In 2016, Columbus State University's Department of Theatre began offering a minor in dance for its students. The program has grown exponentially since, and now has nearly 40 students enrolled.
To get a minor in dance at CSU, students must complete 15 credit hours. These credits encompass nine mandatory credits in technique, anatomy, dance history, composition and performance. In addition, they must have five additional credits in different dance style technique classes, and one credit in a fitness class. Through the minor's academic path, dancers are exposed to ballet, modern, jazz, dance for theatre, ballroom dancing, pilates, yoga, and zumba.
Due to the unprecedented growth at the university for a minor degree plan, the dance program offers scholarships to their students. It is the only minor track at the university that offers scholarships to participants every year. This weekend, CSU will host their annual Spring Swing where they will award next year's scholarships to 15 students and announce how the $10,000 in scholarships will be distributed.
To learn more about the program's progress over the past three years and where it's headed in the future we corresponded with Patty Taylor, Chair for the CSU Dance Advisory Board. Read on to discover how the program has experienced over 300% growth, what the program entails, and why Taylor thinks the Spring Swing is the event of the season.
Q: What has changed about CSU's Dance Minor program this year? How has it grown?
A: The CSU Dance Minor started in the fall of 2016 with just 13 minors and 35 students. After just 6 semesters the program has increased the enrollment to 44 minors and 111 students. This is over a 300% growth. The Dance Minor registration is now in the top 10 of all minor programs at CSU.
Q: How does this particular event directly impact CSU's dance students?
A: For the first time we will present $10,000 in scholarship money to 15 Dance Minor students. Ten $500 scholarships and five $1000 scholarships will be awarded at SPRING SWING on Saturday to be applied to their 2019 fall tuition. We are the only minor program at CSU honoring students with scholarship money at this time.
Q: What is your role in the program? Has it changed since last year?
A: I am the Chair of the CSU Dance Advisory Board and through this board serve as an event planner for both of our Dance Minor fundraising events - SPRING SWING and THE BROADWAY BALL held this year on November 22nd.
I have been involved first as the program innovator and consultant and then as a board member since the programs inception.
Q: How do you hope to see the program continue to grow in the years to come?
A: In the near future our goal is to provide a CSU Dance Major. Presently the Minor is under the Dept. of Theatre, with our vision eventually being a separate Department of Dance within the CSU College of the Arts. We have just hired a Director of Dance and Assistant Professor of Dance with a MFA in Ballet and Modern. We plan to grow our faculty shortly to persons with expertise in other styles of dance such as jazz, tap, and musical theatre. This will allow us to attain our mission of a unique and stellar dance program providing southeastern and beyond students with training in all dance forms.
Q: What are you looking forward to most about this year's annual Spring Swing? Why should locals come?
A: Spring Swing is a fun evening of great food, marvelous music and delightful entertainment. Locals can enter the Couples Dance Contest and win terrific gift card prizes of $25, $50 and $100. And our feature attraction for the evening is the awarding of the CSU Cougar Dance Cup Championship.
Three local community 4 person teams have been rehearsing their choreographed and coached routines since January and will perform in front of a distinguished panel of judge couples including our Mayor, a retired Aflac executive and the RiverCenter executive director. The audience is full of cheering supporters and enthusiastic friends. Please browse our website and vote for your favorite team!
For more information on Columbus State University's Dance program, visit their website or call 706-507-8400. ◼︎
If You Go:
What: CSU Spring Swing Party
When: April 27, 6:30 p.m. - 11 p.m.
Where: Ranking Livery & Courtyard
Cost: $10 per person, ages 16 and up