Professor Ken Gardner and Professor Barbara Wegher-Thompson were essential in the creation of the new dance minor. The process of implementing it took over three years, and had to be voted on by the rest of the Cal Lutheran faculty.
“It is a real big boom for the department, as we are trying to push musical theater and dance is a vital part of that,” Gardner said.
There were various reasons that adding the minor was such a lengthy process. One of them was the need of support.
“Additionally, there was a dance committee with nine members that helped with the process for the past three years,” Wegher-Thompson said.
Another piece of the puzzle was academic integration toward a practical curriculum.
“We brought it together with some already-existing classes but it needed more academic meat on it, so Barbara created an Introduction to Dance class that is sort of a culminating class because of its academic elements along with its dance instruction and practice,” Gardner said.
According to Gardner, there will likely be an increase in recruitment for the musical theatre program, which will help its growth and development. Next, according to Wegher-Thompson, it opens many opportunities to perform and learn dance at a collegiate level.
Not only will the students practice dance, but they will learn about dance history and how it has progressed over decades, and be able to use their creativity to come up with their own choreography.
Sophomore Amy Craig was initially skeptical about coming to Cal Lutheran because there was no dance minor. However, Wegher-Thompson told her the minor was coming and then she knew there was a future here for her and her passion for dance.
“Dance lets you become someone and do something that you wouldn’t typically expect,” Craig said. “I feel like it’s something everyone needs to try at least once. It is something to have fun with, and can be a stress-reliever from heavy course loads.”