Columbus State University College of the Arts has been at the core of the Uptown Columbus evolution. Yet, no college art department is complete without a Department of Dance.
Patty Taylor, owner and operator of Academy of Fine Arts Dance Center for 45 years, approached Dr. Richard Baxter, Dean of Arts at Columbus State University, to add the missing link, a dance department, to CSU.
If you know Patty, and the long list of activism and innovation that she has championed for our city, then you know the next step was to make her the Chairperson of the Board of Advisors for Columbus State University’s new Dance Minor Program.
The community, and region, has seen the steady growth of educational opportunities at CSU. Continuing the growth at the RiverPark campus in Uptown Columbus, The Dance Department will be the fifth department in the CSU College of Arts and will begin as a minor (they are moving towards making it a major).
Just to give you a review of the world-class programs that have already been established under the College of Arts, these are the other four departments:
Schwob School of Music is internationally known, and attended, while being recognized as one of the finest music departments in the country.
The Department of Art continues to evolve and expand rapidly, with the upcoming addition of the Bo Bartlett Center and the restoration of Pasaquan (2016 CNN voted top 16 intriguing sites to see in USA).
Department of Theater has doubled in the last couple of years and became fully accredited with commendation by the National Association of Schools of Theatre.
Department of Communications recently brought in Georgia Film Academy, one of only three in the state to be chosen, through a statewide effort to train Georgians for lucrative jobs in the film industry.
“The addition of dance to our curriculum broadens the opportunities for students to receive training in the arts while enhancing the complexity and quality of our musical theatre productions,” said Richard Baxter, dean of CSU’s College of the Arts. “This program adds to the vibrancy of the College of the Arts, and our faculty and students are most appreciative of the donors who made this possible.”
Patty Taylor expands on how important the new Dance Department is, “If you want to work in the industry, you have to be diverse. A director is always looking for talent and a look. The theater kids need to know dance AND music; that is a triple threat. There is a catalog with all the dance programs in the USA and only 75% have ballet and modern dance programs. CSU wants to provide even more training for their students, like jazz, musical theater dance, tap, hip hop, and ball room dance, etc. so their Dance Department will be in the top 25%.”
Oklahoma University is one of the few colleges that produces music theater and commercial dancers in the nation. Patty Taylor explains the significance, “When you graduate from OU you can go to LA for videos, tour with bands, NYC Broadway, you are plum for the picking. We would essentially be at the caliber of OU, east of the Mississippi River, and pull students to CSU from our region.”
Last month Anne Reinking, a super star with an extensive history in dance, added to that sentiment when she visited Columbus, “WOW, if CSU could do what OU has done, then I’m on board!” Reinking is excited about the next step for CSU and thrilled to be involved.
Join the movement this Friday, with dance lovers from all over the region, under the stars to the rhythm of The 10:30 Band, while celebrating the new dance program.
CSU’s Spring Swing is scheduled for Friday, April 29 from 7 p.m. to midnight at Woodruff Park.
There will be food from Epic Restaurant, 11th and Bay Southern Table, Barberitos Southwestern Grille & Cantina, and Country’s Barbecue. A swing dance contest, judged by Damon Free, from PMB Broadcasting, LLC, Dee Armstrong, from The Dee Armstrong Show, and Mayor Teresa Tomlinson!
Admission is $10 at the gate. All proceeds benefit CSU’s new dance minor program. More info here.