Students practising in Ryerson's dance studio may soon be dancing for degrees if a Bachelor of Fine Arts is approved. Photo: Jonathan Bjerg Moller.

Theatre auditions for degree status

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By Allison Heather

Acting and dancing might finally be considered a fine art at Ryerson.

The academic council was considering at its meeting Tuesday night, a proposal from the theatre school to combine its acting and dance diploma programs into one four-year Bachelor of Fine Arts degree — Ryerson’s first BFA.

“It will give the students a degree that is most widely recognized across North America,” said Sandy Black, chair of the theatre school.

“It’s something we’ve been thinking about since [technical production] went degree and it has finally come to the next stage in proceedings.”

If the council passes the proposal, there will be one more stage to cross before the degree can be granted.  The board of governors would also have to give its approval at their next meeting.  If passed, the new degree program is expected to be offered in the fall of 1999.

“That would be our wish,” said Dennis Mock, Ryerson’s v.p. academic.

The theatre school consists of three programs — acting, dance and technical production.  Technical production became a Bachelor of Applied Arts in the 1994-95 academic year.  If the board of governors approve the proposal, acting and dance will be the last diploma programs at Ryerson to gain degree status.

“We’ve compared our program to others across Canada,” said Mock, who thinks this change will be successful in “enhancing the academic dimension of the program.”

Nina De Shane, a dance ethnology instructor at York University is excited for Ryerson.

“It’s so good for everybody because Waterloo lost its dance program about three years ago so it gives students more choice,” she said.  “I’m really happy to hear this.”

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