UK Theatre's Name Change Recognizes Dance Program's Growth


LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 12, 2014) — The University of Kentucky Department of Theatre in the UK College of Fine Arts has received approval from the university's Board of Trustees to change its name to the UK Department of Theatre and Dance to reflect the growing popularity of dance within the department. The name change was approved June 10.

The UK dance minor has become tremendously popular, drawing students from various majors in eight colleges across campus. At its inception the dance minor had six students and in less than three years has grown to more than 50 students.

This growth is one of many reasons the department has decided a name change is needed.

"The Dance Program has quickly become a major asset for recruitment, research/performance, outreach and instruction in the department," said Nancy Jones, chair of the department.

To acknowledge the program's growth and benefits to the department, UK Theatre faculty discussed and voted to approve the change in April. During that meeting the motion was brought before the full-time faculty and passed unanimously. 

The UK Department of Theatre was formed as its own unit in the College of Arts and Sciences in 1967, although theatre has been a dynamic part of the UK student experience since 1911 when it was housed in the English Department. Since that time the Department of Theatre has been an active and vital component of the Lexington and Central Kentucky arts scene. The department moved to the College of Fine Arts when it opened in 1976.

In April 2010 the Department of Kinesiology and Health Promotions in the College of Education voted to suspend its dance minor, and at that time, the Department of Theatre began the process to revise the program and take over dance courses in its curriculum. The UK Senate approved the adoption of the dance minor in UK Theatre in November of 2011 and Susie Thiel was hired as lecturer and director of the Dance Program. Thiel is now an assistant professor in the college.

Since its move to UK Theatre, the UK Dance Program has presented an annual dance concert featuring nationally renowned choreographers. In addition, dance faculty and students engage in outreach programs with local schools, and have been awarded top recognition at national festivals and conferences like the American College Dance Festival and National Dance Education Organization.  

MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Hale, 859-257-8716;