From 2013: Dance Advocate Jody Gottfried Arnhold: New Yorkers For Dance
(New York) – Jody and John Arnhold have donated $6.085 million to Teachers College, Columbia University, to launch an institute dedicated to developing leadership and expanding the evidence base in dance education through new research and reevaluation of existing knowledge.
The Arnhold Institute for Dance Education Research, Policy & Leadership will champion research informing public policies to eliminate disparities in the availability of high-quality dance education — especially in pre-K–12 public education — caused by an overall lack of access to the arts and opportunities for embodied learning.
“This is an enormous opportunity for Teachers College to affect the fundamental conditions of growth and human development for young people nationally,” said TC President Thomas Bailey.
The Arnholds’ gift builds on their 2016 commitment to TC of $4.365 million, which established the nation’s only doctoral program in dance education.
“The Arnhold Institute at Teachers College is a critically important step toward realizing the vision to which I’ve devoted my career — a quality, sequential dance education for every child,” said Jody Gottfried Arnhold (M.A. ’73), who taught dance in New York City public schools for 25 years and earned her Dance Education master’s degree at TC.
Teachers College Campaign Logo (PRNewsFoto/Teachers College, Columbia University)
The Arnhold Institute crowns a decades-long series of creative and philanthropic efforts undertaken by Arnhold — called “the godmother of dance” by The Wall Street Journal — to create a pipeline of professionals to serve the field of dance education on different fronts.
An early partnership between the public school where Arnhold taught and Ballet Hispánico showed her the power of a dance educator and cultural organization working together in a school. Subsequently, as board chair, she helped build Ballet Hispánico into an internationally acclaimed performance and teaching force. Arnhold also founded the 92Y Dance Education Laboratory (DEL); served as Co-Chair of the New York City Department of Education Blueprint for Teaching and Learning in Dance (pre-K–12); created a graduate dance education program at Hunter College as a pipeline for prepared and certified dance educators; and created TC’s doctoral program, which prepares university-level faculty to teach dance educators and conduct research. Arnhold also served as executive producer of PS DANCE!, the 2015 EMMY-nominated documentary film about dance education in New York City.
“As a result of Jody’s foresight, commitment and generosity, there are now generations of new certified dance teachers teaching in K–12 schools and a growing corps of faculty at universities and colleges,” says Barbara Bashaw, TC’s new Arnhold Professor of Practice, Director of the Dance Education Program and Director of the Arnhold Institute for Dance Education Research, Policy & Leadership. “Now, because of the Arnhold Institute, there will be strong, trained voices using data to create a broader environment that supports and enhances the power of dance and dance education.”
Both TC’s doctoral program and the new Arnhold Institute seek to advance pre-K–12 dance education in public schools. The Institute’s research will inform policy and practice, providing much-needed guidance and evidence-based recommendations for dance educators, school systems, universities and cultural organizations. The Institute will also pair TC students and faculty with practitioners from the broader dance education landscape.
“Jody Arnhold has demonstrated time and again how big ideas are transformed into breakthrough initiatives through the power of strategic philanthropic partnerships with outstanding academic institutions,” says Suzanne M. Murphy, TC’s Vice President for Development & External Affairs. “In this case, her big idea — and dream — of making dance education an essential part of every school child’s experience is now closer to being realized through a partnership with Teachers College and its extensive research and teaching expertise.”