As we look ahead and assess the successes and challenges of the past year, we turn our focus to what has always been one of our School’s highest priorities: strengthening the USC Kaufman Scholarship Fund so that students’ decision to attend USC Kaufman and take advantage of all the School has to offer are not hindered by financial barriers.
With dance studios closed due to COVID-19, Jonathan Alexander (BFA ’23) wanted to find new ways to hone his creativity during quarantine. While exploring new mediums, he found a passion for songwriting, which led him to produce his first pop single, “Love a Little Harder.”
Alexis Augustine, a dance minor at the USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance, drew from her past struggles with mental health issues to create her nonprofit, Change the Stigma. This organization strives to eliminate misguided stereotypes through discussion and open-mindedness in the arts and community events.
Anja Tempel (BFA ‘24) began her freshman year at the USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance last fall. After a summer of global protests calling for racial justice and her first semester in DANC 107 World Perspective on Dance Performance with Lecturer Achinta S. McDaniel, she was inspired to begin a directed research project at USC Kaufman with McDaniel regarding Equity, Diversity and Inclusion within dance.
USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance alumni Adam Agostino and Justin Epstein (BFA ‘19) launched their production company, RYBG, in the spring of 2020. The pair had already been collaborating as part of the media crew for USC Kaufman’s Dance Operations. They saw RYBG as a natural progression of this work. After the pandemic hit, they brought on fellow alum, Noah Guthier (BFA ‘19), to round out their multifaceted company.
On Thursday, May 13, the USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance hosted a virtual celebration to honor the Class of 2021. In addition, the University of Southern California hosted an in-person commencement ceremony for the Class of 2020 and the Class of 2021 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on Thursday, May 20.
Sidney Ramsey (BFA ’21) will graduate from USC Kaufman this spring as the school’s first double major. She pursued two degrees in Dance and Health and Human Sciences as well as a minor in Psychology. During her time at USC, she was able to see her studies intertwine through coursework and supplemental research.
Last month, USC President Carol L. Folt approved Dean Robert Cutietta’s nomination of Renae Williams Niles to the USC Kaufman Board of Councilors. In addition to being a founding member of the school’s original Board of Advisors, Williams Niles served as a USC Kaufman staff member. She joined the organization as Director of Advancement and eventually became the school’s first Associate Dean of Administration.
This month, Off The Lane, a nonprofit organization committed to developing programs to empower artists early in their careers, launched the inaugural Ann Reinking Scholarship. Bonnie Homsey, an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance, recently joined the Advisory Board of the scholarship as the Chair of the Application and Adjudication Committee.
Each year on the USC Day of SCupport, USC alumni, parents and friends come together to demonstrate the power and generosity of the Trojan Family. On Tuesday, May 4, 2021 we invite you to unite with your fellow Trojans to support USC Kaufman artist scholars with a gift of any size to the USC Kaufman Scholarship Fund.
The USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance welcomes a variety of USC students to join the community as dance minors. These students blend their dance training with their chosen majors to create their own path of interdisciplinary studies. Read on to discover how two alumni of the program draw from their dance minor in their postgraduate lives.
For her senior project, Alexandra Policaro (BFA ‘21) envisioned a topic that wouldn’t simply satisfy the assignment but could offer a longer commitment to the work. She drew from a longstanding interest in health and fitness to create her own business, Accessible Practice. Through the business, Policaro shares her passion for the Gyrotonic Method as well as other wellness practices.
For his senior project, Sasha Zitofsky (BFA ‘21) always knew he wanted to produce a dance film. The subject didn’t come into focus until this past summer, but he knew he wanted it to display themes of empathy and connection, which are present in his past works. As Zitofsky reaches the final stages of his filmmaking process, he wants the project to show a new sense of honesty in his work.
When deciding on the topic of her senior project, Londyn Alexander (BFA ‘21) chose to combine her two artistic passions: dance and fashion. She seeks to explore the relationship between the two complementary disciplines through an original short film and a fashion presentation in collaboration with two designers.
The USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance has named Kyle Abraham to the Claude and Alfred Mann Endowed Professorship of Dance. Starting fall 2021, Abraham will begin working with USC Kaufman. In addition to Abraham joining the USC Kaufman faculty, up to 10 members of his dance company, A.I.M., will teach a week-long intensive every December at USC Kaufman.
