CCPA to offer new space, new degree concentration
Published: Monday, October 29, 2012
Updated: Monday, October 29, 2012 18:10
Roosevelt University’s Chicago College of Performing Arts Theatre Conservatory will offer a Bachelors of Fine Arts in musical theatre with a dance emphasis in fall 2013.
It will utilize the third floor of off-campus space located at 218 S. Wabash for instruction, practice and performance space.
CCPA is one of the first programs in the nation to offer this emphasis. The mind behind the program is Luis Perez, an associate professor of CCPA and the Theatre Conservatory.
“My wife and I both came from the concert dance world into musical theatre and had to play catch up,” he said. “I identify myself more as a dancer than anything else. I was challenged to create a unique identity for it.”
Perez said the program will include training in voice and dance so students are prepared and ready to compete with others for roles after graduation.
“[Perez has] danced with Joffrey [Ballet] and big, important dancers all over the world,” Associate Dean Rudy Marcozzi said. “He’s the real thing. I think it’s a win, win, win for everybody. It’s exciting to be creating and designing space to be what we need it instead of retrofitting.”
“We didn’t have the space to do this program in. It’s tricky for us in the Auditorium Building because it’s not about just square footage,” she said. “It’s heights of ceilings, widths of rooms, whether there are pillars or not, soundproofing, and it’s very expensive to make those changes to this building.”
Instead, the space at 218 S. Wabash will include five new studios, including a camera studio, and a performance space. Students partaking in the new major will use the space, along with all Theatre Conservatory students.
“We were running out of space,” Perez said. “The program has already grown so much. It’s exciting.”
The space CCPA currently has in the Auditorium Building includes some classrooms on the sixth floor, a recital hall, theatre and classrooms on the seventh floor, a studio on the eighth floor, and office and classroom space on the ninth floor, mostly for the Music Conservatory. The Music Conservatory previously obtained the former bookstore on the corner of Wabash Avenue and Congress Parkway for rehearsal space.
“There’s no space in this building suitable for the teaching we’re doing over there,” Marcozzi said. “Every room in this building is too narrow or has a pillar in the middle of it or not high enough ceilings. We’re running every space we have from 8 a.m. to 10 at night. We can’t expand the program with a new major without additional space.”
There is $900,000 in the university’s fiscal year 2013 capital budget for the renovation of the space.
“The new program we think will be revenue neutral by the time the second class is accepted,” Marcozzi said. “It will almost double music theatre enrollment, which is why the university committed the capital budget to it rather than operating expenses.”
The floor was first leased by CCPA a year and a half ago for dance studio space and is still being leased. A long-term contract is being negotiated, and the deadline for the renovation of the space is Aug. 2013.
“Based on the number of people that apply and the small number of people we accept, we think we’ll do a very good job of attracting people to the program,” Marcozzi said.
Twenty-eight freshmen will be accepted into the new major in the fall. Within four years, the music theatre population will double from 125 to 250 students. A new professor will be hired for the fall and another one will be hired in 2014 to teach within the major.
Perez said various performing arts high schools, dance magazines and dance teachers and organizations have been informed about the new major.
“It’s going crazy,” he said. “A lot of people are very interested in it. It’s a really exciting time for everybody.”
Do you agree that the new major and space are a win, win, win? Tweet us your thoughts @RUTORCH