There have long been rumblings about a dance minor on this campus. Every time a new rumor sprang up in the past four years, I, along with many of my peers in the dance community, clung to the news for dear life.
Like so many students whom I have come to know through late night practices on every far flung corner of this campus, I came to UNC unprepared to let go of years of dance classes and performances. I have long felt that enrolling in a dance minor at UNC would be the ideal way to go to the school of my dreams without giving up on a passion that has driven me.
There have been wide-spread movements, and two dance studios have been built on campus. The dance community genuinely believed the Holden Thorp administration when they said the minor would be up and running a year after they approved it in 2013.
This month we found out that budgetary concerns are holding the minor back from being fully realized and appreciated by a community that genuinely wants it. And that is a shame. The realities of budget cuts are often hard to comprehend until they confront you personally.
Despite the scarcity of professional, guided instruction on this campus, in the past four years, I have found my way around the lack of a dance minor through a series of fulfilling outlets. The sheer amount of groups on this campus dedicated to creating innovative and creative dance pieces is amazing.
However, the vast majority of groups on this campus are student-led. While I appreciate everything I’ve learned from my peers, nothing can ever beat instruction from a well-trained professional.
When Gov. Pat McCrory spoke openly about his derision for the liberal arts, our campus felt targeted and bonded together in our distaste for his comments.
Yet somehow, in the midst of these discussions, our lack of a serious commitment to dance on this campus did not come up. I can think of no better time to bolster our responsibility to the arts — as the flagship school of the UNC-system — than when our system faces criticism and scorn from those who do not care about education in the arts. If there ever was a time to go full throttle, it would be now.
They will say that the lack of existing faculty is a nail in the coffin for the dance minor, but I and my peers who have petitioned for years for this minor, will only see this as an excuse standing in the way of something great.
North Carolina is a gold mine of creative talent, in dancers and those who teach it. This minor is worth the time, money and effort. Chancellor Carol Folt should listen to the hundreds of unfulfilled dancers at this University to continue the work Holden Thorp could not finish.
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