The long and luminous history of Dance at Illinois dates back to 1898, with the beginning of the May Day festivities which were performed annually for 35 years. By 1920, courses were offered in “interpretative” and “natural” dance, and in 1929, Ione Johnson was hired to begin a program in modern dance. Under her guidance, the student dance group, Orchesis, was formed and began giving public performances in 1930. The developing dance program gained momentum in 1948 with the hiring of Margaret Erlanger, a graduate of the pioneering dance program at the University of Wisconsin under the legendary Margaret H’Doubler. A visionary and resourceful leader for 25 years, Erlanger transformed dance at Illinois from a collection of classes in Women’s Physical Education to a model program of national prominence. With the completion of the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts in 1968, Dance joined the College of Fine and Applied Arts and is the only autonomous dance department granting BFA and MFA degrees within a College of Fine and Applied Arts in the State of Illinois. The Department of Dance is an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Schools of Dance and has been consistently ranked among the top dance programs in the nation. For a more detailed history please see, Patricia Knowles' and Jan Simonds' history.