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Ballet Talk for Dancers

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Guest GemMetta

Haven't seen any discussion here about Belhaven College, but it's actually got a good dance program. The modern is excellent and so is the ballet. One special feature is you can get a BFA with a concentration in ballet or modern, so all of us ballet dancers don't have to take quite as much modern (although freshman take equal amounts for the first year only). It is one of only two Christian colleges in the US with a BFA in dance (the other is Friends University, I think) and the only Christian college accredited in all four arts. The teachers here really care--I thought professors didn't really, but these are really helpful. Here's the link- www.belhaven.edu - So! I encourage any of you thinking about college to consider it here, since it's a really cool place! :-)

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Magdalena

I'm auditioning on November 15. Is anybody else from this forum going to audition?

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Guest GemMetta

Here is my feedback form, now that I've been here for a whole semester.

 

ADMISSION

 

Describe the audition/application process.

It isn't grueling. Come and audition at one of two auditions (fall and spring) and apply to the school. Scholarships are plentiful! The audition class isn't overly challenging but the teachers are excellent--Laura Morton and Steven Wynne usually teach it.

 

How many dance majors?

I don't know for sure, probably 60-70

 

How many dance minors?

Again, don't know for sure, probably 30-40

 

How many applicants to the dance program annually?

Well, I know the November audition last year had 21 people and the February was larger, so perhaps 50.

 

How many Freshman are accepted?

About 30 this year.

 

Of those, how many are 1st year post high school Freshman? (separating those from ‘older’ freshman)

Most of us... I think probably 25 or so.

 

How many men in the program?

:-D We are proud of our fourteen... yes, I know that's not comparable but our men's section is growing rapidly and it's over a tenth of the program.

 

Must students be accepted to the college or university before applying to the dance program, or vice versa?

I think you can do either one first. The dance program will take you even if you're not accepted to the school, but you have to be accepted before you can actually come, if that makes sense.

 

If admission to the school is not required before applying to the dance program, must ANY paperwork be in process, before auditioning?

I think so, but I don't remember exactly what. I think just a registration sheet; the website isn't clear. Just email the school; they are very helpful.

 

Are the entrance requirements for dancers the same as all other applicants to the school?

Academically? Yes.

 

Does the program seem to have stringent body type requirements?

No, there is a range in the program, thank goodness. They don't make snide comments about weight either, thank goodness.

 

Are there scholarship/financial aid opportunities specifically for dancers?

Yes, yes, yes!! There are scholarships aplenty for those who need them. I have nine thousand a year...

 

GENERAL

 

Describe the studio/performance facilities.

The studios are beautiful. Four of them, and all but one have large windows to the outdoors (most look out on our little lake). The building is only two years old and state-of-the-art; the floors are all sprung with Marley. For performances we either perform in the chapel building (a decent sized stage that we overlay with Marley) or perform in Bitsy Irby, the dance buliding itself. One of the studios has an additional tiered seating area that seats approximately one hundred people and we put extra chairs in as well... most of the faculty performances are totally full. I hear there is talk of buying a brand new building just for performances, which would be wonderful.

 

What is the approximate number of performance opportunities each year?

All told? Well, the community dance concert (1), the fall faculty concert (4-5), the fall DOXA (student organization 2), the spring faculty concert (4-5) and the spring DOXA (2). I believe there are one or two other concerts as well, so perhaps 15 or 16 performances together. There is a group called Dance Ministry Ensemble which I am a part of that travels in the Jackson area and performs for nursing homes. We perform a lot; this semester we performed probably six or seven times; they want more performances next semester.

 

Who choreographs/directs the above performances?

It depends. The faculty collaborate for most of them, with the guest choreographers. The DOXA concerts are almost entirely student run.

 

What ratio of ballet, modern, jazz or other forms of dance are included in these performances?

It varies, but probably 2/3 modern and 1/3 ballet or half-and-half for faculty, mostly modern and contemporary for student pieces.

