New York Times features UW–Madison alumna and pioneering dance educator Jody Gottfried Arnhold

The New York Times featured a story recently, headlined “Repeat After Her: There is No Dance Without Dance Education,” about UW–Madison alumna and dance advocate, educator, and founder of the Dance Education Laboratory Jody Gottfried Arnhold.


“In dance education circles, her first name is enough,” reads the article. “Everyone knows Jody. They call her the doyenne of dance, the godmother. They speak of her as the No. 1 cheerleader, the most tireless and tenacious champion, the general.”

Arnhold, who earned her bachelor’s degree from UW–Madison’s Dance Department in 1965, founded the Dance Education Laboratory nearly 30 years ago, notes the article, and she has been teaching in it ever since. Prior to that, Arnhold taught elementary students in New York City public schools for 25 years, and developed a dance curriculum “rooted in dance-making and integrated into the life of the school.”

“Over the past 30 years, (Arnhold) has transformed dance education in the city,” according to the article. She also “could be considered the most influential philanthropist in the country” in the fields of dance and dance education.

However, Arnhold told the New York Times she doesn’t like that last title. “I’m not a philanthropist,” she said in an interview. “I’m a dance educator.”

Among her accomplishments, In 2012 Arnhold established the Arnhold Graduate Dance Education Program at Hunter College, and in 2018, she founded the Arnhold Institute for Dance Education Research, Policy & Leadership at Teachers College, Columbia University — the only doctoral program in dance education in the country.

UW–Madison’s Chell Parkins was one of the first graduates of that program. She told the New York Times it gave her “the theory and scholarship to promote dance education more effectively,” which she is doing now as the inaugural Arnhold Director of Dance Education in the School of Education’s Dance Department.

This position was made possible by a gift from Jody Gottfried Arnhold with her husband John Arnhold. Their support was matched by the School of Education’s Impact 2030 initiative.

To learn more about Arnhold’s influential career, check out the full article in the New York Times.

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