Berea College offers 25 classes in Dance and a Dance Minor, and 9 student dance groups perform in a variety of styles, including African dance, swing dance, stepping, modern dance (contemporary concert dance), Middle Eastern dance, folk dance, Latin dance, Hip Hop, and gymnastics. For information about each of the dance groups, see our clubs and organizations.
Dance has been an important part of the life of Berea since the 1920s. Oscar Gunkler introduced modern dance and folk dance at Berea and offered modern dance performances and sponsored a folk dance club.
In the 1930s, folk dance became very popular at Berea, and weekly dances were one of the main entertainments for students. Soon the Berea College Country Dancers began to tour, performing traditional dance. They danced at the Kennedy White House in 1963 and tour internationally.
In 1995, the college established Dance Programs to make dance available to all students on campus. Now, 25 classes in Dance are offered, and nine student dance groups offer everything from folk dance to Hip Hop, and from modern concert dance to swing dance. Every semester, almost twenty percent of the student body is involved in dance, either in classes or in one of these organizations. A Minor in Dance provides an opportunity for more in-depth study for students from any major.
Why Study Dance?
Dance is still an important part of the life of Berea, for many reasons. Dance opens doors to personal creativity and expressiveness. Dance provides physical and mental exercise simultaneously. Dance is a way of socializing and participating in healthful recreation. For many, dance is a great stress reliever.
Students who choose the Minor in Dance come from fields as diverse as Education, Biology, Physical Education, Psychology, and Nursing. Some choose it for personal development, while others plan to pursue careers in such fields as Dance Therapy, Theater, Music, Counseling, or Physical Therapy. Because dance is required in elementary and secondary education, a certified teacher with a Minor in Dance may be a more attractive candidate for a teaching position.