 

How is casting done?

I believe the faculty collaborate. No student is technically allowed to be in more than three pieces (the time commitment for just one is a lot, let alone three) so we don't overload ourselves.

 

What is the climate of this program (supportive/friendly or highly competitive)?

It is extremely warm and supportive. The faculty all love us to bits and treat us as family; they even have us over to their houses for parties. I have been very pleased with how the faculty treat us.

 

Is there an elite upper division touring/performing company within the department?

No.

 

Are there choreography projects available for students?

Yes, tons. Each student is required (one can opt out depending on which track one takes, but most don't) to take Elements of Composition I and II and Choreography, and pieces are choreographed for each of those and showcased. We also choreograph for DOXA if we so choose.

 

What opportunities are there to see dance performances or teachers from outside the school on a regular basis?

Well, we're in Jackson, MS. :-D So some, but not a lot. Mississippi Ballet does a few, and traveling companies also come. A few faculty have their own companies so we can see those too. Guest teachers (one or two) come every semester and teach as well as set pieces on us.

 

What nutrition/health counseling is available?

I'm not really sure... I haven't needed it so far. I don't think there's much; it's a small private school.

 

What medical facilities/physical therapy is available?

For medical we are literally across the street from a big hospital complex; for physical therapy we normally have one on staff but right now we are trying to find a new one; our old one is no longer here.

 

Describe the culture at this program (warm, cold, competitive, nurturing, professional, etc.)

Like I said previously, I cannot say enough about the warm atmosphere of the program in general. They do treat us like adults, so it is professional in a way, but they also treat us like people and not like just another number on the books.

 

Is there anything unique or that might be helpful regarding the audition process or the audition itself?

Definitely see the performance when you audition, if you audition in November. They provide breakfast snacks at the audition, and you can stay on campus overnight as well. Don't be nervous! The faculty are all sweet. All of them are especially nice to the new students; they know how nervous you can get.

 

PROGRAM OF STUDY

List ballet faculty members.

Ravenna Tucker-Wagnon, former principal Royal Ballet, Laura Morton, former Ballet West and teacher at Houston Ballet Academy, Betsy McMillan, former Ballet Magnificat! dancer, Britta Wynne... don't know specifics on what she did, but I think a lot of stage and video work in Germany, also with At Marah Dance Theatre in PA.

 

How often does each teacher actually teach class?

There's only four, so a lot. :-) MWF mornings and TT afternoons, or vice versa.

 

How many hours of ballet classes per week are required?

For freshman five classes a week, so 7/12.

 

How many ballet classes a week are offered?

Ditto, the 7 1/2. If you're a level one there's an extra class from 2:30 to 4 twice a week.

 

How many technique classes are required of those in other forms of dance (such as modern)?

For freshman, four or five a week. Upperclassmen can choose to take only two or three times, depending on their concentration.

 

What style of dance is the focus of this program (modern, ballet, other)?

Technically there is no focus but the school is stronger in modern right now. Their ballet program is still up-and-coming but the training and faculty are excellent.

 

What dance requirements are there other than technique classes?

Studio requirements? It's done by terms of credit hours. You can take pointe, jazz, tap, pas de deux, variations, men's tech.... the typical.

 

What degrees are offered within the Dance program?

BA and BFA, concentration in ballet and modern. Also minor and certificate.

 

Is there a separate Dance department? If not, from what department are the dance classes offered?

Oh yes, we're the biggest department on campus.

 

Is Pilates certification available through your program for dance majors?

No.

 

 

 

 

 

ACADEMIC ISSUES

 

How rigorous are the academics in dance-related, non-technique classes?

Depends on the course. Dance history and anything Mr. Wynne teaches are challenging! I'm not sure about the rest; the department as a whole is very challenging academically I think. It's not impossible or anything, but they don't let us slide. :-)

 

How rigorous are the academic courses?

