UW Celebrates 50 Years

Dancers from all over the country are returning to Seattle this month to celebrate the 50th anniversary of their alma mater, the University of Washington dance program.

“We wanted to showcase the broad range of people and what they’re doing with their degrees,” says program director and associate professor Jennifer Salk. “Some people are in dance. Some people are in academia. Some people are performing professionally. Some people are choreographing. Some are physical therapists. Some of them are deans of universities.”

Today the UW dance program is diverse, innovative and nationally respected, offering an undergraduate major and minor as well as a highly competitive MFA program. But prior to 1965, dance classes at UW were a mixed bag—modern dance was offered through the Physical and Health Education program, ballet through Drama. An official dance degree wasn’t created until ’65 and for years it lived under the Drama and Music departments. The autonomous dance program was finally formed in 1988.