Dance is a great outlet for some CSUN students like Danielle Jarvis who views it as an art form.
‘It provides an opportunity to try something new and if it weren’t here or offered [a student] might not have discovered their love for it,’ she said.
Jarvis is among many students at CSUN who has experienced the joy of’ having a performing arts program at the university.
‘The program has become a lot bigger creatively,’ she said. ‘And it’s growing.’
Paula Thomson, associate professor of the College of Health and Human Development in the Department of Kinesiology, said the program is a great place to meet others and share in their experiences.
‘There is that communal of dancers that interact from freshman through senior year,’ she said. ‘They get to share advice and information about each other.’
Thomson also mentioned the department works with other art departments on different performances throughout the school year.
‘ ‘We collaborate with music, theatre and other disciplines in the fall and spring when we have our performances,’ she said. ‘Again, it’s that communal nature.’
Currently, the Department of Kinesiology offers not only a major in Kinesiology with a specialty in dance, which Thomson referred to as the dance option, but also a dance minor that is available for students obtaining a BA or BS with a major in another discipline.
Students seeking graduate school and want to continue their education in the dance minor can apply to the MS-Kinesiology.
If they desire to focus on dance, the students at the master’s level may wish to create an in disciplinary master’s that reflects their interest in dance or they can direct their studies in Kinesiology and integrate dance as a focus.
Susan McManus, a graduate student looking to get her master’s in dance science who has her bachelor’s in multi-media production, said she didn’t have an interest in dance until she got to college.
‘It is the most important thing,’ she said. ‘There are so many things that we do on a daily basis that are mundane, if I didn’t have something else to express myself I wouldn’t know what to do.’
‘As a culture we seem to value the hard sciences [math or science] and devalue the arts,’ she said. ‘Over and over the arts show a huge part in improving learning and I trust everything positive comes from the arts,’ she said.
Some might share the same opinion. According to the National Endowment for the Arts, $19.8 million in one-time grants will be provided as part of President Barack Obama’s stimulus package. The grants will go to state and regional arts agencies in an effort to prop up the arts sector of the economy. Those agencies will then decide to appropriate the funds to organizations in the performing visual and literary arts.
‘Living the Arts through Language + Learning: A Report on Community-based Youth Organizations,’ says young people who participate in the arts for at least three hours on three days each week for at least one full year are four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement, three times more likely to be elected to class office within their schools, four’ times more likely to participate in a math and science fairs and’ four times more likely to win an award for writing an essay or poem.
Even new television reality shows are promoting the importance of arts in schools such as the television network MTV and its show ‘Taking the Stage.’
The reality show follows five teens attending the School for Creative and Performing Arts in Cincinnati, Ohio as they pursue their dreams ranging from ballet, hip-hop dancing and singing and songwriting.
Evan Rosenblatt, a senior dance major, said mainstream society lacks the knowledge of just how important the arts are and what it can do for an individual.
‘Mainstream society today, is ignorant at what the arts try to do,’ he said. ‘It looks and finds the truth by doing or taking away these programs it develops less rounded individuals.’
Thomson had never heard of the show but only had one word to say about the show’mdash;’fantastic.’ ‘