First combined Dance and Kinesiology Degree in Canada

Nov. 21, 2013

University of Calgary Faculties of Art and Kinesiology announce new combined degree

The University of Calgary Faculties of Arts and Kinesiology are unveiling a new five-year combined degree program offering a Bachelor of Arts in Dance and a Bachelor of Kinesiology. The program will allow students to graduate with a strong foundation in both science and arts.

Dean Richard Sigurdson of the Faculty of Arts and Dean Penny Werthner of the Faculty of Kinesiology will officially announce the new degree on the opening night of Dance Montage 2013, 8 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 21.  

“The combined dance degree will create a new kind of student,” says Dr. Penny Werthner, Dean of Kinesiology. “These graduates will bridge the worlds of science and art and bring a passion to both fields. The Combined graduates will have a unique and important skill set that will lead to innovative ways of thinking about dance as both an art and also as therapeutic physical activity.”

The combined BA Dance / BKin degree is the first of its kind in Canada. “This program will allow students to focus on the intersections of dance and science preparing them for graduate work in a variety of fields,” says Anne Flynn, professor of Dance.

The discipline of Dance and the Faculty of Kinesiology have a long history of interaction dating back to the 1960s when the University of Calgary became an autonomous institution. Dance Montage, now in its 44th year, was created in the Faculty of Kinesiology along with a Dance Education major that was offered from 1976 to 1990.  The BA Dance, offered by the Faculty of Arts, began in 1996 as a collaborative program with Kinesiology, but the emphasis was largely on Dance. Over the years, students have expressed a desire for more in-depth study in kinesiology.

 “The University of Calgary’s research-intensive environment allows us to provide innovative, high-quality educational opportunities such as this new combined degree,” Dean Sigurdson points out. “As part of our Eyes High strategy, we are committed to the creation of learning experiences that are enriched by research, in this case from both scientific and performance-based practice.”

The combined Bachelor of Arts in Dance / Bachelor of Kinesiology degree is designed to educate a new generation of students who will be equipped to provide leadership and support for active living through dance to people of all ages and abilities.  Applications for the Fall 2014 program are now being accepted.

To support a student entering this new program, the Dance division of the School of Creative and Performing Arts has created the Shirley C. Murray scholarship. Murray is Professor Emeritus in Dance Education in the Faculty of Kinesiology where she has taught for 38 years.  Over the years Murray has taught and trained in many forms of dance including folk, historical, ballroom, ballet, tap, and creative. She has given lectures, workshops, and demonstrations all over the world and received many awards. Her choreographic accomplishments are internationally renowned. Murray is probably best known for the piece Olympic Images, where she choreographed 1,200 youth for the opening ceremonies of Calgary’s 1988 Winter Olympic Games.

Funds to create the scholarship came from Dance Montage, which Murray has been involved with since its inception in 1969.   Naming the scholarship for Murray is a way of recognizing and honouring her significant contributions to dance education in Calgary, and around the world. Shirley Murray will be present for the announcement of the scholarship on the opening night of Dance Montage 2013. 

Aurélie Maerten

Advisor, Communications and Marketing

School of Creative and Performing Arts

Department of Art

University of Calgary

CHD100, 2500 University Drive NW, Calgary, AB T2N 1N4

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The University of Calgary is a leading Canadian university located in the nation's most enterprising city. The university has a clear strategic direction to become one of Canada's top five research universities by 2016, where research and innovative teaching go hand in hand, and where we fully engage the communities we both serve and lead. This strategy is called Eyes High, inspired by the university's Gaelic motto, which translates as 'I will lift up my eyes.’ For more information, visit



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