Best program for a strong dancer who wants to be a broadway ensemble dancer?

Hi! I am looking for colleges and not sure what the best route to go is. I am a strong dancer and have been dancing since I was 3, but I have a passion for musical theatre, also. I attend a high school for musical theatre and am trained in acting and singing as well, I am just not as strong in them. What would you recommend me pursuing in college? Should I major in Musical Theatre or Dance? My goal in life is to be a broadway ensemble dancer. Do you know of any colleges (besides Roosevelt) that offer a Dance focused Musical Theatre program? Thank you, I can use all the help I can get!

I for sure would look at Oklahoma City University’s Dance Performance major. Many, many alums appearing on Broadway and in national tours and with ensembles like the Rockets. OCU also has a strong MT program if you prefer that degree. Both take dance through the Anne Lacey School of Dance. 10 different levels of dance offered in each discipline. You can’t get better dance training anywhere I don’t think.

OCU, Point Park, Univ of Utah and BoCo have heavy dance programs within their MT major and seem to accept strong dancers.


While I would consider CCM a strong triple threat program, in fact one of the strongest, IMO you must have strong vocals and acting to be accepted into that program, especially a female.

Otterbein has an MT degree with an integrated Dance Minor. Otterbein accepts only a handful of students and is highly selective.

This won’t be a popular response if you’re BFA-or-bust but AMDA gets a lot of dancers on Broadway. CCM as well, of course, but admissions at CCM is tougher than AMDA. Pace has a super-desirable commercial dance program.

@tashyyyyy - If your goal in life is to be specifically a Broadway dancer, my suggestion is to look for schools/programs that allow you to focus on that skill. That said, Broadway performers are being asked to perform multiple high-level skills these days and one casting director told my S that b/c the talent pool is so vast, he is able to pick the very best dancers from an audition and then narrow that pool down to the best singers - and actors - to fill the cast. My S entered his MT BFA with very strong dance skills and trained as a triple threat at Wright State. Throughout his college years, he auditioned for ensemble and lead roles at several large casting calls - and invariably got called to the dance callbacks. His dance skills were extremely valuable for getting consideration for the acting roles. But when he was being specifically considered for dance/ensemble in the “premiere” summer venues (MUNY, PCLO, etc.), he quickly came to realize that for every dance spot there were hundreds auditioning - and if you broke your ankle during a show, there were many backups ready and waiting in the wings to take your place (even more so for women). A dancer’s Broadway career is always one major injury away from coming to an end - think football.

That said, if your dream is to dance, then dance. The programs mentioned above are all terrific. For the longest/broadest career, I would suggest going to a program that does its best to develop your acting/singing skills, while honing your dance. If you decide to major in Dance, look for programs that allow/encourage this. Dance Magazine puts out an annual College Edition that outlines what Dance programs/schools offer what genres of dance. You’ll probably want one that offers high-level tap and specific Musical Theater dance training.

Also consider schools that have Musical Theater programs that are heavily entwined with the Dance program - where MT majors skilled in dance are encouraged to take dance classes with Dance majors AND Dance majors are encouraged to dance in the main stage shows - and can take voice/acting lessons/classes. When S was auditioning (2013/14) schools like UMich did not have this crossover, but his alma mater did (programs are always evolving, so so what was true then, may not be now). Most schools like WSU (current MT Director Joe Deer was a Broadway dancer) are very vested in bringing in outside professionals for special seminars/workshops. My S was lucky enough to perform Fosse’s Rich Man’s Frug when a master teacher from the Verdon Fosse Legacy came to WSU for several weeks. Most of the selected performers were Dance majors, with a few MTs thrown in. Master teachers from other choreography traditions have also come to WSU. Other schools offer similar experiences.

Whether you decide to go the MT route or the Dance route, look for programs that have these kinds of connections. Many students on this forum audition for both. If you plan ahead and contact the Departments, some schools/programs may facilitate doing an MT and Dance program audition in the same visit. Good luck.

BoCo, Point Park, and Pace would be great choices. Also agree with Oklahoma City recommendation. I think you want to look at a place where you can continue to improve on your dancing but really bring up the other areas so that you will be more competitive overall. If you are a classically trained dancer, you will stand out in a dance call, but to land the part, you will need to also be able to sing and act.

@tashyyyyy that’s easy to answer. Oklahoma City University is amazing for this goal.

As many others have said: BoCo, Point Park (my school so I’m biased!!), Otterbein, CCM, Michigan, Hartt, OCU and Roosevelt’s dance concentration all offer amazing dance training. You also might want to look into dance programs that offer voice and acting training as well. good luck:)