The Free Press, Mankato, MN


October 16, 2008

Improving by leaps and bounds

MSU dance program grows significantly over a short amount of time

MANKATO — The dance department at Minnesota State University looked a bit different when Julie Kerr-Berry first came on board 20 years ago.

It was a minor back then, housed in the Department of Physical Education, which later would become the Department of Human Performance. And in 1988, Kerr-Berry was taking over for the program’s founder, Florence Cobb, who pioneered the effort to get the program going in the 1970s.

The program would see more change during the next two decades, as most do. About 10 years ago, the dance program merged with MSU Theatre to become the Department of Theatre & Dance. The merger made the most sense, Kerr-Berry said, because dance is part of the arts, and the new home would afford them the opportunity to work collaboratively with theater faculty and have access to theaters and studio space designed for dance, among other things.

The biggest changes to the department since the merger have occurred much more recently. In the past several years, actually.

The dance program went from only a minor option to adding a major in 2005, which opened more doors to students. It also added prestige to the program because its the only dance major in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System and is one of four colleges and universities in the state, overall, to offer the major.

“We have a unique thumb print,” said Kerr-Berry, director of the program.

With the addition of the dance major came one new full-time faculty, more classroom and studio space in the Performing Arts Center, Highland Center and Pennington Hall, and more students interested in the program.

“We’re seeing it reflected in recruitment,” Kerr-Berry said. “We had a surge this fall of incoming freshmen.”

Some of the students in the program were minors in dance and switched to a major when it became available. Stephanie Narlock picked up the major the first year it became available.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
NDN Video
Is Charlize Theron Wearing An Engagement Ring? Paris Hilton back in a swimsuit for Carl's Jr. and Hardee's burger commercial Could Sandra Bullock Be Leaving Hollywood After Recent Home Intrusion? Megan Fox Turns Up The Heat At Comic Con Gwyneth Paltrow Did What? Zack Snyder Shares An All-New Batfleck Photo The Secret Behind Sofia Vergara's Gorgeous Hair You're Not Going to Believe Who's Turning 50! Taylor Swift Looks Terrific in a Tummy-Baring Style Joan Rivers Calls Kristen Stewart a "Moron" Blake Lively's Wedding Dress Revealed?! Hillary Clinton Blamed Bill's Affair With Monica Lewinsky On Abuse He Suffered As A Child 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Yes It's True! Jessica Biel Returns to TV H-O-T! "Fifty Shades of Grey" Trailer Is Here! A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years Zoe Saldana is Reportedly Pregnant, Will Announce it When She's Ready Kim and Kanye's Daughter Takes Her First Steps Tori Spelling Lets Loose on Marriage Problems Selena Gomez Caught Snuggling With New Guy