University announces new school of dance


USC President C. L. Max Nikias announced Friday that philanthropist Glorya Kaufman gave the university a monetary gift that will fund the creation of the USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance and construction of the Glorya Kaufman International Dance Center.

The Kaufman School of Dance is the first school to be created by an endowment at USC in almost four decades. Though the university did not disclose the exact amount of the donation, Nikias called it a “generous gift” in a statement.

With the addition of the Kaufman School of Dance, USC will have a total of six schools of the arts in its repertoire, “completing USC’s vibrant portfolio of visual and performing arts programs,” as Nikias said in the statement. Other fine arts schools at USC include the School of Architecture, School of Cinematic Arts, School of Dramatic Arts, Roski School of Fine Arts and Thornton School of Music.

Robert Cutietta, who is currently also the dean of the Thornton School of Music, will head the school. Kaufman’s gift will not only build the school, but will also help fund its programs, faculty, scholarships and student recruitment.

The dance school will offer classes in various forms of dance performance, such as classical ballet, jazz, world dance and modern.

Students in the Kaufman School of Dance will earn a bachelor of fine arts in dance with the ability to double major or minor in other areas of their choosing.

Kaufman hopes the school will prepare dancers not only for their performance career, but also for the work they will have to do promoting themselves in order to be cast, according to Nikias.

“She has expressed her twofold wish to prepare dancers to be both exceptional performers and skilled businesspeople, to equip them to ably navigate the professional aspects of an artist’s life,” Nikias said in the statement.

Kaufman’s relationship with the new dance school will add prestige because of her affiliation with the world of dance. Kaufman founded the Glorya Kaufman Presents Dance at The Music Center program in Los Angeles, and has contributed considerable donations to the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and The Juilliard School.

Kaufman also previously donated $18 million to UCLA in 1999 to fund improvements to the renovations of its School of Arts and Architecture building, although she was ultimately unsatisfied with how the university used her gift.

“I was disappointed in UCLA,” Kaufman told the Los Angeles Times. “They don’t have a dance school. It was all talk.”

At USC, however, Nikias said focusing on the success of the Kaufman School will be a priority.

“Our ambition is to make the USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance the most elite on the west coast and in the Pacific Rim,” he said in the statement.

The first generation of Kaufman dance students is expected to enroll in the fall of 2015.

  • Jim T

    LOL…I don’t think there is a University anywhere that doesn’t “chase after $50 million donations”.

    The University has been clear in its goal to become one of the few undisputed elite universities in the world.

  • Tim

    Not being critical, just curious:
    Does the University have any firm long term goals, or do they just chase after $50 million donations?