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UST Brings Dance Back to Campus with METdance Partnership

UST will reintroduce a dance program through a partnership with METdance, one of Houston’s largest dance companies. The development of this proposed dance program is in the works, but UST has let students have a sneak peek into the program this fall by offering a few dance courses as electives. Courses are being held at the METdance Center, offering Ballet I in a morning and evening class.

UST Students taking dance classes: Yicenia Aviles, Kayla Babineaux, Bianca Almanza, Stephanie McSheehyThe Houston METdance company contracts 13 professional dancers a year starting in September and are trained in-house. The METdance complete season includes seven main performances per year in Houston at Discovery Green, Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, MATCH, White Oak Music Hall and the Miller Outdoor Theatre.

In 2016 UST’s Performing and Fine Arts Society suggested a proposed partnership with METdance to offer a program leading to the bachelor of fine arts in dance.  The proposed dance program would expand UST’s performing arts offerings and distinguish UST as the only University in Houston offering a bachelor of fine arts in dance. Nationally, UST would also be the only University endorsed by the Cardinal Newman Society to offer this degree program. 

METdance received the idea of partnering with UST with great enthusiasm.  Jennifer Mabus, a well-known choreographer, dancer and dance educator helped design the program, which the UST faculty and Board approved in June 2018.  

“The hope is for this program to be offered in the Fine Arts & Drama Department,” says Professor Claire McDonald, chair of Fine Arts & Drama at University of St. Thomas “We will offer disciplines such as ballet, modern and global dance forms that include dance from around the world.”

This proposed partnership with METdance and UST is still in development pending expected program accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Colleges (SACS COC). Currently in the works is to offer a bachelor’s degree in dance education as well as a minor in dance. Students will also have the option of taking a dance class as an elective. UST’s Fine Arts & Drama department currently offers bachelor of fine arts and  bachelor of art degrees in studio arts, a minor in studio arts, a bachelor of fine arts in theatre education, a bachelor’s degree in drama, a minor in drama, a bachelor’s degree with an art history concentration and a minor is art history.

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