It varies greatly by teacher. I think that the Worldview Curriculum is excellent, although somewhat easy for my taste. Many, however, find it difficult. Especially in the other departments there are very easy and very hard teachers.

 

What is the ratio of academic requirements to studio hours?

Within the department or in the rest of the college? I think the degree takes 69 dance credits and 59 academic; some of those can be dance instead if you CLEP or something. Within the department probably half-and-half?

 

Are double majors allowed for a dance major? If so, is it practical to double-major?

It is certainly allowed! But not practical, unless you stay for over four years. Our schedule is difficult to squeeze non-dance department courses into.

 

Can a student double major in one program in the dance department and another from a different department?

Of course!

 

Is there a dance minor? If yes, please complete these questions:

 

Are minors allowed to take major classes?

They HAVE to take the major classes; there are no separate classes, or very few.

 

What is the ratio of first time or beginning dancers in the minor classes?

Few beginning dancers are allowed to minor; they take the open class, DAN 117.

 

Are the minor classes significant enough that a minor can still dance after college?

Yes, minors can choose how much technique they want.

 

Are non-majors allowed to take technique classes?

Yes. If you are a true, true beginner I don't think you can though... I'm really not sure, sorry. I think even in the beginning ballet level you are expected to have a basic knowledge and some technical skill.

 

As a practical matter, can non-majors get into technique classes (or are they filled with dance majors by the time non-majors can register)?

Yes, the beginning class is almost entirely non-majors. I think in Ballet I it is easy to get in, depending on the course section, and Ballet III and IV, but Ballet II is I think too big to make it so easy...

 

 

 

JOB PLACEMENT

 

Is career counseling/job placement assistance offered?

I don't know. I'm sure the faculty are very helpful in that, as in everything else!

 

If yes, at what year does that counseling start?

Again... not sure. Probably during yearly evaluations, so I suppose even during freshman year.

 

What does the counseling include?

No idea, sorry. :-(

 

How often do company director's visit the school for viewings?

Hm... I don't think many do. A lot of company directors in Christian companies are our guest choreographers.

 

How common is it for students to leave the school to join companies prior to graduation?

Fairly, for modern and Christian companies. Not so much for ballet.

 

Do any dancers from this program go on to professional performing careers? Teaching careers?

Yes, for both.

 

Who are recent guest artists or companies who have been in residence at the school?

We had Randall Flynn, AD from Ad Deum last year, and Aaron Chen and Steve Rooks (former Graham dancer) this semester. This next spring we have a lady coming named Lisa Wilson.

 

For students graduating from this program who do not go on to dance professionally, what kind of jobs/careers do they go into?

I don't know. Many with minors go on into their minor field, I think. A lot probably go into missions, and a lot get married. :-P Really, I don't know. Sorry! I know that's important... :-( Just a side note, with the amount of production we do, it would probably be quite possible to get a job in production as well.

 

I can't stress enough what a good program this is. It's up-and-coming, yes, but the foundations are there, and they're solid. The faculty are devoted Christians and integrate our faith in every area of the department, so if you're not looking for that; don't come, you probably won't like it much. :-) The school itself is also wonderful and it's a beautiful campus. I love it here, and I don't want to leave!!! If you have any questions, please ask me... on this thread. I don't have PMing privileges yet. :-(

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Pointeshoepurchaser

We have a ballet teacher at our studio who has a degree from Belhaven. She is outstanding and the students love taking class from her.

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luvmiballerina

Any current info on this program? Specifically interested in the strength of ballet and sciences at the school.

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LabGranny

DD is attending Belhaven in the fall. She is so excited about her decision! Our visits there for the audition and for scholarship interviews were incredible! Everyone was so kind and welcoming! We were able to see them perform during one of our trips and DD was very impressed by their technique and talent. I think it went a long way to help her in making her decision. They were much better than we expected! I am sure I will be reporting great things about her time there!!

