University of Saint Francis Adds Dance Degrees

March 11th, 2013

News Coverage:

March 11, 2013

News Release

FORT WAYNE, Ind. - The University of Saint Francis (USF) has collaborated with the Fort Wayne Ballet to offer four-year and two-year programs in dance through the university's Fort Wayne Ballet Conservatory at the University of Saint Francis. It is the region's only four-year degree of its type.

The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance and Associate of Arts in Dance will prepare students for professional dance careers while delivering a sound liberal arts core curriculum for a well-rounded education. The degrees feature study of a full range of dance styles-classical ballet, contemporary dance, jazz, tap, character and repertoire-along with dance history and theory, pedagogy and choreography. The dance technique core, supplemented by an intense curriculum, positions students to perform in a professional dance company, attend graduate school in dance, teach in a public or private dance school or choreograph.

Dance courses will be held at the new facilities of Fort Wayne Ballet at Auer Arts Center, which include state-of-the-art rehearsal studios with pianos and dance flooring to protect against injury; large, mirrored dance studios with barres, observation windows and pianos for live accompaniment; and an art gallery, coffee shop and bakery, lounge area and parking. Fort Wayne Ballet instructors will be the program's USF faculty members.

Academic courses will be taken in the USF School of Creative Arts (SOCA), a creative, collaborative learning environment known for highly competent graduates in a broad spectrum of media, arts and business professions. The program will provide the studio rigor of the dance professional and the academic environment of a small private, Midwestern institution to give students a full and balanced collegiate experience.

"A college education is not essential to obtain employment as a professional dancer, however, many dancers obtain degrees in unrelated fields to prepare themselves for careers after dance," said Karen Gibbons-Brown, Fort Wayne Ballet artistic and executive director and the USF dance artistic director and adviser. "The completion of a college program in dance and education is essential to teach dance in college, high school or elementary school."

Gibbons-Brown will work with SOCA Dean Rick Cartwright and assistant professor Colleen Huddleson, who will serve as liaison and program adviser. "The program will combine the talent and national reputation of the Fort Wayne Ballet’s conservatory program with the established liberal arts tradition of USF," Cartwright said. "The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance will feature a dance technique core that rivals other nationally recognized dance departments. This program also continues the strategic expansion of USF School of Creative Arts education beyond its well-known visual arts core. Combined with the past additions of theater and music, the dance program supports the School of Creative Arts' broader vision as it enriches its fine arts component."

Registration has begun for the new fall dance program. Those who wish to learn more can visit or contact the USF Office of Admissions at 260-399-8000 or

The University of Saint Francis, founded in 1890 as a comprehensive university in the Catholic Franciscan tradition, offers more than 60 undergraduate and 14 graduate programs in five schools: The School of Health Sciences, School of Arts and Sciences, Keith Busse School of Business and Entrepreneurial Leadership, School of Professional Studies and School of Creative Arts. More than 2,300 students from a broad geographic region attend USF for its academic excellence. The university has a regional campus in Crown Point, Ind.

Source: The University of Saint Francis