Concise Encyclopedia of Tufts HistorySauer, Anne
Tufts Dance Collective, 1978-
The Tufts Dance Collective (TDC) was initially conceived as a partnership between students and faculty. The organization replaced the discarded Dance Advisory Board, whose officers became the Steering Committee for the new collective.
Partnered with the Physical Education Department, TDC planned, organized and executed shows for the end of each semester. Originally the shows were faculty-choreographed and consisted solely of students from classes in the dance department. Another function of the collective included the importation of visiting performers and dance companies, for shows and for special master classes.
The 1978 Winter Dance was TDC's first show. It was held in what used to be the Cousens Dance Studio, located above the baseball cage. For that spring semester, TDC hoped to host a student-choreographed show.
By 1986 the description of the Collective had changed. It had become an "informal organization in which dancers of all backgrounds combine efforts to create a show consisting of a full flavor of different dance styles."Some years, dances were organized around a theme, usually with serious intent. In 1986 TDC was joined by Sarabande (another student organization), and the Department of Drama and Dance, in sponsoring their end-of-the-semester dances, held in Cohen Auditorium.
Practice space for the Collective remained in Cousens until 1993.At the end of that year Cousens Dance Studio was converted, and the dancers moved to tiny Jackson Gym. Co-Artistic Directors of TDC Krista Kupperschmidt and Christy Uchida complained to The Daily about the loss of their practice space.
Over the years, as the Department of Drama and Dance's web page describes, TDC became "a student-run, extracurricular, modern dance group open to students of all levels and experience."Gone was the association with the PE department, as well as faculty advisors and advanced dance classes. The old organization, with a steering committee, gave way in the 1980s to a system with two artistic directors. Students choreographed every dance, and dancers were anyone who wished to perform. Moreover, the end-of-the-semester dance show had moved from the spacious hall of Cohen Auditorium to the tiny studio in Jackson Gym, which necessitated small audiences and numerous performances. This change came in part from the organizations' decision not to charge for tickets to their shows.
In the late 1990s Tufts students had more dance and performance art organizations to choose from, including TDC, Sarabande, and Spirit of Color. Practice time was tougher than ever to come by, even though a studio in Hill Hall and a separate room in Jackson now supplemented the space in Jackson gym. Moreover, dance organizations were becoming very popular with students, particularly TDC.During the 2000-2001 year, more than 200 students participated in the Tufts Dance Collective. Audiences who came to the dance shows spilled out of the theater at every show, forcing a response from the Dance Department.
In 2001 the Drama Department informed the group that they would no longer be able to perform in Jackson gym. The same year, as TDC struggled to handle the large number of interested participants, the constitution of the group was amended to include five officers, rather than the old system empowering two artistic directors.
These officers, with Kelly Dutton and Jen Fisher at the head, spearheaded an effort to move TDC's winter and spring shows back into Cohen Auditorium, and the shows were an instant success, each quickly selling out. Hundreds of students came out each semester to join TDC, and limits were placed on the numbers of dancers allowed on stage.
Today, in 2003, TDC remains a prominent and popular group on campus, practicing wherever and whenever they can find space.
Sources:TW, OBS, TJ
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