Before There Was a UCLA Dance Department

Carol Scothorn, dance faculty, UCLA 1956, unknown photographer, Don Bondi collection.

In 1952 Carol Scothorn came to UCLA from Mills College to teach dance and begin a nascent dance program from what was then a Physical Education elective in dance.  Carol, along with Pia Gilbert, began to develop a dance program including Modern technique, Dance History, technical theatre for dancers (lighting , costuming and staging), and Louis Horst’s Pre-classic Dance Forms.  Carol’s first major foray was a noon concert at Royce Hall featuring her dance thesis from Mills, “Riders to the Sea”, based on a play by Synge.  Pia composed the music.  The performers were Carol as the mother, Sandi Conant and Elsie Ivancich were the daughters, and Don Bondi danced the part of the son.  This was Don first ever dance performance, having only studied about a year with Carol in Orchesis , a UCLA cance club which met on Wednesday evenings in PE 214, with Carol and Pia directing.  As a result of the favorable comments of this concert Carol and Pia produced several other “Noon Concerts”.  These concerts were very short, lasting about 40 minutes, to fit in with the UCLA class schedules of 50-minute periods.

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