BY: ANNA PRENTISS , RODRIGO SANTA MARIA, JASMINE HUR, SAVANNAH PARTLOW
Florida State University’s School of Dance is one of the top programs in the nation, according to Backstage Magazine, a leading entertainment industry trade publication.
Backstage ranked FSU’s dance program No. 4 nationally while touting the school’s outstanding facilities, skill-building curriculum, performance opportunities for dancers, post-college prep and notable alumni.
“This industry publication is largely centered in New York City, a major hub for dance in the world,” said James Frazier, dean of the College of Fine Arts. “For FSU to appear in that ranking as highly as we did is really something to be proud of.”
Backstage covers the performing arts from the perspective of the artists themselves. Apart from facilitating the casting and auditioning processes, Backstage also writes stories on important buzz in the industry.
“It always feels good to be acknowledged for the work we do here at the School of Dance,” said Anjali Austin, chair of the school. “This recognition speaks to the strength of our faculty and the quality of the experience we offer our students.”
“This recognition speaks to the strength of our faculty and the quality of the experience we offer our students.”
— Anjali Austin, chair of the School of Dance
Backstage also singled out the school’s world-class practice facilities, including its six studio spaces, a conditioning studio, a costume shop, centers for music and technology, a black box theatre and the fully equipped proscenium Nancy Smith Fichter Dance Theatre.
Notable alumni Jawole Willa Jo Zoller, founder of Urban Bush Women; Broadway performer Yeman Brown; and Lela Aisha Jones, founder of the Lela Aisha Jones FlyGround, were highlighted in the ranking as an example of what FSU dance students can achieve.
“We have an incredible roster of alumni,” Frazier said. “This speaks to the quality of our program in terms of teaching. The instructors we have are really committed to training and developing scholars, artists, choreographers and dancers.”
FSU’s rigorous dance BFA program allows students to explore performance and choreography, as well as pedagogy, history and aesthetics. Through the two unique programs — Arts in NYC and FSU Dance in Paris — students can immerse themselves in the culture and interact with industry professionals, attend masterclasses, take courses and perform for audiences.
The rankings news comes as FSU’s School of Dance rings in its 90/60/20 Celebration, honoring 90 years of Dance at FSU, 60 years of dance degrees and 20 years since the founding of the Maggie Allesse National Center for Choreography, or MANCC.
The school plans to honor the alumni, current students, faculty and staff who contributed to the program’s growth through a yearlong slate of events.
MANCC is the world’s first national center for choreography, located in a major research institution. MANCC offers opportunities for contemporary choreographers to hone their artistic practice and develop new work inside a creative community that offers opportunities for FSU dance students to work with these artists directly or perform in their work.
Through annual events like Days of Dance and Evening of Dance, FSU students apply what they have learned and showcase their abilities while performing before audiences.
“There are other programs with deep and rich histories on that list, so we’re just really proud to be in the company of those programs,” Frazier said. “The rankings are one thing, but the idea of being known for the company you keep or the people and institutions you’re placed alongside becomes meaningful. It’s a great list of schools. To have Florida State featured prominently in that list makes me proud.”
For more information on the School of Dance, visit dance.fsu.edu.