gogators

Bard College

4 posts in this topic

Though it's not a place for those seeking professional-level ballet training, it is a place that combines rigorous academics with an heavy emphasis & appreciation for the arts.

 

It's a small liberal arts college (about 2500 students), and is esp. known for their photography program, English lit & fiction/non-fiction writing program, economics, and even the sciences (new science bldg is gorgeous). They also have a music conservatory program that combines music major with a major outside of music. All seniors required to write & present a sr. thesis as part of graduation (all thesis are published & bound and added to school library). Campus is gorgeous (+400 acres right on the Hudson river, next door to Kaatsbaan program in Tivoli) and features $50mill performing arts center designed by Frank Gehry. School finances seem to be pretty healthy with generous support of large donors, including George Soros, and they seem to offer some nice financial aid/scholarship programs.

 

Dance dept is mainly modern, but their new dept head wants to build up their ballet offerings. Gorgeous studios located in performing arts building and theatre itself is very nice. But would not consider this a place for serious ballet study.

 

Highly recommend their "Instant Decision Program" in November if you're interested in applying. Prospective students visit campus for 1/2 day program (including participating in a seminar lead by one of the profs - req'ed reading prior to program). Good way to really evaluate school and the students get da ecision letter within a week that's non-binding. (Dd got early acceptance this way.)

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We were at a Bard College reception, where Bard's president Leon Botstein announced that they are expanding their dance program, which includes having New York's Bill T Jones company in residence at Bard College beginning this fall.

 

They just issued a press release on this new collaboration with Bill T Jones:

 

http://www.bard.edu/news/releases/pr/fstory.php?id=1722

Edited by gogators

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I thought this might be good timing with dks out there who are in high school (or post-high school) and may be considering a liberal arts college and/or liberal arts education but still want to keep their "toes" dipped in the dance world.

 

My dd is in her second semester of her freshman year at Bard and here are my observations of her experiences there so far:

 

Bard is wonderful place for those that want room & flexibility to explore & study areas outside of their intended major. Bard does have core class requirements, but they give alot of flexibility on the many classes you can choose from to fulfill each core requirement. That is not to say, Bard's classes are easy. In fact, I would say the bar is set high, and most, if not all, classes are writing & reading intensive with class sizes at about 15-20. (Typical assignments are papers that usually are 5-7 pages in length and with small classes, teachers aren't shy about assigning multiple papers during the semester.) I would say that my dd was a good HS student, but she is probably working harder now at Bard, than she did in HS. But...she absolutely loves her professors and her classes, and I think that's the difference, when in HS I remember her having to take some classes that were not her cup of tea. (She also noticed how she is surrounded by students who she says are really smart. :-) )

 

Her dance experience at Bard is probably what has surprised me the most. Bard's dance dept. is known more for its modern program, and more so, its choreography classes. (The dance dept. still has an affiliation with Bill T. Jones company.) But frankly, their ballet offerings are weak. Dd has taken their intermediate and advanced level ballet classes, and she says they're not on par with her ballet classes at her old pre-pro school, though she says they have live accompaniment in the classes.

 

But I would say she has had as many performance opportunities as she has had when she was still serious ballet student. At Bard, it appears there is no difference in performance opportunities between those majoring in dance (and most she says are really double-majors) and those like my dd who are non-dance majors. No surprise, all of her performances are modern-based. But I think her ballet training has helped set her apart somewhat and she has had to turn down invitations to participate in some dance pieces bec. of her work load. (Note that this would be true for any dk with a strong ballet background -- IMO I think dks w/ a ballet background are "naturals" to many dance styles.) Many pieces are group pieces, but she has also performed in trio- or very small group pieces, one of which is next month that will be set to live music.

 

Like many dks who spent many years pursuing ballet seriously, I think it was hard for my dd to leave that all-encompassing ballet world, and she probably misses taking daily "class." But I think her world has opened to other interests, and she is still enjoying dance, even if it's not ballet. :-)

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