Last year, the world of dance, like so many performing arts, was completely transformed by the pandemic. As studios closed and group pieces became solo works stitched together by the magic of digital editing, USC Kaufman students and faculty continued to pursue their dreams, relentlessly creating and re-inventing their art, finding ways to flourish during this unprecedented time.
32nd Street Elementary School students perform at the Glorya Kaufman International Dance Center courtyard in April 2019 | Photo by Gina Clyne
Giving Back to the Community
This academic year, a record number of USC Kaufman BFA students, also known as “teaching artists,” participated in Kaufman Connections, the school’s community engagement initiative. With public schools across LA County closed for in-person instruction, Kaufman Connections provided an important way for kids at 32nd Street Elementary to stay connected with their classmates and be physically active, all while learning hip hop from Kaufman teaching artists. In fact, during this time, Kaufman Connections expanded to add 1st and 2nd graders, bringing dance to the living rooms of over 272 students.
A year of virtual dance: A/Part To/Gather
This year USC Kaufman launched a series of virtual dance festivals, A/Part To/Gather. These multi-week celebrations included performances of student and faculty choreography, student dance films and projects, as well as new works created with esteemed Kaufman Visiting Artists. The fall festival featured USC Kaufman students performing new choreography by Artist in Residence and former Alvin Ailey dancer, Hope Boykin, faculty member E. Moncell Durden, guest artist Francesca Harper and faculty member Saleemah E. Knight. The spring program featured new works by Visiting Artists in Residence Marjani Forté-Saunders, Dwight Rhoden, Micaela Taylor and Doug Varone.
The shift from practicing and thinking about performing in a theater and proscenium stage to adapting dance for the screen have pushed Kaufman artists to explore different dimensions of performance. The online festival showcased the incredible versatility of talent among Kaufman students as they not only performed and choreographed but at times, edited, art directed and even filmed their work.
USC Kaufman Scholarship Fund and Annual Fund
In the current economic landscape, ensuring that all deserving dance students can pursue their dreams at USC Kaufman is more important than ever. For many, attending USC Kaufman would not be possible without the generous scholarship support provided by the USC Kaufman Scholarship Fund. The Annual Fund provides immediate support for our school’s top priorities, enabling us to create the best opportunities for our students to realize their full potential. Every gift, no matter the size, directly impacts the lives of our students, faculty and staff -- not just at Kaufman but across the entire University. It ensures that our students have the resources they need to continue their education during this unprecedented time.
Kaufman was built on the vision of providing talented young dancers a life-transforming education and new model for dance – a hybrid art form expressed in new media, scholarship, music, choreography and performance, creating the dance leaders of tomorrow. Together, with your support, we can achieve that vision and make a lasting impact on the world of dance.
The University’s COVID-19 Response
USC has established four funds in response to the COVID-19 crisis to help support all areas of the Trojan community. These funds include the USC Student Basic Needs Fund, Keck Medicine of USC COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund, USC Community Outreach Fund, and USC Employee Support Fund.