Posted December 18, 2012
Idaho State University will offer a bachelor's degree in dance beginning fall 2013. The new major is the only one of its kind offered within Idaho's university system.
Dance ISU is housed in the Department of Theatre and Dance within the School of Performing Arts in the College of Arts and Letters. It has been under the direction of Associate Professor Joséphine A. Garibaldi since 2008.
"I am very proud of the dance major we have developed over these past four years," says Garibaldi. "It provides students with an education in dance and the performing arts that empowers them for the realities of the 21st century.
"When I arrived here," continued Garibaldi, "I was struck by the vitality and energy of the dance program. As the dance major curriculum was put into place four years ago and the students believed in the major as much as I did, we will have students who will graduate the first semester the degree becomes official."
ISU dance students expressed their enthusiasm for the new major.
"As a student in the dance program, I have been encouraged, nourished, and challenged to become both a better dancer and artist," said student Julie Leir-VanSickle. "I have been given opportunities to collaborate with the music, theatre and mass communication departments, all of which has helped to expand my sense of possibility and to begin exploring ways that I can create collaborations among my peers and community. Along with the physical challenges of improving my dance technique, I have found the academic course work in the dance department to be very intellectually stimulating and thought provoking."
According to Garibaldi, the Bachelor of Arts Degree in dance at ISU will provide a liberal arts-based approach to the study of the theatrical art of dance as a unique discipline within a collaborative, interconnected setting.
"Critical to a liberal arts education are creative and critical thinking skills, communication skills, collaborative working skills, interdisciplinary connections and cross-cultural explorations," Garibaldi said.
She said the major might lead to professional careers in dance and theater performance and choreography. It may also serve as a basis for graduate study or open up possibilities to job opportunities in fields such as costume, makeup, light, and set design, sound design, dance history, dance medicine and science, dance and physical therapy, performance studies, dance ethnology, dance arts writing, research and criticism, dance photography and videography.
"With the diverse and stellar roster of faculty, we are able to offer coursework in teaching dance in K-12 settings and as well as provide sound pedagogical and entrepreneurial training for those planning to open their own dance studio or those considering incorporating into a not-for-profit arts organization," Garibaldi said. "Related fields, such as arts administration, arts therapies, production and company management and music also offer positions for the individual trained in dance."
The dance program at ISU began under the umbrella of the physical education program in the College of Education. With Marcia Lloyd at the helm, dance was developed into an education minor program within physical education in 1991. In 2004, the dance program moved into the newly established Department of Theatre and Dance. Under the direction of Melanie Kloetzel, from 2004 to 2007, the dance education minor expanded to include an emphasis in performance and choreography.
"I am thrilled with the approval of the dance major," said Lloyd, who retired from ISU in 2001. "When I first arrived in 1976, only three dance courses were offered. After 36 years, at long last, the dance major is here."