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Roosevelt University Adds Dance-Focused Musical Theatre Degree

 Performers in a scene from the College of Performing Arts' fall opera.
Performers in a scene from the College of Performing Arts' fall opera.
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THE LOOP — Theatre students dreaming of a gig in the chorus line may be flocking to Roosevelt University following the announcement that the Downtown college will add a dance concentration to its Bachelor of Fine Arts program.

Next month, an inaugural class of 17 students from 11 U.S. states and Canada will christen the new musical theatre program that offers a dance emphasis, joining the university's existing vocal performance concentration. More than 60 dancers applied to the program at auditions conducted in New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Chicago earlier this year.

The degree track will be the first in the Midwest to offer a specialization in dance for musical theatre, according to a release from Roosevelt University.

"We are creating a new kind of program that will provide the most comprehensive and well-rounded musical theatre education available to actors, singers and dancers," said Sean Kelley, director of the school's Theatre Conservatory, according to a release. "It will give us a reach like never before, putting us in a category to become the premier musical theatre program in the country."

Kelly said he anticipates the new degree program will double enrollment in the school's musical theatre department in about four years.

The new program was designed by choreographer and Joffrey Ballet principal Luis Perez, who directs Roosevelt's musical theatre program.

"Today's theatre professionals need more and more skill," Perez said in a release. "With this new component, we are creating a triple threat of acting, singing and dancing, which we believe will pave the way for our graduates to succeed in any one or all three disciplines."

The new program will be housed in Roosevelt's new facility at 218 S. Wabash Ave.