Faculty to Approve Dance Minor

On Feb. 13 faculty members will decide if a dance minor will be offered at California Lutheran University starting fall semester 2017.

Since the 1990s, Theatre Arts Professor Kenneth Gardner and Senior Adjunct Faculty Member Barbara Wegher-Thompson were interested in developing a dance minor. It was not until five years ago that they proposed the idea to Joan Griffin, the outgoing dean of College of Arts and Sciences.

There have been many dance classes that have recently become available to students. Wegher-Thompson created an Introduction to Dance class over the course of a year, which would be a required course for the minor.

Wegher-Thompson spent a long time researching and developing the class.

“It is the study of the entire human race because every culture has had dance for different reasons. To get it into one semester and have it be active was quite a thing to create,” Wegher-Thompson said.

In addition, the course Choreography has been added, giving students the opportunity to choreograph dance numbers for the “Moving Images” concert.

Wegher-Thompson said that some students have taken many dance classes but are graduating in May. They want to obtain the dance minor, but it will not be implemented until September if it is passed. Wegher-Thompson said that students might be able to retroactively declare the minor if they’ve taken enough credits.

Senior Kristina Albarian, who is a part of the Dance Multicultural Club, has been interested in minoring in dance since her first year.

She has taken many dance classes at Cal Lutheran, and has accumulated a total of 12 elective credits. If the dance minor becomes official, she said she is willing to change her schedule in order to reach the 18 credits necessary for the dance minor.

“It would be proof that I’ve actually done something meaningful. If you want to do something dance related, it would be nice to have credibility,” Albarian said.

Wegher-Thompson said she wants Albarian to be able to obtain a minor in dance.

“She has literally been one of the people that has been the wind beneath my wings. There are people who will benefit from it because it will help them to market themselves in a way that will provide for them the outcome that they want from their college education,” Wegher-Thompson said.

If the dance minor gets passed, Wegher-Thompson said she believes that more people will choose to attend Cal Lutheran.

“I think in time, especially once we get this minor in place and we begin to develop it even further as the years go by, people will pick CLU because it does have this opportunity to dance and to do so in a way that has an impact on your transcript and diploma,” Wegher-Thompson said.

Gardner said that many prospective students are interested in the dance program at Cal Lutheran.

“We have students auditioning for performing arts scholarships and most of them are interested in musical theatre,” Gardner said. “Many of them ask what the dance program is like so it’s an added incentive for us. It will help our actors.”

Gardner believes that dancing is an important skill for actors to learn.

“Someone once told me ‘you really need to sing and dance and if you can act that’s a nice added benefit,’” Gardner said.

In the “Drowsy Chaperone,” a theatre production performed last school year, the two male leads in the play had to learn a complicated tap dance number for the show.

“Drowsy Chaperone” was the first big dance show that we’ve done in a long time because we had a lot of people who could dance,” Gardner said.

Both Gardner and Wegher-Thompson said they are optimistic about the dance minor becoming official and hope that it will give students the credibility they need to be successful.

By Kate Artmann
Staff Writer