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Dancergirlmelody

I'm at Belhaven now as a dance major (fun fact: it's Belhaven University now instead of Belhaven College). I love it and if anyone has any questions I'd be happy to answer them!

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ProsperBarb

Hi. We are starting to look into colleges for my dd to go to. I love the idea of her going to a Christian college for dance. :-) One question - her desire is to go on to dance professionally in ballet. Is Belhaven strong in the area of ballet? Or is it more focused in other areas?

 

Thanks!

 

Barb

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kirstenleiby

I'm at Belhaven now as a dance major (fun fact: it's Belhaven University now instead of Belhaven College). I love it and if anyone has any questions I'd be happy to answer them!

My daughter is interested in Belhaven. She would apply for a ballet major and is wondering how strong the program is in ballet? Is it reasonable to minor in a science field such as sports medicine or Biology? Any other information you can provide would be extremely helpful. Thank you.

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Dancergirlmelody

I'll answer your question as best I can, then fill out the survey thingie above. If you have any more questions after that feel free to ask! Belhaven has some excellent ballet teachers and has some very beautiful and technical ballet dancers right now. I take ballet 5 days a week and pointe 3 days a week and hte upper levels can also take variations and partnering. Technically, there's an equal focus in both ballet and modern. The same number of classes for both are offered and everyone has to take both. However, I will say that choreography is usually much more in the realm of contemporary and modern. There's at least one completely classical ballet piece (last year was Serenade, this year is Les Slyphides) every year in the fall concert and one teacher who always does contemporary ballet. Usually most of the rest of the pieces are modern or another style. This year there will be two spring concerts--one modern/contemporary, one ballet. The ballet concert will have Galantries in it, among other things. One of my best friends last year left because she wanted to only do ballet and disliked having to take modern and the emphasis in "non-ballet" in things like required improv and composition/choreography classes. However, this year I know of someone in the choreography class doing a classical ballet piece rather than the usual student works that are more contemporary or modern. Ballet is my focus and there is definitely excellent training offered. I hope to have a career as a dancer in a Christian company or a small ballet focused company and I know Belhaven as the training that can get me there. If you want to only do ballet, it's probably not the place for you. However, if you're open to a well-rounded curriculum and want to expand your horizans, Belhaven is an excellent option. I would highly recommend visiting to see classes and a performance.

 

Academically, it is possible to minor in a science field, but it is definitely difficult. There are a lot of requirements for both, but specifics depend on whether you are on the BA or BFA degree track (you have to apply and be selected to be a BFA because it is more rigorous). I have a friend who could be a BFA but chose to be a BA so she could get a sports med minor. I know of others who did managed to double major as a BFA. It really depends on how driven and how good at time-management you are. However, if you can get pre-requisites like English, science, math, speech, and bible classes out of the way, that helps enormously.

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Dancergirlmelody

ADMISSION

Describe the audition/application process.
There are two auditions a year, one in fall and one in spring. Both audition dates are around concerts and prospective students have the option of being hosted by a current dance student. You have to fill out an application, write a letter of intent, and have a headshot and arabesque picture and it’s basically like any other audition. The audition is usually an hour and a half ballet class, optional pointe section, an hour and a half modern class, and finally a short improve section. The faculty are always wonderful, current students help check everyone in and are available for questions, pray starts the audition, and it’s generally one of the least stressful audition experiences I’d ever had. In addition to the two set auditions, they accept video auditions and there’s usually an audition during Ballet Magnificat.

How many dance majors?
I’m not entirely sure, probably around 100. We’re the biggest department on campus.

How many dance minors?
Not sure again, but it’s not that many. Probably around a dozen.

How many applicants to the dance program annually?
Each audition probably has 30-50 dancers, but I don’t know how many apply by video or the summer audition that usually happens during Ballet Magnificat.

How many Freshman are accepted?
Less than half of those who audition are accepted. My year (class of 2016) started out with about 30. This year I think there were around 25.

