Campus consolidation pushes dance students out of studio
Dance students could lose one of two rehearsal spaces next semester to make room for a new museum in the Fine Arts Building, in an effort to consolidate the College of Liberal and Creative Arts.
“There’s much to be lost and little to be gained,” said Matthew McKines, a dance major. “It’s like taking away a writer’s pen and paper.”
The change comes as University officials attempt to unify the LCA into central locations, Interim Dean Daniel Bernardi said in an email. As of now, the college is spread over six different buildings on campus including the Science and HSS buildings, which house political science, history and other departments.
Spaces and classrooms are being moved to accommodate the inclusion of departments not located in Burk Hall, Humanities, Fine Arts and the Creative Arts buildings, including the dance studio in the Fine Arts building, according to Bernardi.
As of now, dance students have two available rehearsal spaces, one in the Gymnasium and the other in the Fine Arts Building. The studio in the gym is bigger, but the second studio has lockers and dressing rooms nearby.
“It’s central to our department,” said Felicia Stiles, a dance major.
If the studio is removed, dance students said they will have to rehearse once a week for extended hours, which will strain their bodies and put them at greater risk of injury. In addition, curriculum may be cut with only one space available for class time due to scheduling issues, according to dance major Sarah Wells.
“(With the studio removed) it will be very difficult for the program to maintain its integrity,” said Wendy Diamond, a dance instructor and lecturer.
With a department composed of two tenure-track professors and 70 majors, the college cannot justify the amount of space used by such a small department, according to Bernardi. Dance students, however, insist they use up every aspect of the studio.
“It’s already cramped in there,” said Stiles. “Taking away a studio will leave us with absolutely no room.”
The dance studio currently resides above the Coppola Theater where music rehearsals have disrupted classes in the theater below. Putting a museum above the theater could take away issues of sound bleeding into lectures.
“This, of course, is not the fault of dance, but, rather, the original design of the building,” said Bernardi. “Yet the space is ideal for a university museum.”
A replacement space has not been found for Spring 2015, which Bernardi said has been a challenge.
“I’m fifty-fifty on our ability to find and prep a space in time for spring,” said Bernardi. “(Somewhere in the) McKenna (Theater) and Knuth (Hall could be used) if we cannot find that space in time. I am 99 percent sure we will find a second dedicated space by Fall 2015. I hope to position dance for growth and investment.”
Students in the dance department said they don’t see the worth in paying full tuition for an insufficient program, even if it’s temporary.
“I’m not about to pay full tuition when I only get half of the curriculum,” said dance major Angelica Trinidad.
Dance students plan on protesting the changes by gathering signatures and sending petitions to the College of Liberal and Creative Arts offices this week.
“We’re not going to go down without a fight,” said McKines.