Texas State dance program ranked No. 1 in the state of Texas

By Amira Van Leeuwen

The Division of Dance in the Department of Theatre and Dance at Texas State University has been named No. 1 in Texas for 2021 by College Factual.

The Best Value Colleges for Dance ranking assessed 28 colleges that offer a bachelor’s degree in dance. College Factual’s ranking focused on dance schools that offer a high-quality education at a lower price than other schools of similar academic excellence. 

College Factual Rankings are made up of 6 high-level scores which include: accreditation score, employment score, demand score, education score, peer score and debt score. According to College Factual, rankings are driven by unbiased hard data and aggregate score assessment of each specific major and degree level. The rankings are also outcome-focused customizable.

Senior dance performance and choreography students choreographed their own pieces for BFA’s annual performance and choreography showcase, “The State of Human Affairs,” which ran from Nov. 11-14 at Evans Auditorium.

The showcase is where BFA seniors choreograph and perform their routines. Some perform their pieces in real-time, while others are recorded performances.

Texas State Professor and BFA director Ana Baer Carrillo who has been teaching dance for 13 years, says students’ work was rooted in their state of mind and their emotions in the state of the world right now, some of their pieces were dark and others were more hopeful.

The showcase was a way of allowing students to cope with things they are going through.

Baer Carrillo said working with young, talented students is an honor. 

“It’s wonderful, the process. Sometimes the products are very successful in their own eyes, sometimes they’re not and in either case, they learn a lot from that,” Baer Carillo said.

Baer Carrillo says Texas State’s dance division has been working really hard and is proud of its ranking.

“We are a very diverse faculty in that we all have very different expertise and backgrounds,” Baer Carrillo said.

Baer Carillo also places emphasis on preserving students’ health.  

“We are very somatically aware, all of us, in any single class that you would take here, that an important thing for us is the body does what the body needs to do and we don’t force it in the wrong way. So, we’re thinking about [the] longevity of movement,” Baer Carrillo said.

Rishon Harvey, performance and choreography junior performed in different pieces in the showcase including Relapse…Rebirth, Epiphania and Mother Nature is Androgynous. Dances were focused on subjects regarding relapse, childhood trauma, consumerism and depression.

Harvey said his favorite part of the showcase was being able to perform in person again.

“I really loved this performance because I was able to get back on stage and do what I love and just perform. I loved being in so many pieces because I was able to showcase different talents and ranges of what I’m able to do to my peers and professors and just the audience,” Harvey said.

Harvey thinks the program is “really amazing” and was not surprised that Texas State’s dance program was named No. 1 because of the program’s connections.

“I think our teachers are really focused on making sure that we’re dancing healthy and we’re really focusing on longevity in our careers,” Harvey said.

Dance performance and choreography senior Jessica Campbell choreographed Arbeit Macht Frei: Work will set you free, a piece emphasizing the importance of the Holocaust.

“It was really important to me that I was highlighting a topic and an event that was important and still really relevant. I think a lot of us nowadays can relate to social issues and topics that are going on not only with Judaism but with Black Lives Matter or being a minority. And I really wanted to bring to the forefront a topic that many people might not know about,” Campbell said.

Campbell says Texas State’s dance program ranking comes as a surprise, but also not a surprise.

“Our professors do so much for us and it’s not going unnoticed,” Campbell said.

Campbell says the ranking means a lot.

“It means so much for other people outside of the school and the state to recognize us because the care and love they [professors] give us to grow our technique, our passion and our education for dance is what makes us so strong,” Campbell said.

Interested in auditioning for BFA? Spring auditions will be held for all incoming BFA Performance and Choreography majors and BFA Teacher Certification majors March 7, 2022.

Dance Dictionary (Credit: Amira Van Leeuwen)

Percent of female dance studies majors in 2020

(Credit: Amira Van Leeuwen)

Percent of female performance & choreography majors in 2020

(Credit: Amira Van Leeuwen)

(Credit: Amira Van Leeuwen)

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