As USC’s newest institution, the Glorya Kaufman School of Dance has quickly created a distinguished program for dancers across all genres. Since its founding in 2012, talented dancers have flocked to this program, including several members of the Miniotics, a youth dance team that has competed in numerous competitions across the United States. The most intriguing part of Kaufman, however, is not the talent of its dance majors, rather the diversity of students pursuing dance minors.
Kaufman’s dance minor has come a long way since its inception; the program has grown dramatically from merely eight students to 105 this past year. Students minoring in dance come from a variety of majors, from history scholars in the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences to chemical engineers in the Viterbi School of Engineering. In total, 49 different majors comprise the 105-person dance minor this year. No prior experience is necessary to minor in dance, and USC students seem to take full advantage of that.
Although Kaufman only offers three minor programs, each student has a different reason for pursuing dance.
For Sunshine Liu, a sophomore majoring in chemical engineering, it was about achieving a personal goal and finding a niche. Liu had no dancing experience prior to coming to USC, but that did not deter her from her passion for dancing.
“My senior year of high school I set a goal for myself: I wanted to dance,” Liu said. “No matter which university I ended up at, I knew that I wanted to be a part of the dance community. Luckily for me, USC offers dance courses to non-majors, which I quickly took advantage of, and also has many different dance clubs for various styles and levels of skill, making it easy for anyone to be a part of the dance community.”
For Sean Buckley, a sophomore majoring in environmental science and health, dance has always been an integral part of his life.
“I have been dancing my whole life basically. Mostly tap and ballroom with a little bit of ballet, jazz, and hip hop,” Buckley said.
After seriously considering and deciding against dance as a major, Buckley turned to environmental science and marine biology as a major.
“I still wanted to dance at USC and be a part of the amazing new dance program, so a minor seemed like the perfect thing to do,” Buckley said.
Student reasons for pursuing the minor range from stress relief to learning something new to continuing a hobby. No matter what their skill level is going into the minor, every student will finish their curriculum having learned something new.
“I’d have to say that [dance] has been a great way to open up my dance knowledge as a whole,” Buckley said. “Not only through dance studies lectures and other elective lectures like choreography in theater, but [because] I’m able to really easily take dance styles like jazz, ballet and hip hop that I really have very little knowledge of and that I know will improve my dancing in all disciples.”