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History & Mission

Dance at the University of Texas-Pan American was housed in the Department of Health and Kinesiology since the early 1950’s. On May 1998, an 18-hour dance specialization was approved through the university curriculum process as a content area with the Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies degree. Over the years, UT-Pan American’s dance program grew in two general directions; 1) the dance activity program, courses which satisfy the general education Kinesiology requirement; 2) the dance performance program, consisting of the two resident dance companies, the Folkloric Dance Company founded in 1970 and the UT-PA Dance Ensemble, founded in 1984. Additionally, throughout the years numerous professional guest artists and consultants from the United States, Mexico, and Spain have conducted master dance classes for students and provided choreography for the dance companies in Mexican dance, Spanish dance, modern dance, and ballet.

On April 1999, the dance faculty of the Department of Health and Kinesiology under the College of Education, wrote a proposal for a Bachelor of Science Degree in Dance. In May 2001, the U. T. Board of Regents approved the establishment of a Bachelor of Science in Dance degree at UTPA.

A milestone was reached in the 2002-03 academic year at UTPA. The implementation of the Bachelor of Science Degree in Dance was underway. The Degreed Programs consisted of the following three option tracks: Dance Degree Plan (Teacher Certification), Dance Degree Plan (Performance), and a Minor in Dance. In September 2004, the degree was changed to a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Dance. In addition, the Cuadro Flamenco performance ensemble was founded in 2003.

In Fall 2008, the Dance Program was moved to the College of Arts and Humanities and created the Department of Music and Dance. Currently, the Dance Program has approximately 70 declared majors and numerous dance minors.

The mission of the Dance Program's Bachelor of Art degree in Dance is to provide a broad coverage of dance training, including dance technique and performance skills, choreography, historical and cultural dimensions of dance, and principles of teaching. Students will be prepared to teach dance in a public/ private school setting, or to continue dance study at the graduate level or in the professional dance context.