The Purchase College School of the Arts Conservatory of Dance was visited by a delegation from Beijing China on yesterday, September 16 to finalize an agreement for an ongoing relationship between Purchase College and the Beijing Dance Academy.
Purchase College President Thomas J. Schwarz and President Li Xu of the Beijing Dance Academy signed the document which will establish an agreement between the two institutions for student exchanges. It is anticipated that this will set a precedent for other exchanges.
The delegation from the Beijing Dance Academy including its President Li Xu met during the day for discussions with President Schwarz and Purchase staff and faculty members. They visited Conservatory dance classes, the Neuberger Museum of Art and The Performing Arts Center on their campus tour.
“We are honored to welcome the visiting scholars from the Beijing Dance Academy and look forward to our joint endeavor. The relationship between the Conservatory of Dance and the most prestigious dance academy in China represents an exciting and innovative merging of the visions of training and creativity from two sides of the world. We hope this is the beginning of many future collaborations between our two institutions,” said President Schwarz.
The agreement with Beijing Dance Academy is the result of two years of discussions and visits to China by Carol Walker Dean Emeritus of the Conservatory of Dance. In 2008, President Schwarz and Provost Damian Fernandez asked her to explore educational relationship possibilities with Beijing institutions as an extension of a strategic commitment to the internationalization of the College. She visited seven schools, colleges and universities in and around Beijing.
“Beijing Dance Academy is the premiere institution for dance training in China,” said Carol Walker. “It has over 50 years of graduating classes in classical ballet, classical Chinese dance, Chinese traditional dance, dance studies and choreography and modern dance. Its alumni head the dance programs at many other colleges and universities in China. While several institutions were very interested in associating with Purchase, the Beijing Dance Academy is the most aligned with the Conservatory of Dance in mission and training objectives. We were very interested in forging a relationship with the school,” she said.
The Purchase Dance Corps performed at the Bejing Dance Academy in 1995 as part of an International Festival of Dance Academies. Carol Walker was invited in 2004 to make a presentation at an international dance forum and twice this summer for international conferences. In 2009, at the behest of President Schwarz, Ms. Walker returned to Beijing and began discussions with Beijing Dance Academy about a future relationship.
Exchange agreements were finalized under the direction of Deirdre Sato, Director of international Programs at Purchase.
Participants in the Beijing Delegation visit include:
From Beijing Dance Academy
- President Li Xu
- Jia Anlin, chair of Dance Studies Department
- Yong Ou, director of Dance Studies Department
- Ping Xin, Professor of Dance Studies Department
- Pan Li, Professor of Dance Studies Department
- Tian Tian, Dance Teacher
- Wang Xin, Dance Teacher
- Lili Cheng
From Purchase College
- President Thomas J. Schwarz
- Provost Damian Fernandez
- Ken Tabachnick, Dean, School of the Arts
- Deirdre C. Sato, Director of International Programs
- Carol K. Walker, Professor, Conservatory of Dance, International Programs
- Megan Williams, Conservatory of Dance BOS coordinator
- Rosanna Seravalli, Professor, Conservatory of Dance, ballet
- Bettijane Sills, Professor, Conservatory of Dance, ballet
- Ted Kivitt, Associate Professor, Conservatory of Dance, ballet
- Kazuko Hirabayashi, Professor, Conservatory of Dance, MFA & choreography
- Larry Clark, Associate Professor, Conservatory of Dance, modern dance
- Stephanie Tooman, Associate Professor, Conservatory of Dance, modern dance
- Rozalind Newman, Conservatory of Dance, composition
- Renqiu Yu, Professor, History
- Sara Connolly, Study Abroad Advisor
(ABOVE: Purchase College President Thomas J. Schwarz with President Li Xu of the Beijing Dance Academy at the signing of an agreement for student exchanges between Purchase College and the Beijing Dance Academy.)