A bit of déjà vu in Los Angeles during 2012. Like 2011 – which ended with the announcement that Benjamin Millepied was moving here to start his own arts collective, L.A. Dance Project – this year has drawn to a close with a big announcement that is touted as a major step forward for dance in Los Angeles. Philanthropist Glorya Kaufman has made an undisclosed, but apparently multi-million dollar donation to USC, to help build and endow a top-tier school of dance for the Trojans.
It's a boon for USC, but let's call this what it really is: a great lost opportunity for the city's dance community and a sorry misdirection of enormous and valuable resources.
If there's one thing Los Angeles doesn't need, it's another dance school, even the conservatory-style school that is being planned. Education is critically important, without question. It's just that another training facility is probably at, or near the bottom of, the list of priorities of what would best serve dance in this city. Los Angeles has plenty of elite schools, even at the university level. Indeed, we churn out so many great dancers that – guess what? – many are forced to leave to find jobs and performing opportunities elsewhere.