East Carolina University commits to new dance facility
(July 28, 2003)
A late Beatle once said that there are no problems, only solutions. For the School of Theatre and Dance at East Carolina University, John Lennon's musing will act itself out through the acquisition of the former Woodworks building on Tenth Street in Greenville.
"It's an excellent solution to some wonderful problems," says Mike Dorsey, interim dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communication. "Our dance and theatre programs have such a national reputation that we've been bursting at the seams."
When the building renovations are complete, in time for fall 2005 classes, dance instruction will be held at the new facility and cramped theatre classes will expand into the vacated space.
"Our dance studios and our overflow spaces are booked solid from eight in the morning until late in the evening," says John Shearin, director of the School of Theatre and Dance. The complex that is Messick Theatre Arts Center was formerly Wahl-Coates Elementary. In one studio, dance space is truncated by four load-bearing pillars. The former cafeteria serves as a classroom and workshop space. Mirrors along the walls are interrupted by windows, and don't extend high enough for lifted dancers to check their form. "We've known of several cases where we've lost great potential students because of our facilities," Shearin said, "but with the new building, our facilities will reflect the caliber of our dance faculty."
The School of Theatre and Dance offers degrees in dance education and dance performance with concentrations in ballet, modern, and jazz. During the last academic year, total enrollment in dance classes was 1,156.
Students from the School of Theatre and Dance routinely perform by invitation at the American College Dance Festival, an adjudicated event.
The School of Theatre and Dance is a component of the College of Fine Arts and Communication, established on July 1, 2003 to create efficiencies in marketing and fundraising for the Arts at East Carolina.