Of those, how many are 1st year post high school Freshman? (separating those from ‘older’ freshman)
The majority, but there are at least two transfers, one who took a gap year, and one who came from a trainee company. Overall there’s not much of a distinction between the fresh out of high school, 18 year old freshmen, and the slightly older transfers.

How many men in the program?
Around a dozen. Not that many, but enough to get by.

Must students be accepted to the college or university before applying to the dance program, or vice versa?
You can do it in any order, but you have to be accepted to the school itself before you can accept the offer to be a dance major.

If admission to the school is not required before applying to the dance program, must ANY paperwork be in process, before auditioning?

I honestly don’t remember. You may be able to find this information on the website or just email the school. You can also ask your admissions counselor and they’ll find out for you. My mom and I must have asked dozens of questions but my counselor was always so friendly and willing to help.

Are the entrance requirements for dancers the same as all other applicants to the school?
Yep. Most teachers say that dancers are some of their best students.

Does the program seem to have stringent body type requirements?
Nope. I’ve heard of a few teachers have private conversations with dancers, but only revolving around what is actually healthy. One of my friends this year was asked whether she thought she was maintaining her temple in the best possible way. They would never force us to lose weight or call someone out about their weight in public. Never, ever, ever. There’s a good range of body types in the department.

Are there scholarship/financial aid opportunities specifically for dancers?
Oh yes. There are tons of scholarships, different payment plans, and financial aid opportunities. The faculty will work with you if they want you!

GENERAL

Describe the studio/performance facilities.
The dance building is Bitsy Irby and the whole top floor (second floor) of the building is almost entirely the dance departments with most of the bottom floor belonging to the visual arts department as well as having classrooms for art and dance classes. We have four studios. All are a good size, though two are a bit small in big classes. All but one of these studios has big windows for letting in lots of light and all have observation windows so you can see in from the hallway. The floors are sprung and have marley (although they can get a bit slippery because rosin isn’t allowed, nothing unbearable though). Two of the studios can be combined which becomes our performance space. Curtains are drawn over windows and mirrors and it is transformed into a professional looking stage. Performances are always packed and they’ve been talking for a bit about getting our own performance venue, but it probably won’t happen for a while.

What is the approximate number of performance opportunities each year?
There are three “official” dance concerts a year, one each semester. Two of these are faculty concerts with works choreographer by our faculty as well as many guest artists. There is a group called the Dance Ministry Ensemble that has a concert in February, but they perform in the community all through the year doing works choreographed by faculty and guest artists. Aside from these performances theirs is a DOXA concert in fall semester which is a student-run organization that has group get-togethers and events throughout the year as well as the concert which any student is invited to choreograph for. In addition, there’s a choreography class in fall and each student is required to set a work on their own dancers (at least four are required) and there’s an informal concert of those works at the end of the semester. Senior BFA track students can also choose to do their final work as choreography and set a work on students that is shown during their concert. Plus, there are occasionally opportunities to perform in performances by the theatre and music departments (I’ve been in two children’s operas) as well as some small community performances at places like the zoo or children’s museum.

Who choreographs/directs the above performances?
Faculty oversee everything and choreograph for the three “official” concerts as well as some community-based performances. Guest artists also come in to set works for the concerts. Students choreograph for the DOXA concert and the other student-based works

What ratio of ballet, modern, jazz or other forms of dance are included in these performances?
It depends on the performance. There’s always at least one classical ballet piece in the fall concert. Last year there was no classical ballet in the spring concert, but this year we’re having an entire concert of just classical ballet. Modern and contemporary are more the majority, but there are such a range of styles that it really just depends.

How is casting done?
Every dance student is required to audition at the beginning of both the fall and spring semesters and then faculty collaborate. After Freshmen year most students are required to take performance for credit which almost always guarantees them a place in something.

