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Updated: Sep 1, 2022

Teaching this course strictly through the lens of Ballet would perpetuate the idea that Ballet is more important than other dance forms, negate the value of other dances and fail to educate students on dance forms created here in America (Modern dance, Jazz, and Hip Hop, etc). It would have been a case of successfully failing at diversity and inclusivity. The creation of Modern dance is sometimes seen as a rebellious act against the Institution of Ballet and its politics. Now some of you may say but it’s beautiful and it has a wonderful technique, and to that, I reply, name me a dance form that is absent of technique. I view dance as a physical yet ephemeral manifestation of a culture. Dance is not just the movement but the unspoken thing within the movement that allows for the transmission of ideas that can not always be put into words. There is a meaning behind the movement. There is a reason why that ballet dancer is standing where they are and how they are. Similar to court dances of Africa and Asia, the movements in Ballet are gestures that hold history. But Ballet also encompasses traces of folkloric dances, so to me, it seems very rude not to discuss Folkloric/ Vernacular Dance forms in a Dance History course. I’ve accepted this challenge to change the curriculum, it is most certainly work and I have struggled a few times, but that’s how we grow.

There are too many forms of dance to name or count, so there is no way for me to cover all dance forms in a semester or even a year. I had to forgive myself for not knowing more and have found a way to carve out space for me to learn while the students are learning. During the course, students are asked to give a group presentation on a dance form they researched. For the group presentation students are allowed to either pick from my suggestions or choose one of their own. The addition of choice to the project helped diversify the options allowing everyone in the course to learn, including myself.


The takeaway/lesson, if you don’t like something take an action towards changing it. You are the only person you can control in this world, and what you do matters. Change doesn’t happen overnight but it happens. We’ve seen a lot of things over the past few months, and I feel that we all recognize the importance of taking action that leads us to happier personal lives and society and recognizes and respects all of its members. In the words of the wonderful Dr. Angela Davis: I am no longer accepting the things I can not change, I am changing the things I can not accept.

What can you no longer accept?

What change will you make?

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