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What does Mikhail Baryshnikov have to say to dancers starting their careers today? On Friday, he gave the keynote speech during the graduation ceremony for the inaugural class of the USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance.

The heart of his message: Be generous.

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Dancer to Dancer
Class at the University of Southern California Glorya Kaufman School of Dance (photo by Ema Peter, courtesy USC)

If you closed your eyes and pictured dance paradise, what would it look like? Maybe you'd start your morning in rehearsal with a renowned contemporary choreographer, and then work on a dance driven by computer programming, and then run to a music video audition, and end the day discussing the impact of African dance styles on American pop culture.

Guess what? That dance paradise isn't just a dream. It's the University of Southern California Glorya Kaufman School of Dance, a young program that's already attracting some of the most talented dancers around—for good reason.

Click here to meet Alyssa Allen, Simrin Player, and Jake Tribus, three of USC's standout students.

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Cover Story
From left) Simrin Player, Jake Tribus, and Alyssa Allen (Photo by Joe Toreno)

The University of Southern California Glorya Kaufman School of Dance is about to graduate its first class of dancers. We asked students Alyssa Allen, Jake Tribus, and Simrin Player to tell us about their experience at one of the best collegiate dance programs in the world.

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Dancer to Dancer

There’s a new dance BFA in town: L.A. is now home to the University of Southern California’s Glorya Kaufman School of Dance. Thanks to the school’s prime location, unique partnerships and generous funding, it’s poised to be a top choice for BFA hopefuls across the country.

The Kaufman School’s all-star faculty (which includes none other than choreographic legend William Forsythe) and artists in residence (Victor Quijada and Desmond Richardson, to name just two) are supplemented by a partnership with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. Students will have the chance to work with company dancers and learn repertoire. “Hubbard Street is just one of a few partnerships we’re building,” says vice dean and program director Jodie Gates.

Incoming freshman Paulo Hernandez-Farella in front of the future site of the Glorya Kaufman International Dance Center (photo by Daniel Anderson, courtesy University of Southern California)

Gates is aware that the school needs to turn out 21st-century artists, not just beautifully trained dancers. “The virtual world isn’t going away,” she says, “so we’ve partnered with USC’s film and music schools—not just for the stage but also for animation, film, even gaming. Our vision is to create new art forms through dance.”

Gates believes that the conservatory-inside-the-large-research-university arrangement is ideal. Students in the program will dance five to six hours a day, but will also be required to take liberal arts credits. There’s room in the conservatory schedule to pursue a minor, allowing students to take advantage of USC’s many other programs. In fact, the Kaufman School requires collaboration across disciplines. “All seniors must complete an interdisciplinary project with two people in a field other than dance,” Gates says. “USC had every other art school but lacked a dance school. Now, we’re looking to create community.”

For more information, visit kaufman.usc.edu.

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