In the Loop
Faculty News : Oct 30, 2018

"Hairspray" cast dances like the "Nicest Kids in Town"

New musical theatre dance lecturer choreographs almost 20 dance numbers for fall musical

By Brandon McKinley (BMUS BSPR '17) / Video by Taylor Norberg (BSPR '19), Coral Dixon (MA Museology '19) & Grace Landefeld (BA Dance '19)

With the University of Florida's launch of the Faculty 500 initiative to hire 500 new faculty positions, students have more opportunities to receive expert instruction that prepares them for the most competitive fields. The new positions fill needed roles within the College of the Arts.

Andrew Cao, one of 11 of the College of the Arts' newly hired faculty positions for the 2018-2019 academic year, brings almost 20 years of professional musical theatre dance experience to the School of Theatre + Dance. 

Cao said in his experience, UF seems like one of the few programs to have someone specifically dedicated to teach dance as it pertains to musical theatre.

"I feel like I'm able to give everybody a step up on the competition as far as their preparation and readiness to compete when they get to a big city," Cao said.

With Broadway appearances in Disney’s Aladdin, the 2011 revival of Anything Goes with Sutton Foster, and Nice Work if You Can Get It, Cao's experience relays to specific instruction to students in the musical theatre program. He served as the choreographer for this fall's musical Hairspray.

According to Cao, most musicals have about four to six dance numbers. Hairspray had almost 20.

"The creativity that he brings to the show while staying true to the style of the show and the original choreography, it's just absolutely brilliant," said Sophia Young, a sophomore musical theatre student who played Tracy Turnblad in the show.