Origins of the Dance Program
Dance has been a part of the curriculum of the institution dating back to the turn of the 20th century and was originally part of the Physical Education Department at the Oregon State Normal School. Dance classes included Basic Rhythms, Folk and Square Dance, Social and Modern Dance.
In 1976 Rice Auditorium was completed and the first dance concert was produced and directed by Jamie L. Aiken, a P.E. instructor who taught dance classes and choreographed musicals for the theater program. The husband and wife team of Ray Miller and Jessica Wood arrived in 1978 and dance became part of the Creative Arts Department.
With a single dance studio (the Old PE building, room 212), Ray and Jessica began developing the dance program and added technique classes in Ballet, Jazz and Tap, as well as theory courses in Choreography, History and Education. In 1980 the State Board of Higher Education approved the dance minor.