Taradriver

Birmingham Southern

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Birmingham Southern's Ballet major has come up in a recent college fair. Does anyone have any info? Have they produced any dancers who have gone on to company work? How are the academics?

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A girl who went to Universal Ballet Academy for 2 1/2 years went there. She was not happy with the level of technique and ultimately left to do post-graduate training elsewhere. I don't know anything about the academics or how many graduates get hired. They do have some sort of relationship with Alabama Ballet I believe. I don't know if their program is Vaganova-based or not, that might have been a factor in her leaving.

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The program is classical ballet in nature however, because the program is small and not well-known there has been some difficulty in getting/keeping high level dancers to come there. They have quite a hefty dance scholarship they give out. One of the largest we've heard of. However, the two dancers we know directly turned down the scholarship due to the level of the program.

 

There is no published connection with Alabama Ballet.

vj

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Its been a couple of months since the last post on this topic, so this information may not be useful anymore. I attended Birmingham Southern many moons ago and took ballet there, although in a non major recreational capacity. I am also familiar with the Alabama Ballet since my DD is currently in her 7th year at the school attached to the company. The BSC dance program seems to send its graduates to dance related fields like physical therapy or teaching rather than to performance careers. I do have one friend who apprenticed with the Atlanta Ballet after graduating from BSC, and I know in recent years that there has been the occasional apprentice at Alabama Ballet who came from BSC.

 

In regard to the question of the connection between BSC and Alabama Ballet, it is true that there is no official connection, but the programs do have teachers in common. The same individuals teach jazz and modern at both programs and I know from first hand experience that they are excellent teachers. In particular, the modern teacher has very impressive creditials, having danced with Mark Morris and Baryshnikov in the White Oaks Project, and is also the AD for the modern dance company based in Birmingham.

 

In regard to the academics, this school is top notch, churning out an amazing number of acceptances to med and law schools each year. In my class, over ten percent of the graduating students were accepted into medical schools, and an even higher number were accepted into law schools. Something like 70% of BSC graduates go on to graduate school. Those numbers have remained fairly consistent for over two decades now. It is a very small school were students get a lot of personnel attention. For someone who has a limited budget, some dance talent and wants to get a first rate education, a scholarship may be just the ticket since, as a post above noted, they have a very well endowed and generous scholarship fund. If someone wants a performance career, they may want to look elsewhere since they do not seem to be sending many dancers into the professional arena at this point in time.

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Thanks, Naomi! Your post was very informative. Not everyone wants to dance professionally and BSC sounds like it may be a very nice fit for some students. Having that "unofficial" link with Alabama Ballet can only be a good thing!

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Is there also a graduate programme (planned)?

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BSC doesn't have a graduate program, but as I noted above, they're very good at getting their students into graduate programs at other schools.

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I applied to Birmingham Southern College and found out right before Christmas that I got accepted. :) If anybody from this forum goes there or graduated from there recently or knows someone who goes there, I'd like to hear from them. I have a few questions.

 

1. Am I correct that I don't need to audition for the dance program? From what I've seen, it looks like the dance audition is just for a scolarship, not for admission to the program.

 

2. Is the dance program ballet based?

 

3. Do dance majors have technique classes every day?

 

4.What performance oppurtunities are there?

 

Those are the main questions I had that I can remember now. So if anybody knows, can you please tell me more about the dance program there?

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Hello Olynn!

 

Birmingham Southern College is a wonderful school, beautiful campus and excellence all around. Our daughter did audition for the school of dance and yes it offers ballet, jazz, and modern. I would say that ballet technique is offered on a regular basis and there are performing opportunities. I do not know if you have to audition to get into the program. I believe there were about 60 dancers on our audition day. I would make a call to inquire about admittance into the school of dance. I do know that the director, Mira, will gladly come to the studio to see you dance because other audition dates were available by appointment. You will truly love this college! Our daughter will not be attending BSC but we felt very good about the school. Good Luck! momdeb

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I am going to be going to BSC this fall, and since I know a lot more about the dance program there than I did when I posted the questions, I'm going to answer my own questions now in case other people are wondering the same things.

 

Anyone can take dance classes at BSC because they have classes of a variety of levels, but to try to get into the the higher level classes, you have to go to the audtion. They only have one audition, but if you can't make it that day (Like me) you can contact the dance department and ask to come and take a regular class there a few days earlier instead, which is what I did.

 

The program is based in Vaganova ballet technique, although they also have classes in things like jazz and modern.

 

Of the four levels of ballet technique, two have class three days a week and two have class five days a week.

 

BSC does not produce full length ballets, but they do have performances. I've gotten the impression that the performances have quite a variety of classical ballet, modern, jazz, ect. I believe there are three performances a year. The dancers get to do some of the coreography.

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I have just completed my first year as a Dance major at BSC. It took a lot of getting used to. The program is very small, and currently in the midst of many changes (for the better in my opinion). Honestly, I would not recommend this school to anyone who is very serious about dancing professionally or very advanced. The training is very antiquated, and if anything I have gotten worse since dancing there. It is very strengthening, however; I lost 15 pounds in my first year. The modern teacher is extremely talented and an incredible dancer. If not for her, I would have dropped out after my first week. There aren't many performances, and the program is almost entirely student run. The academics are VERY good though. It is a good balance. If you are still struggling with your technique and can push yourself to stay in shape, then I would consider it only because financially they are very generous with scholarships (that's the reason I went). I'm currently in the process of completing transfer applications.

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Hi Aldancer17,

Yes, we know about Birmingham Southern. I am sorry you found the dance school disappointing. Our dd decided to go out of state for college and has had a great first year. She did audition for BSC and was offered a generous scholarship but had heard the dance program was weak. Like you said the academics and credibility of the college is wonderful!!! We know the modern teacher well (actually we know all the teachers) and the jazz teacher well and liked them both. I hope you find another good dance school to attend. Ballet Talk really does a good job of giving detailed information on each school, so the best of luck!

Let us know what you decide!!

Sincerely, momdeb

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I am sad to report that BSC's dance major has been shut down. I think they still have a minor though.

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