The Department of Dance at the University of Illinois is committed to creating a diverse, inclusive, and anti-racist community. Through multiple cultural perspectives, we negotiate difference through our bodies, histories, and creativity as we expand our collective capacities for inclusivity where all voices are heard. We will achieve our goals by investigating all things related to the following areas.
Who Dances—Who Is at the Table
The Department of Dance embraces human diversity in all its many facets—gender, race, class, age, sexual orientation, and ability. As a state school, we would like our population to, at the very least, reflect the demographics of Illinois. Ultimately, we would like our program to go further and be as diverse as the world in which we live. (See the Department of Dance percentages of underrepresented students and faculty, 2008-2020.)
What We Dance—Curriculum
2019–present: Reimagining the Curriculum—An ad-hoc committee was formed with C. Kemal Nance, Sara Hook, Linda Lehovec, and students to reimagine a BFA curriculum for the 21st century with a specific charge to address the systemic racism and other bias found in the policies, requirements, nomenclature, syllabi content, and practices of our curriculum.
2016–2017—Several dance courses were established that fulfill the US Minorities general education requirement
- C. Kemal Nance built DANC 125: Black Dances of Resistance
- Dancing Black Popular Culture was designed as an online course by Cynthia Oliver
2015—The MFA curriculum was revised to provide broader perspectives and interdisciplinary research.
2000—African diasporic and western European forms were consistently offered within the major physical practice classes. African, hip-hop, and/or capoeira techniques were offered on a regular basis to majors/non-majors.
How We Dance Together—Culture
2019–2020—A reading group was established to provide education for students and faculty on race that included How to Be an Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi and White Fragility by Robin Di Angelo.
2018 and 2019—Dance at Illinois faculty, staff, and students participated in two "Undoing Racism" workshops (2 1/2 days of intensive training) with the People's Institute for Survival and Beyond.
2016—We established the Diversity and Inclusion section on our website in order to communicate our goals and actions.
2014—The department secured two new faculty lines and a post-doc position for faculty with expertise in ballet, hip-hop, and African-based contemporary dance.
2010—Annual workshops for faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate students to discuss issues of diversity and inclusivity were an important part of our dance environment.