriculum, as well as multiple female composers of the Middle Ages
  • Inclusion of female baroque composer, as well as African Canadian-American Black composer Nathaniel Dett’s 20th-century take on the dance suite incorporating African and African American dance styles. Excerpt from African American choreographer Robert Garland’s New Dance representing 21st-century choreography to Baroque music.
  • Non-Western perspectives: Form in the Japanese Gagaku repertoire
  • Drawing comparison between European minuet and Dominican merengue. Introduction to the classical era via the work of Joseph Bologne, earliest Western concert composer of African descent, and introduction to form in traditional Japanese music. “Giselle” introduced via all-African American “Creole Giselle” production.
  • Introduction to Dance Theatre of Harlem. Discussions of Alvin Ailey’s “Revelations,” and the African American spiritual. Discussion of Chinese-American choreographer Shen Wei’s “The Rite of Spring.”

Guest faculty, choreographers, lecturers

  • Da'Von Doane, guest teaching artist, fall semester
  • Lauren Alzamora, guest teaching artist, fall semester
  • Laura Gutierrez, guest teaching artist, fall semester
  • Gaspard Louis, guest choreographer, fall semester
  • Theresa Ruth Howard, diversity strategist
  • Ioana Alfonso, acting for dancers on film lecture
Da’Von Doane, guest teaching artist, fall semester   |  Former company artist with Dance Theatre of HarlemLauren Alzamora, guest teaching artist, fall semester  |  Former dancer with Ballet Hispanico and UNCSA alumnaLaura Gutierrez, guest teaching artist, fall semester  |  Performing artist, choreographer and UNCSA alumnaGaspard Louis, guest choreographer, fall semester  |  Founder and artistic director of Gaspard and DancersTheresa Ruth Howard, diversity strategist  |   Former company artist with Dance Theatre of Harlem and faculty member at the Ailey School. Led interactive discussions and lectures with faculty and students regarding equity, diversity and inclusion. Ioana Alfonso, acting for dancers on film lecturer   |  Actor, dancer and director. Led interactive lectures on acting for dancers on film with students as well as coaching for the filed production of “The Nutcracker.”

Dance Costume Shop

The Dance Costume Shop cquired tights and undergarments in a wide range of skin tones and provided guidance to students for purchasing skin-toned garments. Also provided guidance in painting shoes to match students’ skin tone. 

 

March 05, 2021