“There are plenty of students who come to Carolina for a Carolina education that also want to continue with their studies in dance and can really enhance whatever major they decide to have here,” she said.
Currently, dance courses offered at UNC are categorized as PHYA and housed within the Exercise and Sports Science Department. They do not fulfill general education requirements and only provide students with one credit hour that cannot be used toward graduation.
Tatreau said she has tried to increase the presence of dance on campus by creating intersections in other departments, like communication and dramatic art. These efforts are challenging without a home department that supports the needs of dance.
“It’s not really supported administratively in a way that makes it sustainable for me as a faculty member,” she said.
Tatreau has, however, had relatively consistent involvement with the Department of Dramatic Art, where the proposed minor would be housed. Adam Versényi, the department chairperson, said the minor would be a rich addition to the arts offerings they already provide.
“I think everybody recognizes that this is something that both students and faculty have wanted to implement for a number of years now,” he said.
Versényi said the only thing standing in the minor’s way is a lack of funding to support the two full-time faculty positions necessary to run it.
“As soon as the faculty members are here and teaching, there’s no reason it couldn’t be up and running,” he said.
The minor would offer classes in modern dance, ballet and a dance history class to provide students with an understanding of technique, as well as cultural context for dance.
Elizabeth Engelhardt, the senior associate dean for fine arts and humanities, said it is important that when the college sets up a new minor, it is supported by sustainable funds so students who start the program can finish it.
When asked about the efforts being made to find funding for the minor, Engelhardt said, “We have donors who are alumni who care about performing arts. We just have to continue to build our relationship with those people.”
UNC senior Amanda Monroe is a global studies major, but has been a dancer her whole life. She said she thinks the University gives significant funding to things that already have a lot of money.
“I came to UNC because there are so many great things about it," Monroe said. "But not having a dance program was definitely a huge hit and something that I thought about when considering schools."
She has taken some of the PHYA courses, but turned to student dance organizations like Modernextension Dance Company as a means to keep dance a part of her life.
While these clubs are fun and provide students with a space to dance, Monroe said the lack of expertise and feedback from professional instructors is a definite drawback.
“Every single person who I’ve met through some sort of dance avenue, whether it’s a PHYA class or through a company, would absolutely love a dance minor,” Monroe said.
Vivian Karamitros, a sophomore at UNC majoring in statistics and analytics, is also a life-long dancer who was shocked to discover there was not a dance program at the University.
“I think that the arts are just as valuable as sciences,” Karamitros said.
She said dance provides her with a gateway to self-expression, as well as relief from her stressful major. Like Monroe, Karamitros realizes there are challenges to making a new program.
“It takes a while for big changes to happen, and I think having a dance program is a big change,” Karamitros said. “But I also think it's necessary.”
Even so, Tatreau has a lot of frustration about the drawn out process, and said she has seen no growth in the program in the time she has taught at UNC.
“I'm in my seventh year here," Tatreau said. "So, I'm kind of like ‘How many more years can I really wait this out?’”