The School of Creative and Performing Arts and the faculty of kinesiology are partnering to provide students with a new combined bachelor of arts in dance and bachelor of kinesiology degree program.
The program — officially announced during the opening night of Dance Montage on Nov. 21 — will begin fall 2014.
The joint faculty initiative is designed to help students complete both degrees in five years with both faculties helping plan student curriculums and academic schedules.
Anne Flynn, a professor of dance in both the School of Creative and Performing Arts and the faculty of kinesiology, says she has met students from the dance program who have had to prolong their time at university an extra two years after graduating in order to complete the coursework required for the second degree in kinesiology.
“You would be co-ordinating all of that on your own as a student,” Flynn said.
Working in both programs, Flynn said she runs into a number of kinesiology majors who were dancers by training but pursued a kinesiology degree because it provided greater job opportunities.
“There are pockets of students inside the dance department who are oriented towards the sciences,” Flynn said, “and then pockets of kinesiology students who are really oriented towards dancing.”
She said providing a combined degree makes sense, as the two programs are similar.
“Dancing is a movement activity and it is not like they study really different things,” Flynn said. “Motor learning, biomechanics, exercise physiology, sport psychology — all of those things are applicable to dancing. Dancing is a performance form — it is a physical-based performance form just like sport.”
Flynn hopes that an interdisciplinary arts and science program will change the profession with a new generation of dance students.
A science background will also help dance students who decide to pursue further education. Flynn said becoming a physiotherapist is easier with a science degree from kinesiology — a career path some dance students choose to pursue.
Flynn said current undergraduate students are already asking about transferring into the program.
Of the six Canadian universities that offer degrees in performance dance, the U of C is the first to provide a program that helps students complete degrees in both dance and kinesiology in five years.
Students will be required to meet the admission requirements of both the faculty of kinesiology and the dance program, including prerequisites in math and science, as well as the dance program’s audition process.