Philanthropist Glorya Kaufman Gifts USC With School of Dance

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Known in the arts world as “the dancing philanthropist”, Glorya Kaufman has gifted University of Southern California with her latest donation in the form of a School of Dance.

Establishing the first new endowment-funded school at the USC in 40 years, Kaufman’s School of Dance will be headed by Robert Cutietta, dean of USC’s music school, according to the LA Times. The donation will aid with developing all aspects of a new dance school, including hiring faculty, constructing a new building and designing a “contemporary and classical dance curriculum”.

Though Kaufman is not revealing the dollar amount of the new dance school, the LA Times reports that it will “surpass by far the $20 million she gave Los Angeles’ Music Center in 2009 to bring major dance companies to L.A. with her Glorya Kaufman Presents Dance”.

Cutietta said the plan is to hire an architect by early bring and break ground in early 2014 in the former student health center space near the Thornton school of Music. The Kaufman School would then open in the fall of 2015, assuming the plans and construction go according to this timeline.

Kaufman said, “We have so much [dance] talent here in L.A. and there’s no place for them to go. We want to get the best students, the best teachers, and the kids, when they graduate, will be able to make a living right away.”

The LA Times reports that the new dance school will be extremely selective and Cutietta added that it will involve between 60 to 80 students.

“My vision is for the students to leave and go into dance and the business of dance to do whatever they want because they’ll be that talented and prepared,” said Kaufman.

Bonnie Oda Homsey, director of the Los Angeles Dance Foundation, said, “This new school is going to put us [Los Angeles] on the map. It raises the quality of training and therefore, the quality of artists we’re sending into the professional workforce. Dance needs physical space – to train and rehearse and create. And we have that. Los Angeles is really poised to become a more forward-thinking dance mecca.”

The last donation-funded school at USC was the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, a gift from Walter H. Annenberg, which opened in 1973.

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