The University of South Wales has axed its dance degree, in a move described as “short-sighted” and devastating for students.
It is the latest in a number of cancellations at higher education institutions, following on from Drama Centre London’s decision to suspend intake for its acting and directing courses, and a similar move at the Guildford School of Acting, where both the BA (hons) Dance and the Theatre and Performance degree have been dropped.
The course, which started in 2016, is being axed just after its first intake graduated this summer.
According to the University of South Wales, based in Cardiff, it is closing its BA (hons) in dance while it continues to evaluate and adapt its curriculum, to “ensure students have the best opportunities to develop their own skills and connections to enhance their future careers”.
A spokesman for the university said “projected recruitment figures for the degree mean that we will not have enough students in future to be able to continue to provide a high quality education”.
“We have tried to support the team as much as possible to recruit over the past years, but we have not seen growth in numbers or sufficient numbers of students to be able to continue to recruit,” he added.
The spokesman insisted that the decision to close BA Dance to new entrants “was not taken lightly”.
“USW will ensure that every student already enrolled on BA Dance course will have the best possible educational experience throughout their time with us. We will continue to facilitate open dialogue with the course team to prioritise the needs of these students,” he said.
He claimed the university would look to “find ways to continue with the provision of dance education and will be looking to integrate movement/dance into the wider performance curriculum”.
The #saveUSWdance campaign has been launched on Twitter to save the course.
Recent graduate Lucie Ainsworth said the move did not allow the course to demonstrate how valuable it could be to the dance sector in Wales.
I am truly gutted that we haven’t even been given a chance to show how valuable we can be to the dance sector in Wales. Deciding to close the course not long after the first ever cohort graduated is not ok. @usw_dance #SaveUSWdance
— Lucie Ainsworth (@luciejainsworth) October 21, 2019
Another Twitter user described the decision as short-sighted, claiming it showed a “poor grasp of the impact of dance as an art form”.
There are very few opportunities to study dance at the level offered by @usw_dance in Wales and to close this course is short sighted, ill judged and shows a poor grasp of the impact of dance as an art form. #saveuswdance
— cnaamani (@cnaamani) October 22, 2019
Director Catherine Paskell said she was concerned about the wider impact the move would have on arts education in Wales.
These course cuts raise the possibility that Wales is willing to lose its place as a leader in such an important sector. In a devolved nation, that worries me. This is not just about one course @usw_dance is all the cuts yet to come #SaveUSWdance #saveartscourses #keeperasmusplus
— Catherine Paskell (@Cpaskell) October 22, 2019
Meanwhile, Emma Goad, from Blue Canary Fundraising, described the news as “terrible”.
Terrible news about @usw_dance course closure – really shortsighted decision. It is vital we invest in future generations of dance artists right here in Wales for sustainability and development of the sector. Impact in first 4 short years has been tremendous. #saveUSWdance
— Blue Canary – Emma (@bluecanaryemma) October 22, 2019