Starkle Dream Up. Stephens College

Dance FAQ page

Dance Program: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) 

Thank you for your interest in and support of the Stephens College Dance program. We are pleased to present answers to frequently asked questions regarding the program below.  

What is the College’s current commitment to its Dance program?

The Dance program has been a proud tradition and legacy of Stephens College for generations, and the College remains committed to its growth and evolution. Under the direction of Dean Dr. Gail Humphries Mardirosian, we are re-evaluating and re-envisioning the program this year to enhance quality, increase competitiveness and better meet the needs of current and future students.


Did the College relocate its dance studios?

Yes. The Dance program for many years taught its studio classes in the basement of the Natatorium; it was the only academic program on campus that continued to use the Natatorium space. When the College sold the Auditorium/Natatorium in 2014, it worked with the Dance program faculty to identify new studio space. Today, there is a new studio, practice room and student lounge on the third floor of Hickman Hall in addition to the two studios in Senior Hall. Unfortunately, water leaks and resulting mold in the Senior Hall studio last year required complete renovation, which shut down those studios on a temporary basis. The good news is that they are now all-new as a result. An external consultant, as well as our visiting dance guest artists, have confirmed that the studios meet the needs of our program.


What about the dance class schedule? 

Stephens follows the Higher Learning Commission’s requirements/standards about how to assign course credits based on class time. In 2014, in response to an HLC reaffirmation of its credit-hour policies, the President asked the VPAA to work with the faculty to establish a common standard across campus and then to ensure that all College degree programs met that standard.  

The faculty established that lecture classes are 50 minutes per week per credit (so a 3-credit class is three 50-minute lectures per week) and our studio/lab courses are 100 minutes per week per credit. 

Under the guidance of the VPAA, the faculty work with their Deans to schedule classes each semester, consistent with those accreditation requirements. The length of each class session and the number of meetings per week is up to the faculty, as long as they meet the accreditation standard and are consistent with the class-schedule “grid.”  


Why did the College stop the enrollment of men in the School of Performing Arts?

For decades, the College enrolled “apprentices” (male students in its dance and theatre programs who were required to meet different work standards, to audition for every show, and to spend two summers at Okoboji among other requirements). It was a wonderful program that educated and graduated hundreds of outstanding Stephens men.

However, in light of contemporary interpretations of Title IX, the Board of Trustees in 2010 voted to discontinue the apprenticeship program. The College committed to developing alternative strategies for bringing men into the Performing Arts program, including hiring, open auditions, fellowships and a new co-ed professional certificate program. We continue to test new approaches for bringing male performers into our dance and theatre programs, and we welcome your input and ideas.    


Has the College stopped recruiting new students to Dance?

No. The College is energetically recruiting to all of its programs. Dance is an integral part of our efforts to attract students in the Performing Arts.  


What is program review and why is the dance program doing it?

The College reviews every program on a rotating schedule, and we use that review to improve and enhance our programs, building on historic strengths while paying keen attention to future outlooks. This is best practice for any academic program and we are enthusiastically engaged in the process for Dance.  


Who is the program coordinator for Dance this year?

Dean of the School of Creative and Performing Arts Gail Humphries Mardirosian serves as the interim program coordinator for dance.  


Are dance classes full this year? What dance classes are being offered? 

Our students are working hard with a full complement of beginner, intermediate and advanced courses across multiple dance disciplines. This semester, students are studying World (Irish Dance), Modern and Ballet as well as dance for Musical Theatre.  


Who’s teaching the classes? 

This semester, we are joined by Carol Schuberg who not only teaches dance classes, but serves as the choreographer for Anything Goes, our mainstage production this December, which features a heavy dance concentration. An accomplished professional with extensive background in ballet, modern, jazz, tap and musical theatre, Carol brings with her Broadway experience (including original Broadway cast of Meet Me in St. Louis) and long list of national and regional touring and choreography credits, including Anything Goes. 

Then, this spring we will welcome Darren Gibson to campus who will not only share his considerable ballet, jazz and musical theatre experience with our students but also serve as the artistic director for the Spring Dance Concert. A seasoned professional with extensive credits in Broadway and London West End productions, Darren has worked alongside some of the best names in ballet and has served as dance captain, lead dancer and artistic director in a wide range of productions and ballet companies. 

 Other guest artists and instructors for the 2017-18 school year include: 

  • Lisa Geger ’92, visiting guest artist and adjunct instructor; Lisa is a talented artist committed to Stephens and an experienced instructor at the Columbia Performing Arts Center (CPAC).
  • Karen Grundy, guest choreographer; Karen is artistic director of the Missouri Contemporary Ballet. 
  • Fran Elkin, a professional dancer whose background includes the award-winning “Spirit of the Dance”, a breathtaking production that has been performing all over the world. She is teaching world dance (Irish).


What about performing opportunities? 

This spring, we will hold both our New Works Dance Concert and Spring Dance Concert. As part of that annual event, our seniors will be performing their senior projects, which was a request from our students. Also, this year as part of the Citizen Jane Film Festival, our students were involved in two public dance performances—a great example of cross-discipline collaboration. 


How can I learn more?

Follow our Dance students and our School:

Most computers will open PDF documents automatically, but you may need to download Adobe Reader.