USC Kaufman’s “New Movement”

The USC Kaufman School of Dance is poised to transform the world of dance education.

March 03, 2016 Jessica Raymond

USC TRUSTEE GLORYA KAUFMAN couldn’t be happier to see construction begin for the future home of USC’s newest school, the USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance.

“It is my hope that this magnificent building will be a place where dance students can express themselves and explore new ways to enhance the art of dance in the 21st century,” said Kaufman at the May groundbreaking.

As the USC Glorya Kaufman International Dance Center rises this fall, so grows the school’s teaching philosophy. USC Kaufman’s innovative educational model, dubbed the New Movement, will combine rigorous dance training with a fluid and interdisciplinary curriculum. The program will also encourage students to cross disciplines through partnerships with the USC School of Cinematic Arts and the USC Thornton School of Music.

“By working side by side with people in media and in music, our students will be the creators of the next wave of art in dance,” said USC Kaufman Dean Robert A. Cutietta.

The interdisciplinary aspects of the New Movement approach will nurture versatile performers and insightful choreographers, while also cultivating well-rounded individuals who can use their training in a broad range of fields.

“Maybe our students will work in the nonprofit sector or create dance-related outreach programs in after-school programs. Maybe they will develop new art forms or create new jobs, such as choreography for animation or physical therapy that is specific to dancers,” said Jodie Gates, the school’s vice dean and director. “There are endless possibilities for how they will make a difference in our society.”

Expect unique faculty and student research projects through partnerships with USC Dornsife’s Brain and Creativity Institute and Cedars-Sinai/USC Glorya Kaufman Dance Medicine Center.And USC Kaufman students will work with professional dancers through the school’s relationship with Glorya Kaufman Presents Dance at the Music Center, which brings several major companies to Los Angeles each year.

The school’s doors also will open to students beyond USC Kaufman. Courses for nondance majors and dance-related minors will invite USC’s entire student population to experience the art of movement. “I want students across our campus to understand how dance can help them think differently and lead them to innovation,” Gates said.

The open invitation begins with the center itself. Architect William Murray of Pfeiffer Partnersdesigned a building with graceful lines to evoke the form of dance. The ground floor will contain five dance studios, including two for non-dance majors. The second and third floors will house dressing rooms, a wellness center and space for future classrooms. The top floor’s collaborative workspace will be open 24 hours a day for dance majors.

Another feature is the Wall of Firsts, which will commemorate milestones in the school’s history—and they plan to have many. With construction just started, leaders announced that esteemed choreographer William Forsythe will join the faculty for the school’s entering class in 2015. Said Gates, “There is a renaissance happening in the dance field, and we will lead the way.”

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