I am thrilled to announce that through a generous grant from the Mellon Foundation, the Conservatory has been able to add a two year visiting professorship in dance. With music and dance so closely linked, it has always struck me as odd that a conservatory as old, distinguished, and multi-faceted as ours has never had any offerings in dance. The Lawrence Theater Department has offered dance to their actors through theater movement courses, but our conservatory, throughout its long history, has never had a dedicated dance professor.

In many cultures around the world the bond between music and dance is so strong, there aren’t even separate words for the two art forms. Our Western traditions have managed to break this bond and segregate dance and music into their own separate boxes. So at many schools there are music departments and dance departments that more often than not, have little to do with one another. If you stop to think about it, this whole scenario is just a little bit crazy. Dance is music in motion; literally the embodiment of music. Dance and music are two sides of the same coin.
So our vision is to eliminate the artificial boundaries between music and dance. We want to embrace dance and integrate it into the music culture of Lawrence. I personally would love to see a time where every single musician at Lawrence could experience the wonderers of music in motion; literally adding a spatial dimension to their art. I know that the experience would deepen the musicality of our young artists. The possibilities of integrating dance are as exciting as they are vast: choreographers working with composers; improvising musicians working with improvising dancers; improvising musicians becoming improvising dancers; music educators exploring movement and music; choreographers collaborating on opera staging; young conductors incorporating dance theory; dancers and musicians and videographers collaborating on creating new forms of art; and who know what other adventures in movement and music await.
With that introduction, you can imagine how pleased I am to welcome Professor Rebecca Salzer to our Conservatory. Professor Salzer is an acclaimed choreographer, dancer, producer, and intellect. Her interests are broad-ranging, and it is clear from her previous projects that collaborations across varied disciplines are something she greatly values. Her latest “screendance” combines videography, dance, and hard science to explore “the limits and possibilities inherent in the act of seeing.” In short, she is the perfect fit for Lawrence and our Conservatory. Check out her web page to get a better idea of this young artist’s many accomplishments.

Her first offerings this fall will be a studio class in choreography and another in modern dance. I can’t wait to see the impact that her arrival on campus will have. I trust it will open new worlds of ideas, collaborations, and beauty to the students in our Conservatory and across the entire campus.
Welcome Rebecca! We can’t wait for dance to sweep us off our feet.

Published by

Brian Pertl

Brian Pertl, Dean of the Coservatory of Music at Lawrence University, has degrees from Lawrence University in Trombone Performance and English, as well as a graduate degree in Ethnomusicology. He is a passionate advocate of music and music education. He is thrilled to be back at Lawrence working with an exceptional faculty, and an exceptional student body.