Mills College Closing

The announcement that my graduate school, Mills College, will not be offering degree granting programs anymore is devastating. It’s hard to understand how something like this could happen…things that you think will last forever, that you wouldn’t even think could possibly change, gradually dissolve, shift, and become other than. Maybe this is just what getting older is all about. Whatever it is, it gives me pause.

Today, going to college to study dance is a normal career path. It is a more desirable one for many. However, it’s important to remember that dance has not had a seat at the higher education table for even 100 years yet! The first dance major program was founded in 1926 by Margaret H’Doubler at the University of Wisconsin. How incredible that once upon a time you couldn’t even study dance in college, and now there are so many programs to choose from? Therein lies the reality…it’s hard for small colleges to get the enrollment they need to make it work. (Especially amidst social and political unrest and a global pandemic.)

What I am most proud of as a Mills College alumna is that in 1941, Mills College became one of the nation’s first liberal arts colleges to grant a degree in modern dance in the country. How cool is that? Merce Cunningham, Yvonne Rainer, and Anna Halprin danced in those spaces. For us dance geeks that’s pretty cool. Mills College is a part of dance history.

As an aside, when dance began occupying academic spaces, dance making changed too. It can be argued that new theories, new spaces, and expanded resources breathed life into the way we think about dance, teach about dance, learn about dance, and make dances by way of critical discourse in higher education. It also created job opportunities for teachers and generated dialogue across disciplines. I believe that dance in higher education has been a total game changer for our field. Mills was a part of that.

Beyond the significance of Mills College in dance history, Mills also offered the first computer science major at a women’s college. I mean…

Set in Oakland, California, one of the most radical cities in the world, home to the BLM movement and the Black Panther party, it was the overall charge of the campus culture that struck me the most. A women’s college, one of the few left in the country, with a guiding principle towards equity, serving as a safe haven for LGBTQIA+ communities, dreamers, and first generation heroes. A college like that creates a culture of progress. The fight, the fight be free, to just exist, taught me a lot.

I am awe-struck by the radical women throughout history who have dared to educate themselves and live out loud, and those who fought for an institution like Mills College to exist in the first place. It’s pretty badass, and will be sorely missed.

Now to rebuild…

https://www.sfgate.com/…/Mills-College-is-closing-to…

National Water Dance Project LIVESTREAM this Saturday!

Casey Lee Thorne in collaboration with the
National Water Dance Project

Saturday, April 18th at 1:00pm PST

Livestream performance on Facebook and Instagram, so you can watch it from anywhere!

The National Water Dance Project features a movement choir of dance artists from across the country, collectively embodying their connection to each other, the earth, and the water that sustains us all. During the global pandemic surrounding COVID-19, this project gives us a chance to recognize that which connects us always: water and movement. We look forward to sharing this short virtual performance with you from our homes to yours. 
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Independent dance artists and companies will be performing at the same time on the same day, embodying the collective spirit of water and movement! 
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Water Dance Project Rehearsal 1
For more information about our creative process, check out our blog post on medium.com!

Farewell San Francisco, hello Cedar City!

University of the ParksI have accepted a full time tenure-track position as Assistant Professor of Dance at Southern Utah University beginning Fall 2019

A humble thanks goes out to everyone in the San Francisco Bay Area who has supported the full flourishing of my career and my dance company, Inside Out Contemporary Ballet. I want to thank our donors, our fiscal sponsor Dancers’ Group, our collaborators, dancers, students, and performing artists who have made our work possible since 2012.

In this time of transition comes much reflection and opportunity for growth. Since finishing my MFA in Dance at Mills College in 2018, I have realized, after 3 years of deliberation, that although my roots lie in classical and contemporary ballet, my artistic interests, academic research, social activism, and other creative projects have evolved beyond the particulars of a contemporary ballet aesthetic. For now IOCB will remain a vessel for my creative work, however I will be creating and promoting work under my own name from now on to provide a larger framework to dream expansively, connect globally, and organize collaborations across aesthetic and conceptual lines.

Stay tuned!

My Definition Of Cool

Cool is dancing like no one is watching and not caring what other people think of you.
(But who is really that secure all the time?)

Cool is standing up for the underdog and doing what’s right.
(But it can be hard to know who is the victim and what is the crime.)

Cool is helping people believe in themselves.
(But who’s gonna save the hero?)

Cool is knowing when enough is enough and it’s time to move on.
(But letting go takes vision, discipline, patience, and trust. All of which can be beaten out of you.)

Cool is working hard to make your dreams a reality.
(But is there rest for the wicked?)

Cool is striking up a conversation with a stranger, and making a new playlist. Cool is forgiving your parents for all the times they weren’t being cool. Cool is loving with abandon even though you’ve been hurt.

Cool is Mark when he stood up for me on the last night I saw him.
I bet you’re still cool, sitting in that living room in the clouds, letting the world pass you by.