Oklahoma City University, under the leadership of Professor
Jo Rowan, founded an American musical theatre dance program to educate and
train performers for careers in the American entertainment industry. The
program was also created to recognize the legitimacy of the American dance
art forms of tap, jazz, and theater dance.
At that time, university and college dance programs uniformly focused on
ballet and modern dance. Few, if any, dance programs required majors to
study tap and jazz; none offered specialization in tap and jazz leading
to a bachelor's degree. Professor Rowan designed a degree which, with Dean
John Bedford, has been refined over the years to give thorough preparation
to students wanting dance performance careers in the American entertainment
Dean Bedford developed an arts management program at Oklahoma
City University for both graduate and undergraduate students. The general
wisdom of the time in higher education was that arts management should be
a field of study reserved for graduate students with the maturity and seriousness
that undergraduates interested in the arts could not have. In 1985, the
trustees approved a new Bachelor of Science in Dance Management degree which
now has over 70 majors.
The Master of Business Administration in Arts Management, established in
1984, provided graduate level education and training in both business and
arts management. An undergraduate degree in business is not required since
a student can accelerate preparation for graduate business studies by taking
preparatory courses. Students of the Master of Business Administration in
Arts Management program are required to intern with a professional arts
organizations. Former students have worked as interns for Lyric Theatre
of Oklahoma, Assembly of Community Arts Councils of Oklahoma, Pollard Theatre,
Allied Arts, Ballet Oklahoma, Oklahoma City Philharmonic and BLAC, Inc.
A Bachelor of Science in Entertainment Business degree was
created. Originally for students interested in careers in music business,
the degree has been modified to a general arts management degree allowing
students to tailor a portion of the curriculum to support their career objectives.
Typical student career interests include event coordination, theater management,
orchestra management, sports management, wedding planning, venue management,
music management, corporate event planning, meeting planning, theme park
management, and stage management.
Professor Rachel Jacquemain joined the arts management faculty
and was appointed director of the Entertainment Business program.
Dance Magazine’s Managing Editor, K.C. Patrick, declared
the Oklahoma City University dance program as the “best preparatory dance
program in the nation.”
The School of American Dance and Arts Management is renamed
The Ann Lacy School of American Dance and Arts Management honoring Oklahoma
City University trustee and benefactor Ann Lacy.
A Bachelor of Science in American Dance Pedagogy was created
for students wanting careers as extraordinarily well-prepared dance teachers.
With funding from the Priddy Foundation, internationally known master teacher
Mary Price Boday joined the faculty as coordinator of the new program.
Professor Mary Price Boday began a series of dance workshops
for dance teachers, dance teacher assistants, and high school students.
A Master of Fine Arts in Dance degree was created to prepare graduate students
for careers in performance, choreography, or teaching in higher education
where extensive knowledge of tap, jazz, theater dance, and ballet for musical
theater is valued.
A $3 million grant from the Inasmuch Foundation
was combined with a $3.5 million contribution from Ann Lacy and a $750,000
contribution from the Mabee Foundation to make new facilities possible.
Renovation and construction of the Edith Kinney Gaylord Center, the new
home of the Ann Lacy School of American Dance and Arts
Management, was completed in the fall of 2007. The new facility for dance
and arts management instruction is revalued at $28 million and is declared
in the dance press as possibly the finest facility for dance in higher education
in the world. The first graduate students entered the new M.F.A. program
in the fall. Professor Melanie Shelley was appointed as Associate Dean
of the Ann Lacy School of American Dance and Arts Management.
Dance workshops were expanded to include four Saturday workshops
during the regular school year for high school sophomores, juniors, and
seniors. The first classes were offered in the Edith Kinney Gaylord Center’s
new Community Dance Center.