An increasing number of dancers are choosing to enroll in a college dance degree program nowadays, as more schools are offering the opportunity to develop your technique with world-renowned faculty while performing new and classic works. Chicago's Joffrey Ballet is the latest professional company to tailor a program that combines dance with working towards a degree. They have partnered with City Colleges of Chicago's Loop campus to offer an Associate in Arts in Dance. The program, starting this fall, will give students access to a diverse training in ballet, modern, jazz, world, and hip-hop dance with classes at Joffrey Tower, while academic courses will be held a few blocks away at Harold Washington College.

So what's the goal of this new program? To ensure that students can leave with credits that will allow them to transfer to a four-year college or university towards a bachelor's degree in dance, but also to give them a skill set to pursue a dance or dance-related career. Though students with dance training are expected, those at a more beginner level are also welcomed.

Other dance companies around the country have created similar opportunities for dancers to combine book smarts with ballet technique. Boston Ballet partnered with Northeastern University in 2013, creating a program that combines online, in class, and in-studio classes, giving dancers up to six years to complete a bachelor's degree. American Ballet Theater, too, has a partnership with New York University. Their program offers a Master's Degree in Ballet Pedagogy, boasting Sascha Radetsky as faculty (he was recently named the director of the ABT Studio Company - read more about that here). 

Dancers - weigh in! Would you consider one of these programs, or would you prefer to try and pick a path, going straight into a four-year university or starting your professional dance career in a company? Leave us a comment!