COVID-19 may have halted the live, theatrical experience of the dance industry, but many minds are still hard at work creating adaptive and artistic projects in the field. Brianna Mims, a Class of 2019 alum, has been quite active since graduation with many collaborative projects. Read on to discover more about her work since her time at USC Kaufman.
USC Kaufman invites applications for the position of Admission and Student Services Officer. Reporting directly to the Assistant Dean of Admission and Student Service, this individual is a part of a team of three student services advisors. This individual will work closely with a dynamic team of staff and faculty in delivering a range of student services.
In February 2021, The Actors Fund broke ground on a $120-million affordable housing project in Hollywood, Calif. Scheduled to open in 2024, The Hollywood Arts Collective (HAC) will include 151 residential units, as well as a theater named after founding donor Glorya Kaufman. In addition, HAC will feature art galleries, rehearsal studios and office space.
William Forsythe played an integral role in providing foundational knowledge for USC Kaufman in its infancy. From the beginning, Forsythe has imparted his modern wisdom on the School of Dance in his approaches to ballet, improv, composition and more. Now, as he prepares to move on after this semester, his colleagues celebrate his lasting impact.
The bright lights of Broadway have found their way into a new class at the USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance. This semester, lecturer Kate Dunn is piloting the elective Dance Technique for Musical Theatre. The class offers a deep dive into the singing, dancing and acting skills needed to land auditions in the industry.
Parsons Dance created a virtual apprenticeship program to introduce collegiate dancers to their company as well as the inner workings of a professional dance setting. This semester, Aurora Vaughan (BFA ‘21), Luke Csordas (BFA ‘22) and Simon Schuh (BFA ‘21) are participating in the program in tandem with their BFA training.
As the Class of 2021 embarks on their final semester, they are beginning to plan for life after graduation. A number of seniors – including Simrin Player and Mariano Zamora González – chose to pursue minors. They now reflect on how this shaped their time at USC Kaufman and their career ambitions.
This spring, the USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance welcomes three new Artists in Residence with diverse choreography experiences. These new artists – Dwight Rhoden, Micaela Taylor and Doug Varone – will join fellow Artists in Residence Marjani Forté-Saunders and Victor Quijada in working with the BFA students this semester.
Working with Zeitgeist Dance Theatre (ZDT) this past summer was not only an exploration of movement and storytelling, but also an investigation into the current landscape in America. ZDT planned to have a live performance in Salt Lake City, Utah to premiere the new company. However, we switched to an entirely virtual setting because of the global pandemic.
The USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance welcomes dancers from around the globe and this academic year was no exception. Last fall, Diego Lopez, Hayden Rivas and Hope Patterson, all members of the Class of 2024, began their USC Kaufman journeys as international students. Read on to learn more about their experiences thus far.
Every school year, USC Kaufman proudly offers its students the opportunity to learn a variety of renowned repertory and to work with some of the most distinguished artists in the field. Even though instruction remains online, USC Kaufman looks forward to continuing this tradition in the Spring 2021 semester.
Ryan Phuong (BFA ’24) strives to balance industry work in both acting and commercial dance with his BFA training at USC Kaufman. He was recently featured in the Netflix documentary “Dance Dreams: Hot Chocolate Nutcracker.”
The Spring 2021 Welcome Experience, which supports students as they acclimate to the University of Southern California, will take place Jan. 11 through Feb. 20. As part of the Welcome Experience, USC Kaufman will be offering USC students a variety of free introductory classes starting Jan. 16.
During the fall semester the USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance’s community engagement initiative, Kaufman Connections, forged on despite having to adapt to an online format. In addition to engaging community artists, the program organized a virtual hip-hop dance celebration for 32nd Street Elementary School students and their families.
2020 tested the resolve of the entire University of Southern California community. Nevertheless, the USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance proved to have a busy and successful year. USC Kaufman embarked on a multitude of unique artistic endeavors, despite the world pivoting to the virtual space in March. As 2020 comes to an end, USC Kaufman revisits some of these memorable moments.