New dance science paths produce dance teachers, physical therapists, performers
The Division of Kinesiology’s Dance Science program in the Department of Health and Kinesiology added three new paths, helping students tailor their degree to their career: teaching, physical therapy and professional performer.
Previously, a dance science student hoping to teach dance in schools would seek alternative certification on top of their 120-hour load. Now, they can incorporate education courses by using the new 18-hour electives requirement.
“The 18 hours will enable these students to get all of the education courses that the state of Texas requires for their exit exam to teach,” said Christine Bergeron, Director of Dance. “Now, they can spend their time in their academic life digging deeper into managing a classroom and the laws and ethics that they need to be aware of.”
Students hoping to become professional dancers and physical therapists can also use the 18-hour electives requirement to take courses they need to prepare for careers and graduate school.
“Students that want to go into physical therapy or athletic training with some specialization in dancers can use those 18 hours to get some of the prerequisites that are not already built into the degree, like chemistry courses,” Bergeron said.
The new paths are a result of dance faculty’s observations of students and the jobs they take after graduation. Bergeron said she saw a lot of her students wanting to teach, to go to physical therapy school and then some that would become professional dancers in large cities, like New York. Yet, they were working harder and longer to take the extra classes required to pursue their passion.
“We have students that either want to open their own studio or they just want to dance professionally, so now they can use those 18 hours to get more dance choreography and technique classes in,” Bergeron said.
Dance science student Mya Pepito ’22 chose the teaching path. She said the new path allows her to continue pursuing dance, while also preparing her to be a knowledgeable dance teacher in her future career.
“With this option I can still be a part of the performing aspect that the dance program has, while additionally engaging in courses related to preparing me for the field of education,” Pepito said.
Established in 2010, the Dance Science program is the only dance science-focused degree in Texas. Students learn about dance research, anatomy, nutrition, injury prevention, psychological aspects of the dancer and proper biomechanical principles within dance technique.
“I am excited to approach dance as a science rather than just an art form which is a perspective that I have not always had on dance prior to coming to Texas A&M,” Pepito said.
Photo courtesy of Igor Kraguljac.
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Heather is responsible for news coverage in the Department of Health and Kinesiology, as well as the Department of Educational Administration and Human Resource Development.Articles by Heather
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