As the nation’s premier institution in the teaching of teachers in all fields, Teachers College is the ideal place to build a doctoral program in dance education to cultivate the next generation of leaders in the field.
The field of dance education was conceived at Teachers College in 1916 by Margaret H’Doubler, a visiting biology doctoral student from the University of Wisconsin at Madison who studied with John Dewey, TC’s iconic philosopher.
H’Doubler came to New York at the behest of her departmental boss to find ways to expand physical education for women. She connected with TC faculty member Gertrude Colby and Carnegie Hall instructor Alys Bentley. Both rejected the prevailing method of copying the masters. They offered instead a vision of creative dance, in which each person becomes a “creative dance maker.”
TC operated a dance education master’s degree program until 2005, producing leaders in dance such as:
Building on that legacy, we’re positioned to create a highly distinctive new doctoral program in dance education.
Pending NYSED Approval, requirements subject to change
Combining the best of dance practice and pedagogy, Teachers College’s vision for a doctorate in dance education aims to cultivate the next generation of leaders in the field. Master dance educators—teachers of aspiring dance teachers—dance researchers, and policy experts will prepare together to advocate for dance in all education contexts.
The proposed program will offer foundational coursework in dance education and research methods as well as specializations in:
Students will also have the option of crafting their own interdisciplinary specialization that draws on the breadth and depth of TC’s renowned programs.
The prospective doctoral program will bring together faculty from across the College as well as the rich and extensive dance education community in New York City and beyond. A faculty committee representing different disciplines is shaping the proposal for the new program.
Jody Gottfried Arnhold (M.A. ’73)
Jody Gottfried Arnhold and her husband John have given $4.365 million to Teachers College to establish an innovative and unique dance education doctoral program. The focus is on preparing master dance educators – the teachers of aspiring dance teachers – along with dance researchers and policy experts who will advance Arnhold’s ultimate goal: making dance education a staple in American public schools.
Dance – meaning not just technique, but also improvisation and choreography –fosters “collaboration, creativity, problem-solving, citizenship,” Arnhold says. Beyond its practice by supremely gifted dance artists, she sees dance as a medium for developing understanding of the world, as John Dewey, TC’s iconic philosopher, argued that education must be. “I really believe that (dance) will help foster world peace,” says Arnhold.
A graduate of the University of Wisconsin, which offered the nation’s first dance education program, and of Teachers College, where the field of dance education was conceived, Arnhold taught dance in the New York City public schools for 25 years. She has since led a major expansion and improvement of dance instruction in New York. With Joan Finkelstein, she founded 92Y Dance Education Laboratory (DEL), which provides teacher training and professional development. She was Chair of Ballet Hispanico for 15 years and is now Honorary Chair. In 2012, she endowed the Arnhold Graduate Dance Education Program at Hunter College. In 2005, together with Finkelstein (then Director of Dance for the New York City Department of Education) and Tina Ramirez, Ballet Hispanico’s Director, Arnhold led development of the city’s Blueprint for Teaching and Learning in Dance, Pre K-12.
In 2015, Arnhold teamed with director Nel Shelby and Finkelstein (now Executive Director of the Harkness Foundation for Dance) as executive producer to create the documentary PS DANCE!, narrated by veteran TV journalist Paula Zahn. The New York Emmy-nominated film offers an exuberant look at the teaching of dance in five New York City public schools. Airing on WNET/THIRETEEN in New York and on public television stations nationwide, PS DANCE! was created to promote Arnhold’s mission, “Dance For Every Child.”
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