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Dance has a long history at SUNY Geneseo. For many years, classes in modern dance, folk dance, and social dance were offered as part of the physical education course offerings. With the development of a general survey course entitled "Introduction to the Arts" in 1954, dance became allied with other fine arts.
By 1965 dance was taught both in physical education and fine arts areas, dance being one of the four component disciplines of the new Division of Fine Arts, headed by Bertha V. B. Lederer. Dance concerts produced with the physical education dancers were begun in 1967, and in 1968 the Geneseo Dance Ensemble was formed.
In the early 1970’s the Division of Fine Arts was restructured into Departments of Art, Drama, Music, with a new Dance Program, which included modern dance, ballet, jazz, and a number of related courses. In 1972 the Dance Program, which now offers a popular minor in dance, became part of the Department of Dramatic Arts, recently renamed the Department of Theatre and Dance. In the 1980's the Dance Program and the Education Department created a Dance concentration for Elementary Education majors. In 1994 the departments of Music, Theatre and Dance combined to create The School of Performing Arts. In 2007, the combined departments including Art renamed themselves, The School of the Arts. In August 2011, Provost Long dissolved The School of the Arts and reformed the Department of Theatre and Dance. Currently the Dance Studies Program and The Geneseo Dance Studies Program celebrate 45 years and 90 dance concert performances.