The University of Saint Francis, in collaboration with the Fort Wayne Ballet, will offer a two- and four-year dance degree starting in the fall.
Students will be able to graduate with an associate of arts in dance or a bachelor of fine arts in dance through the School of Creative Arts at Saint Francis. The program includes classes in classical ballet, contemporary, jazz, tap, character and repertoire dance styles, along with theory and choreography classes.
The four-year degree will be the first of its type in the region, university officials announced Monday.
The curriculum prepares students to perform professionally or to become dance instructors and choreographers, officials said. Rick Cartwright, dean for the school of creative arts, said dancers with a degree have more viable alternatives later in life.
The life of a dancer is short, Cartwright said. When they receive a BFA or an AA in dance, it gives them more options. They can teach dance or develop their own schools. This provides them with many more opportunities.
Students will take dance courses from Fort Wayne Ballet instructors in the studios at Auer Arts Center, and will take academic courses at the School of Creative Arts. Working with a program adviser, students can supplement their dance courses with studies focusing on media, arts and business professions.
With registration already in process for the fall, Cartwright said three students were interested in the program before the official announcement.
We would like to have eight students, Cartwright said. Were late in the recruiting season, so we feel like thats a realistic number for the first year.
Cartwright said the program has been in development for the past several years as a part of a strategic plan to expand programs outside of the schools visual arts core. The school worked with Fort Wayne Ballet to create a curriculum that was approved by the university. The School of Creative Arts will now offer 12 programs for students in the fall. Classes start Aug. 26.