Not enough performing arts opportunities for Roosevelt students

By Kristin McKee
Torch Correspondent

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Photo by Kristin Mckee

In my freshman year of high school, I discovered I had a true fascination with the performing arts. Through four years of theatre scripts, sheet music and bruises from dance, the burst of euphoria from being on stage with people who shared the same elation brought me much happiness.

The dramatic transition from high school to college personally would have been a lot easier if there were opportunities to re-enter the spotlight and connect with individuals with similar interests. However, Roosevelt does not offer many opportunities for its students outside of the Chicago College of Performing Arts (CCPA) to participate in performances.

Before you ask that I just audition for CCPA, there are multiple factors to be considered. For example, expenses play a major factor for many students. According to Roosevelt’s main website, the undergraduate tuition for CCPA for the 2017-18 school year is $36,734, which is $7,771 more than the tuition of the rest of the colleges at Roosevelt. Another usual circumstance is the common stigma with pursuing art degrees that most parents/guardians believe and, as a result, will not financially or emotionally support.

In the Odyssey article, “The ‘Impossibility’ of Being a Performing Arts Major,” by Elizabeth Calvert, she addresses this stigma: “The arts are considered unstable, unprofitable, and overall an impossible career path to be successful in. This notion of the starving artist is the common idea of what the arts are.”

As someone who is still trying to incorporate side projects in the performing arts, I feel underwhelmed with the options I have. Roosevelt does not provide any theatrical shows that are open to anyone willing to audition, so the only other opportunities are in music and dance. The university does have a choral class called University Singers, but they only have one school-sponsored performance per semester. For dance, Roosevelt provides humanities credits for taking classes at the Lou Conte Dance Studio, but you do not get the benefit of performing from only taking those dance classes.

There are many benefits provided with providing performing arts opportunities for all students. One of these benefits would be students having the chance to try something new or something they have always wanted to try but never did. These students would also have a chance to meet people with similar interests outside of their required courses just like with any other activity. Perhaps the most significant benefit would be helping students with their presentation skills and help them reach out of their comfort zones.

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