Nadine Matas/ Entertainment Director, Martina Bretous/ Copy Chief, Samantha Branca/Contributing Writer
A couple of years ago, due to budget cuts to the College of Architecture and Arts here at FIU, the dance minor disappeared and no one really noticed. It wasn’t until last semester that Crystal Patient, professor of dance at both the Modesto Maidique Campus and Biscayne Bay Campus, took it upon herself to bring back this minor.
“Dance was a much desired and missed culture at FIU. The goal was to reconstruct and bring it into the 21st century of higher education.” Patient says.
“It was my experience [that] some students were leaving FIU simply because dance had dissipated to only two classes a semester, and they could not accurately pursue a dance degree. Phillip Church, interim chair of the theater department at the time of reactivating the minor, and I saw the relevance and impact dance had not only at FIU, but globally. ”
It was a difficult process but by spreading the word, having a group of students come together and highlight the importance of this minor, it is finally back and here to stay, as of the spring semester of 2016.
“I was not alone in the rebirth of the program – Dean Brian Shriner, Phillip Church, fellow faculty and staff in the theater department, and without a doubt, the student body made a valiant effort to see the program come back to life.” states Patient.
The growing support for the minor came from the students here at FIU. With dance shows put on every semester, more and more people came to see what these dancers have to offer and why they wanted this minor under their belt.
Throughout the semester, dance concerts were held and featured many pieces with genres such as tango, modern, contemporary and even films of dances previously created for festivals. The shows often packed a full house with some audience members standing, just to see what students had to show.
“Knowledge gained from our graduates and future leaders would/will demonstrate how the multi-disciplinary art form can be utilized within modern economies.”
Patient believes, “The dance minor was to graduate our students with the ability to communicate, collaborate, create and inspire effectively with a diverse group of individuals.”
There are currently 22 students enrolled in the dance minor program, Crystal Patient hopes that number will grow exponentially.
“The minor offers master classes, performances (three times an academic year) and creative opportunities. New relationships are being forged between the program and the Honors College (dance club), Dance Marathon, Miami City Ballet, bridging the gap between South Florida University dance programs, [and] other local artists and alumni,” Patient states.
Every show is free and open to the public. The ultimate goal is “for these dancers to be able to show their talents, and inspire others to join this program as well,” said professor Patient.
With only 15 credits needed, professor Patient affirms that a dance minor can help with almost any career field, and hopes that more people will see the need to keep it alive at FIU.
“I believe the dance program at FIU creates an opportunity for all of our students to investigate cultural diversity, ideas, think sustainably and to express themselves clearly and confidently.” Patient says. “The program is a seemingly disparate pieces into a meaningful whole. “
If you are interested in enrolling into the dance minor program, email Crystal Patient at email@example.com. Students browse the related dance courses in the course catalog found [here]
“There will be no audition process for the program. Once the student has completed the paperwork and is officially a dance minor, they will contact me to discuss goals and aspirations regarding the program.” Patient assures.
Continuing, “Joel Murray, chair of the theater department, and I have been developing and participating in bringing dance courses to the forefront of FIU’s educational mission.” She informs us, “By creating an online and hybrid dance appreciation course, dance at FIU is reaching our students far beyond the classrooms/studios and leading them into the forefront of higher academics of the 21st century.”