Saving UNT's Dance Program
Video: Kristine Guevara
Web Article: Hannah Bravenec
On February 25th, UNT Dance students were called into a meeting with the head of the dance and theatre department along with three deans from CLASS as they announced the plan to phase out the dance program. Starting in the fall of 2022, students will no longer be accepted into this program and current dance students will have five years to complete the major.
The department head and deans stated the reasoning as to why they’re phasing out dance is because of low enrollment. However, such a practical field of study requires a lower enrollment in order to keep classes smaller anyways so students can have the individual guidance needed. Little action has been taken to try to improve enrollment numbers as there has been lack of advising and communication for both prospective and current students.
This prompted students to take action to attempt saving UNT’s dance program. Hannah Levenson, a junior majoring in dance, started a petition to convince CLASS to reconsider ending the program. There was also a page made on Instagram called @saveUNTDance where current students and alum could share their testimonies about their time in dance. UNT Sophomore Serena Macias stated in her testimony that UNT dance “has offered me so much love, support, acceptance, and so much more. The department has become a second home and family.” “This program gave me a home. It gave me life. It gave me purpose,” Senior Kylie Marie said as she described how dance impacted her time at UNT. “They taught me how to do cartwheels. They encouraged me to push myself. They held my hand when I was sad or scared. They laughed with me till we couldn’t breathe,” UNT Alumna Drew Ellison Spencer said as she reflected on the connections she made through the dance program.
The dance program has been a sense of community for dancers. They welcomed them with open arms and provided a space that gave them the opportunity to grow in their passion. The erasure of the dance program would not only affect dance students; it would affect students in other arts programs as well such as theatre and music. Keeping dance is essential for students participating in arts to connect with other art forms as well as for dancers to have the chance for success in their future endeavors with their devotion.
You can sign the petition at: https://www.change.org/p/save-unt-dance-program.