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balletbooster

Post Career and College Dance Programs

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vagansmom

Vrsfanatic mentioned this college as one that has, in the past, accepted non-traditional means of obtaining degrees. They continue to do this presently. I've received credits via distance learning through their programs by presenting portfolios. They are very amenable to this and from everything I've read, I couldn't imagine their not accepting PROVABLE life experience for dance credits.

 

Unfortunately most other traditional colleges don't do this, for dance or other majors. I've spent considerable time exploring other pathways towards higher education and have only found a sprinking of programs that allow flexibility. Thomas Edison is the leader in that regard.

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mbjerk

These days there are so many opportunities to get a college degree post career. Many colleges/universities have programs tailored to working professionals at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. There are also online courses galore. For a professional dancer looking toward the future, I would recommend these type programs and a major in business or hard science.

 

To my knowledge, most universities will hire a faculty member based on the professional career in lieu of a college degree. But if one hopes for tenure, the degree may become an issue, and they want a Master's or better (unless you were a star in a major company).

 

I am still confused about college dancers joining professional companies of the ABT, SFB, etc. level. I am sure there are a few examples, but these seem to be the rare exception.

 

From my own experience, continuing to read and maintain an interest in things helps out when one returns to college. I thought taking the GRE and GMAT would be awful, but I survived quite well with a little refreshing in math. Keeping alive with the world makes one ready when the time comes to look at other options besides company life.

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allegrafan

I just wanted to add a little bit of information to this interesting topic.

 

My mom (she's approcahing 54), is a dance teacher in a theatre arts program. She has been a dance teacher for the last 30+ years, and had been part of the faculty of the college for the past 23+ years.

 

A few years ago, the status of the college changed, to one that will eventually have a "university" degree status. What that meant was, that all teachers must have a masters degree in order to be employed there. As most of you are aware, not a lot of dance teachers have had the time to go out and get a masters. Their devotion to their art has taken up most of their time. My mom was pleasantly surprised to be given an "honourary" masters degree in dance by the college, in recognition of her experience and expertise in her field. :)

 

So the moral here is, that you don't always have to have the "piece of paper" in order to be employed in a college--just ask my mom!! Experience counts for a lot. Her honourary degree hangs proudly on her office wall.

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citibob

Sigh...

 

Every faculty member at Yale University must have a Yale degree in order to be hired. It's an age-old tradition.

 

When my father was hired, he therefore received an honorary doctorate from Yale.

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Hans

Am not a parent, but just to let you know there is hope for a post-college career, one of my best friends recently got in to Boston Ballet's corps. She will graduate from Indiana University at the end of this year and will start working with Boston afterward :).

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vrsfanatic

There are two dancers from our school who graduated from Juilliard who are now dancing with SFB and one is with Ballet Tech. Considering we have only 5 students who have graduated from Juilliard, I do not think that is a bad ratio. One of our graduates, who will be finishing up at Juilliard this year will dance with North Carolina Dance Theatre next year. Just for the information, he was offered a contract with Boston Ballet all five years before but he decided not to take the contract when he finished up at Juilliard! I say this because he had options.

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mbjerk

I would say that Julliard and perhaps Indiana or NCSA are exceptions to the rule of the Goucher, Towson and even Oklahoma U. types of programs. Julliard makes wonderful dancers, but the acceptance rate is that of a professional company. Also to be in NY and the possibilities.....

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BW

Quick question re Julliard's program - I always thought they were more of a modern dance oriented program. I must be mistaken??

 

Congratulations to the students mentioned by Hans and Vrsfanatic! And yes, to allegrafan's mother for working for such a wise University! :)

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Guest pookey

I'm a professional, not a parent but I thought I would post my two cents. (it is very rare that I actually hve time to sit down and post a reply like this:)) I graduated from a highly regarded dance program and was accepted into very good company. While in the program several professionals Jeremy Collins included came in and out of the program. Usually theese pros would use the program as a way to continue dancing while getting a degree in something other than dance. Often you would see an ex pro who had the intetions of graduatuing in four years with a bachelors in ballet and pre med. These are very intelligent and dedicated individuals. Often by being a member of the ballet dept they were able to recieve scholarship money helping to defray the cost in a degree other than dance.

I am now exposed to a different University in the same state that I am dancing. This university also seems to welcome pros with open arms. Although they are less flexible and it would be very difficult to get anything other than a bachelors or masters in dance. Pros will often attend the U and perform, choreoraph and if they are lucky even teach a little. As I myself was considering retirement I heard over and over from this U "you are not ready to give up dance yet, come as a masters student you will be happy and then ready to teach at the college level." While this is not in my plans it certaintly seems like a good deal.

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balletbooster

Thank you to everyone who has responded! :) It is great to know that there are not only options available, but there are real live examples of folks who have navigated these waters successfully. Your time in posting your experiences and sharing your knowledge is greatly appreciated.

 

Please keep those stories coming! :cool:

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Treefrog

In case any pre-retirement dancers are following this thread and wondering where to go to get credit for their past work, and how to go about it:

 

There is an organization called the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning. CAEL does not work directly with individuals, but their mission is to promote, well, adult and experiential learning (which means, essentially, learning that takes place on the job or in the context of other life experiences). The website has links to lots of resources, including a list of the member colleges and universities. CAEL has been around for a long time and is well respected.

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Garyecht

In an ideal world we would be able to identify a population of individuals who aspire to a professional dance career and we could find the percentage of those who go to college. We could also find the proportion of those who don’t go to college and who wind up with professional careers. We could find the same for those who go to college. Having such information could inform parent and students about how to pursue life after high school.

 

Unfortunately, such information will never exist. Too hard to obtain.

 

With that in mind, I decided to invest one day of my time (I’m retired) into a little study of professional ballet dancers and their training. I surveyed 100 ballet dancers from 43 professional ballet companies and found out whether or not they went to college. I worked from the list of ballet companies on the Web developed by Amy Reusch. I selected companies more or less arbitrarily, but included only US professional companies (no youth companies). Only if the site had bios of their dancers and the link worked, were they included in my study. I counted the number of bios posted on the site and selected one-tenth (or 5 whichever was the smaller number) of them by simple random sampling using a table of random numbers. I read the selected bios and recorded the sex of the dancer, if the dancer was foreign, and whether the dancer had gone to college. I included the designation of foreign because I suspected that few, if any, dancers from foreign countries had ever gone to college.

 

Here is what I found.

 

1. 54% of those surveyed were female.

2. 27% were from foreign countries.

3. 8% went to college.

4. If you discard the foreign dancers, 11% of US dancers went to college.

5. No foreign dancers went to college.

6. Some of those attending college had majors other than dance.

 

My sample is most heavily weighted toward those companies with 30-40 dancers and under represents the smaller companies who do not have web sites and who do not list dancer bios on their sites.

 

As an aside, I suggest that parents and serious teens repeat what I did. It is entertaining (at least for about the first 50-60 cases) and gives one insight into the world of ballet. I have the data I obtained in an Excel file if anyone would like to follow-up with it.

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Dance_Scholar_London

I would love to read more details :thumbsup:

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balletbooster

Great research Garyecht! I would love a copy of your excel file. Please use my email in my profile to send me a copy!

 

Thanks for the insight. Sounds like you did a good job of obtaining a random sample and you have well-described your test methods. Are you available for consult on Masters and PhD thesis research? :thumbsup:

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