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Dance Department now part of BYU College of Fine Arts, Communications

Brigham Young University Academic Vice President John S. Tanner has announced the reassignment of the Department of Dance from the College of Health and Human Performance to the College of Fine Arts and Communications, effective June 1.

“There are natural synergies that tie dance and fine arts together and this move will allow dance to continue to flourish in this environment,” Tanner said.

Lee Wakefield will remain chair of the Department of Dance, and the department will continue to use its facilities in the Richards Building, including the recently remodeled Dance Production Studio.

“There is a close alignment and working relationship with the College of Fine Arts and Communications, and this is seen as an opportunity for the Department of Dance to align more closely in the scholarship and common interests of the arts disciplines,” said Sara Lee Gibb, dean of the College of Health and Human Performance and former chair of the department, in a memo to faculty.

“While we support this action, it is not without a great sense of loss for our college, where the tradition has been rich and congenial,” Gibb said. “In the early history of dance in higher education, the programs and departments typically came under the umbrella of physical education. This is no longer the case across the nation where most units are in fine arts colleges.”

“The department has grown and thrived in the College of Health and Human Performance and it is our hope that there will continue to be appropriate collaboration on research and inquiry and that friendships and good relationships can still be enjoyed,” Gibb said.

“We welcome warmly the Department of Dance,” said Stephen Jones, dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communications. “And we honor the wonderful tradition of excellence the department has developed over many decades. We look forward to the new possibilities of artistic collaboration this merger will enable for our students, faculty and audiences.”

BYU’s Department of Dance has nationally recognized programs in modern dance, ballet, folk dance, children’s dance and ballroom dance, as well as academic offerings in dance history and theory and dance education. The department’s ensembles have traveled extensively throughout the world and garnered a consistent record of international acclaim in competition and performance.

The College of Fine Arts and Communications includes the Departments of Communications, Visual Arts, and Theatre and Media Arts, as well as the School of Music, the Museum of Art and the Division of Design and Production.

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