What is the climate of this program (supportive/friendly or highly competitive)?
I cannot stress enough how supportive the faculty are. They really are wonderful and even though it can get pretty tense during shows, you just know that at the end of the day, they truly care about each and every student. Most classes and rehearsals open with prayer and all faculty are very open to have private consultations with students. I have never been in such a caring and supportive environment that also pushes me extremely hard to do my best.

Is there an elite upper division touring/performing company within the department?
Not usually. Though sometimes a group will be selected to travel to Korea or another country to do mission work and dance. It’s not definitely not like a “we’re the best and you suck” thing though. Everyone is really lovely and friendly.

Are there choreography projects available for students?
Definitely! Everyone is required to take Composition 1 (which is like intro to choreography) where we choreograph our own work, and BFAs are required to move on to Comp 2. BFAs are also required to take choreography where they set a work on a cast of at least four dancers that they get to choose. Seniors come choose to choreograph on the cast of their choosing for their senior project. Anyone can choreograph for the DOXA concert. This year I’m in four student pieces.

What opportunities are there to see dance performances or teachers from outside the school on a regular basis?
Considering the fact that we’re in Jackson, MS there’s not a ton, but there’s enough. Companies don’t often travel here, but it happens occasionally and IBC happens in Jackson every 4 years. Several guest artists also come each semester to choreograph and teach and sometimes perform their own work.

What nutrition/health counseling is available?
There isn’t much specific counseling for that area, but teachers are excellent resources to talk to. A girl last year struggled with her weight because she was diabetic and regularly talked to one of the faculty member who loaned her diet and exercise books and everything. Belhaven students also have access to therapy/counseling and there’s a giant medical complex almost literally across the street so there are lots of resources depending on what’s needed.

What medical facilities/physical therapy is available?
As I said there’s a big medical complex nearby, but the dance department as our own medical clinic and dance trainer solely devoted to our needs as dancers. Ms. Miranda is extremely knowledgeable as well as friendly and can help with everything from injuring, to strengthening, to what to do with a bruised toenail. If she can’t figure out what’s wrong or fix it she has tons of resources and is really great about setting up appointments for students elsewhere and checking in with doctors and everything. Overall all we get really excellent medical care.

Describe the culture at this program (warm, cold, competitive, nurturing, professional, etc.)
It’s definitely a warm and nurturing environment, though it is definitely professional. Faculty treat us like adults and expect us to act like so, but they are really helpful. They’re always open to having a conversation in their office, usually answer email questions quickly, and are generally quite caring. All the other students are pretty friendly as well. You really get the feeling that we’re all one big happy family. There is definitely a normal amount cliques, but there’s still a feeling of togetherness, even while people tend to stay in their individual groups.

Is there anything unique or that might be helpful regarding the audition process or the audition itself?
Stay with a host student! We genuinely love hosting prospectives and will do our best to make the experience a good one. It’s also nice to already know an upper classmen if you get accepted J Also, don’t be nervous everyone is really kind and helpful.

PROGRAM OF STUDY
List ballet faculty members.
These are all listed on the website and will give you much more information that I can J The main ballet teachers are Sol Nazario, Ravenna Tucker-Wagnon, Caleb Mitchell, Mia Whitehead, and Laura Morton

How often does each teacher actually teach class?
Either two or three days a week. Your level placement determines what teachers you’ll get.

How many hours of ballet classes per week are required?
Ballet classes are an hour and a half each and most freshmen are required to take both ballet and modern 5 days a week. After that you can decide based on your degree track. I intend to take 5 days a week of ballet until I graduate.

How many ballet classes a week are offered?
See above J

How many technique classes are required of those in other forms of dance (such as modern)?
Modern is offered 5 days a week as well with freshmen being required to take it every day and upper classmen getting to choose. Pointe is offered 3 days a week. Some years there are jazz and tap classes, but they’re only twice a week and are at more of a beginners level.

