The Peabody Conservatory announced that it will be offering a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Dance earlier this summer. The program is the first of its kind at the institute and is expected to launch in the 2018-2019 academic year.
Abra Bush, the senior associate dean of institute studies at the Peabody Institute, wrote in an email to The News-Letter that the University saw a need to create a specific BFA program.
“Based on our market research, we identified a need in the field and a competitive advantage for Peabody as a school of the Johns Hopkins University for collegiate dance students to explore the interconnections between dance, music, science, and medicine,” she wrote.
She stated that the students in the BFA program will be able to pursue dance in addition to other disciplines.
“Students in the program will also have opportunities to develop expertise in other areas, including composition, citizen artistry, performing arts medicine, movement therapy and non-traditional approaches to pedagogy,” she wrote.
danah bella, an internationally renowned dancer and artistic director of modern dance company d a n a h b e l l a DanceWorks, will lead the BFA program. bella’s educational background includes a BA in Dance at University of California, Santa Barbara, and a master’s degree in Performance at Ohio State University.
The Peabody Institute currently offers dance classes through the Peabody Preparatory, which continues to offer non-degree programs through various summer program intensives and collaborations with the community.
“The current Dance Preparatory program serves dancers in the community while the new BFA Dance program will be one of Peabody Institute’s Conservatory degree offerings,” bella wrote in an email to The News-Letter. “BFA Dance students will be engaged in collaborative creative and embodied research, bridging the study of dance, science, technology and the humanities.”
According to The Baltimore Sun, the BFA in Dance is currently pending approval by the Maryland Higher Education Commission and aims to teach students to study dance through an interdisciplinary form.
“I am looking forward to witnessing the growth of globally engaged citizen dancers and dance makers,” bella wrote. “I’m excited to see how they choose to connect with local communities, other artists and other disciplines.”
bella wrote that she is looking forward to what the new program will offer, specifically the Guest Artist Residence.
“The BFA Dance program will have a robust Guest Artist in Residence series,” bella wrote. “Students will be able to participate in master classes and engage in conversation with the artist at open rehearsals and lectures. Additionally, students will have opportunities to collaborate on research and perform in student work.”
Bush noted that while the program is open to all Hopkins students, classroom seats are limited.
“While first priority for classes will go to majors in the dance degree program, we welcome students from other campuses of JHU as space is available,” she wrote.
Students at Hopkins expressed their interest for the new program. Sophomore Stan Chu is a member of the Breakers at Hopkins and appreciated the interdisciplinary nature of the BFA.
“I am aware of the social impacts of dance, but would be happy to explore the medical and scientific applications of dance,” he wrote in an email to The News-Letter. “From the program, I would look forward to the performances of course, but also the development of dancers who are more aware of the culture behind their dances.”
Junior Aggie Quesada wished that the program had been offered earlier but is excited that it will now be an option for other students. Quesada has been able to pursue dance through the Modern Dance Company at Hopkins.
“Even though I have been dancing for most of my life, I discovered just how much I loved dance in college. If the degree had been offered when I entered Hopkins, I probably would have sought to become a double major in dance and physics,” Quesada wrote in an email to The News-Letter. “I am glad that future Hopkins dancers will have the opportunity to become a dance major.”