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The uneasy, unexplored, and under-examined existence of Ballet in American higher education
Research in Dance Education  (IF),  Pub Date : 2021-07-30, DOI: 10.1080/14647893.2021.1960300


Ballet programs were established in universities in the United States as early as the late-1940s, but are generally omitted from the story of dance in American higher education. This essay partially addresses this absence in the literature, speculates about the reasons for ballet’s limited legacy in the story of dance in American higher education, and describes how the lack of import given to ballet resulted in the formation of CORPS de Ballet International, an academic organization whose mission specifically aims to support ballet in higher education. A relatively young academic discipline, little has been written about dance’s disciplinary formation and evolution. The existing literature focuses almost exclusively on a handful of early programs, organizations, and pioneering educators, emphasizing modern dance and its roots in academe. Since modern dance educators were the voices involved in the early curricular development and evolution of dance as an academic discipline, including the formation of the accrediting body National Association of the School of Dance (NASD), it is logical that modern dance would figure prominently in any discussion of dance in higher education. However, this article addresses how ingrained practices and philosophies have unintentionally perpetuated certain ideologies that result in the homogenization of American dance curricula.