What style of dance is the focus of this program (modern, ballet, other)?
You can choose your focus for technique classes, though many do an equal balance of both. Within improv, comp, and choreography classes as well as choreography for performances there’s a bit more of a modern/contemporary focus.

What dance requirements are there other than technique classes?
It’s all done by credits and either three or six performance credits are required depending on your degree track. Aside from ballet and modern you can take electives in jazz and tap (sometimes, there isn’t always a teacher) and also pas de deux and modern partnering though you have to be at a specific level for those.

What degrees are offered within the Dance program?
BA and BFA, minor, certificate, and MFA.

Is there a separate Dance department? If not, from what department are the dance classes offered?
We are proudly the biggest department on campus :D

Is Pilates certification available through your program for dance majors?
Nope.

ACADEMIC ISSUES

How rigorous are the academics in dance-related, non-technique classes?
Most are pretty rigorous. It depends slightly on the teacher, but dance history and kinesiology and notoriously difficult. All the teachers really want to push us to do our best and expect a lot out of us, but they aren’t cruel or unfair. They’re also very helpful if you’re struggling and will work with you. They want us to succeed.

How rigorous are the academic courses?
Definitely depends on the teacher. Some are easy, some aren’t. If you ask around you can find out a lot about the teachers. Almost all the academic teachers love the dancers because we generally do extremely well. Like the dance teachers, they’re very helpful and want us to succeed, but they do treat us like adults.

What is the ratio of academic requirements to studio hours?
I can’t really answer that because it really depends on your degree track and whether you want to add a minor or double major. Many students also transfer in credits. All this information is on the website and your admissions counselor could answer these kind of questions in detail.

Are double majors allowed for a dance major? If so, is it practical to double-major?
It’s allowed, but not exactly recommended. Many who double major end up staying more than 4 years and being a super senior. Double majors in things like theatre, music, and academic education are almost impossible to do in four years because there are just so many requirements for everything. If you want to double major, you really need to transfer in credits and be very good at time management.

Can a student double major in one program in the dance department and another from a different department?
Yep J

Is there a dance minor? If yes, please complete these questions:

Are minors allowed to take major classes?
There aren’t any minor classes, so they take major classes and are held to the same standards. Most of the time minors are just as technically proficient as majors, they just chose another field.

What is the ratio of first time or beginning dancers in the minor classes?
Beginning dancers wouldn’t really be accepted as a minor, but they can take separate beginner classes.

Are the minor classes significant enough that a minor can still dance after college?
Most people minor because they love to dance but have chosen a different career. However, since you can choose how much dance you want you could definitely dance in some capacity after graduation.

Are non-majors allowed to take technique classes?
Yes. You have to take the placement class at the beginning of the semester to see if you can take a higher level of class, or else anyone can take the beginners classes in ballet and modern. The beginners classes don’t have majors in them except in very rare circumstances.

As a practical matter, can non-majors get into technique classes (or are they filled with dance majors by the time non-majors can register)?
It depends on the class. Many classes get filled with majors, but a few non-majors can get in to the lower levels.



JOB PLACEMENT

Is career counseling/job placement assistance offered?
I’m not sure since I’m not there yet. I know there’s a lot of faculty advising that happens and faculty give you recommendations for places to audition and contacts to talk to. There’s also a class called careers in dance and I don’t actually know what they talk about, but I imagine it’s something about other careers related to dance besides performing.

If yes, at what year does that counseling start?
You can talk to the faculty at any time. At the end of the year there are required meetings between faculty and students and you talk about your goals and they can give you recommendations.

What does the counseling include?
Recommendations for good companies or other jobs for you? I’m not sure.

How often do company director's visit the school for viewings?
Rarely if ever. I’ve never heard of it happening anyway.

How common is it for students to leave the school to join companies prior to graduation?
Prior to graduation is doesn’t happen much. After the first year or two sometimes people will leave to join trainee companies or something, but most are in college because they want their degree first.

