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Winter 1999

All the World's a Stage
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Those who worked under Hawkins describe her as an inspiring leader. But she was also socially conservative, so much so that it took three entire faculty meetings for her colleagues to persuade her to allow students to wear tights, as opposed to calf-length skirts in pastel colors, to their dance classes.

Still, it was Hawkins' foresight that led to an expanded dance curriculum, including, most significantly for the current incarnation of the department, a program in dance ethnology. In 1963, inspired by the addition of ethnomusicology offerings within UCLA's Music Department, Hawkins arranged to hold classes in the movement practices of Yugoslavia, Bali and Mexico. The stage was set for UCLA's dance department to focus not just on dance of the United States but, uniquely, on dance of the world.

It was in 1968, then, goaded by "student pressure" and the specific catalyst of a strike against the Vietnam War, that Hawkins birthed the idea that has since grown into the Department of World Arts and Cultures. As a member of a multidisciplinary university committee charged with responding to student demands for accountability, Hawkins dreamed up a new interdisciplinary program "that would be more liberal in nature ... and not tied directly to a graduate education degree. I felt that the broad experience in the so-called ethnic arts could provide a foundation that could be useful in several fields of study."

Fueled by anti-war activism, the struggle for civil rights and the growth of ethnicity-based political movements, the Ethnic Arts Program was established in 1972, drawing from distinct curricula in dance, art, music, theater, anthropology and folklore and mythology.

Allegra Fuller Snyder, the dance ethnologist who replaced Hawkins as chair of Dance in 1974, was responsible for nurturing Ethnic Arts, terming it "the truest liberal arts program in the university."

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