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Jan Hypes, Long-Time Pomona Dance Professor, Has Died

Jeannette (Jan) Hypes, long-time professor of dance at Pomona College, died Tuesday, July 17, at the age of 89.

Arriving at Pomona College in 1957, Hypes designed and directed the College’s dance program for more than 30 years. When she joined the College, dance was part of Physical Education, which was divided into two departments – men’s and women’s. With the opening of Pendleton Gym, in 1970, she made her move to win over skeptics and introduce dance on the academic level.

“They didn’t understand that dance is a viable college subject­–beyond learning how to compose dance, or the sheer techniques of dance,” explained Hypes in a 2004 Pomona College Magazine article about emeriti professors. “You can learn a lot about yourself, collaboration with others, that you just can’t learn in a typical classroom situation.”

By 1973, dance courses were listed in the catalog and, a decade later, male enrollment in her classes had reached 50 percent.

Though Hypes retired in 1988, she continued to lead her renowned early morning adult fitness classes in the Rains Center, for faculty, staff, and community members, until a few years ago, and chaired the Emeriti Committee. She remained in contact with alumni throughout the world and continued to bake and distribute gingerbread-dancer cookies across campus each December.

Outside Pomona College, Hypes was active in numerous professional organizations, including the National Dance Association (NDA), where she served a term as president and edited the NDA publication Discover Dance, a teaching guide for modern dance in secondary schools (1978). In 1974, she conducted research in New Guinea, producing a documentary film, New Guinea Dance and CultureWith Lee Ann Fujimoto, she co-authored and published Exercise: The Bottom Line (1984). She was also active in the American College Dance Festival Association, the California Dance Educators Association and the Congress on Research in Dance. In 1994, NDA named her the 1994 Heritage Honoree for her contributions to the field.

Hypes held a bachelor’s degree from Bowling Green State University and a master’s degree from the Claremont Graduate School.

Survivors include her daughters Sylvia and Rebecca as well as many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  Funeral arrangements are pending.