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The Performing Arts Department at La Roche University offers a unique major modeled after the most elite collegiate dance programs in the country.

Note: Admission for the Performing Arts/Dance Studio program has been temporarily paused.

The performing arts major at La Roche University focuses on artistic and academic excellence. Working closely with committed instructors, you’ll develop into a confident and articulate individual who is prepared to enter the professional workforce.

The program is rooted in classical ballet, but you’ll have the opportunity to master other genres, such as contemporary ballet, modern technique, jazz, Pilates technique and dance composition.

Along with your training, you’ll gain a better historical understanding of the art form and grow as an entertainer through practice and performance.

Bachelor of Arts in Performing Arts: Dance Studio

This degree offers a rich, conservatory-style setting where you can learn all genres. We require you to reach equal proficiency in classical ballet technique and contemporary technique upon graduation.

You’ll demonstrate your competency and knowledge of all techniques through the production of a student-guided senior thesis, which identifies your technical balance and highlights your individual artistic strengths.

Industry-Connected Faculty

Performing Arts Department Chair Maria Caruso is the founder and director of Bodiography Contemporary Ballet in Pittsburgh. Well known for her leadership and choreographic strength in focusing on humanity in dance, Ms. Caruso has choreographed numerous ballets for the company’s repertoire and has been commissioned to produce works for:

  • Brooks and Company Dance
  • Off Broad Street Center for Dance Arts
  • North Allegheny High School
  • Butler Community College
  • The Garrett Lakes Arts Festival
  • The Elsie Awards honoring director Rob Marshall

Real-World Experience

You’ll have the opportunity to work with professional choreographers. Every year La Roche holds its Spring Gala for students to perform with several professional choreographers at the Byham Theater.

For the duration of four years, you’ll study and train primarily with the chair of the performing arts department while receiving enrichment from company artists and esteemed guests of Bodiography Contemporary Ballet.

Technical Training

Throughout your studies, practice sessions and performances, you’ll become a well-rounded artist by gaining proficiency in both classical and contemporary ballet techniques, and knowledge of the art forms.

You’ll take courses in performance, ballet technique, modern/contemporary, pointe technique/pas de Deux, variations/repertoire and pilates/dance conditioning.

Elective Courses

You may choose to enhance your skills by participating in elective courses in tap and hip-hop. You’ll also complete additional coursework in ballet, contemporary, jazz, Pilates and more. Elective courses are non-credit, but there is no additional fee for enrolled dance majors.


Bodiography hosts a six-week summer intensive at its studio between June and August. For each of your four years in the program, you’re guaranteed a space in the program without audition.

The summer program requires a separate Bodiography tuition fee, but you may take up to six credits toward your major each year. This option is ideal if you’re looking to graduate early, or declare a second major or minor without additional time and coursework.

For High School Students

Earn college credit while you’re still in high school through the College Preparatory Ballet Program, offered through La Roche’s partnership with Bodiography Center for Movement.