Nyama McCarthy-Brown, assistant professor of community engagement through dance pedagogy at Ohio State University, breaks down the need for more inclusive dance training in higher ed.
“We have over 600 college dance programs in the United States, and less than 10 of them focus on something other than ballet or modern,” says McCarthy-Brown of her research. The more college dance departments privilege Western techniques, the more students will follow a pattern that limits their options, losing the opportunity to work within other cultural practices.
What would it look like if ballet or modern dancers consistently diversified their training with bharatanatyam or traditional West African dance? “I don’t think we fully understand what the benefits are, because we haven’t given students the opportunity to expand in those ways,” says McCarthy-Brown. “We deserve a chance to find out.”