Do any dancers from this program go on to professional performing careers? Teaching careers?
Definitely for both.

Who are recent guest artists or companies who have been in residence at the school?
So far this year we’ve had Vincent Hardy, Valerie Henry, Henry Danton, Durrell Comedy, and maybe a few others that I’ve forgotten.

For students graduating from this program who do not go on to dance professionally, what kind of jobs/careers do they go into?
It really ranges greatly depending on the person. Some go on to master’s programs, some marry, some go into missions, some go into their minor field, some do something completely different.

I really love Belhaven and would be more than happy to answer any questions anyone has about it!

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kirstenleiby

Thank you Dancergirlmelody for the detailed information on Belhaven. My daughter is impressed with your description of the school and looks forward to auditioning. :yes:

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lovethefinearts

My daughter has been accepted into the dance program at Belhaven for next fall. She has auditioned at 3 other schools and has one more audition this next weekend. She was very impressed with Belhaven during her audition weekend. She will need to make a decision very soon. Does anyone have any feedback that could help with her decision? I think that Belhaven is her number 1 or 2 choice at this point. She is very interested in modern ballet, choreography, and improv. She is also a jazz sax player and is hoping to have some time to pursue that interest. It sounds like the dance schedule does not allow for very many other interests? Is that a correct assumption?

 

Thanks for any feedback!

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BalletMobile

My daughter is in her first year as a dance major at Belhaven. She loves the Dance Department!!! But you are correct in your assumption, Lovethefinearts, that there really isn't time for much else besides academics and dance! This semester my daughter has approximately 20 hours of dance classes (equals 8 credits) and 4-6 hours of rehearsal time. She has to be creative scheduling her academic classes-she has a Bio lab at 7:15am and two night classes from 6-8:45 to fit in what she needs to. She is considering changing her dance major to a minor and instead majoring in Sports Medicine. Her ultimate goal it to go to PT school. She has been treated by several physical therapists who were dance majors in college and they were amazing. She is currently trying to fit in the PT prerequisites into the dance major. The only way she is able to do this is because she came in with credits she earned dual-enrolled in high school. The dance majors have very little wiggle room to add electives. I believe the BFA program only has room for 5 elective credits. She is having such a hard time with this decision because of how happy she is in the Dance program. She really likes all her teachers and the department is very close and supportive.

 

There are many performance opportunities, and all the dancers from sophomore up have to earn "performance points" each semester. That means they will be cast in pieces after freshman year. Freshman can be cast, but only a few usually are. All of the students, freshman included, also have to earn "production points" each semester. That means that they all work in some non-dancing role in performances. Last semester my daughter changed the gels in the lights, so she had to be there all tech week and all performances in the wings. This semester she is assistant stage manager for one performance week and delivered meals to the dancers for a different performance week. And she does get to dance in a piece in a different performance too. :happy:

 

One other thing we love about the program at Belhaven is that they have an athletic trainer assigned to the dancers exclusively and a room for treatment right in the building. From what I've learned talking to PTs (who were dancers) and researching college dance programs, this is very unusual. Dancers can sign up for times and get treated very quickly. My daughter goes there to ice her feet when necessary, and has also been treated with ultrasound and electrical stimulation when it was needed. I am so thankful the college cares enough about the welfare of their dancers that they have this available.

 

The campus population is very supportive of the dance program and most performances are "sold out"(students get in free). The academic professors are also very supportive of the dancers personally and turn out for performances. The are helpful when dancers have conflicts, for example, one of my daughter's professors had her and another dancer come to his office to take a test when they had to miss a night class for a performance.

 

If you have any questions, I would be glad to answer if I know or ask my daughter for you.

Edited by BalletMobile

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lovethefinearts

Thank you so much for the information, balletmobile! My daughter has made the decision to attend Belhaven next fall. We are very excited for her and look forward to what the future brings. Still hoping she can continue with some of her music....so is the music department!

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