Building on a long history of high-level training for dancers, the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University will launch a bachelor's degree program in dance.
The new department will be led by danah bella, the founder and artistic director of d a n a h b e l l a DanceWorks and former chair of the dance faculty at Radford University.
The Bachelor of Fine Arts program—slated to begin in the 2018-19 academic year, pending approval of the Maryland Higher Education Commission—will "prepare exceptional 21st century artists to push the boundaries between dance and science and expand the role and relevance of dance," said Abra Bush, Peabody's senior associate dean of institute studies. "With her bold artistry and diverse experiences as a performer, choreographer, and teacher, we're thrilled that danah bella has agreed to lead this innovative new program at Peabody."
In addition to developing as performing artists, students in the new dance program will explore the interconnections between dance, music, science, and medicine. They will also have opportunities to develop expertise in other areas, including composition, citizen artistry, performing arts medicine, movement therapy, and non-traditional approaches to pedagogy.
The program will build on the strong existing foundation of one of the oldest continuously-operating dance training centers in the United States. Established in 1914, Peabody Dance—currently run through the Peabody Preparatory—offers high-quality, non-degree dance training for students of all levels, ages 3 through adult.
bella has taught, performed, and presented her work across the U.S., as well as in Mexico and Italy. She earned a master's degree in performance from The Ohio State University and a BA in dance from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She has worked in higher education since 2002 teaching modern dance technique, choreography, and dance theory.
"I am honored for the opportunity to join the Peabody Institute as it embarks on a new and exciting period of innovative initiatives that build on its storied legacy of artistic academic excellence," bella said. "I'm thrilled to bring my passion for dance and penchant for student-centered dance pedagogy to shape this groundbreaking new program that will prepare students to be globally engaged citizen artists."