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Articles: Dance at the Ivies

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Treefrog   
Treefrog

Many excellent points, d1s1, especially the one about the Ivies generally not preparing professional anythings.

 

I did want to add to your point about cost. The Ivies, Harvard especially, have led the charge in lowering tuitions for families of smaller means, and/or providing grants rather than loans. They are trying to become more affordable.

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homeschooltreasurs   
homeschooltreasurs
Harvard's, at least, looks more geared toward theory and history than performance.

 

That is my impression for most of the Ivies. I was under the impression that most who want to be professional musicians would not have Ivies on the top of their lists. Though Yale does have an excellent graduate music school.

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Hans   
Hans

The trouble with dance then becomes the very short time frame that dancers have for a career. At least in ballet, college graduates auditioning for companies are already considered to be starting rather late.

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oyoyoyoyoy   
oyoyoyoyoy

What a good topic!

 

My teacher always said, "Dance is physical, first." In other words, you have to actually physically be doing dance, you cannot "intellectualize" dance and be considered to be "dancing" unless you are physically doing it. Some people may not agree, but that is one of my main premises regarding dance. My teacher also felt (we are speaking on the professional level) that class should be a collaboration between student and teacher. There should be some dialogue. But it is also important for students to decide if they believe in a given teacher's ideas and, if so, they must be able to entrust themselves to that teacher in terms of training which to some appears to be a case of teacher tells student what to do, student obeys. Otherwise, the discussion in class would overtake the physical training. But I know that I get much better results with students who talk to me and ask questions during class and after.

 

I have taught in high schools and universities. Part of what I see as the problem is trying to get applied ballet to fit the academic mold. Class "levels" have been an issue in the various places I have taught because when a strong ballet dancer came to a university setting and was placed in the most advanced class it seemed to cause a problem in regards of progression to a degree - such as, why does the student take Ballet 401 for four years in a row. Has this student not mastered the requirements of the course? Surely there must be a notated progression through the levels. It is difficult to "grade" applied ballet because that grading becomes very subjective. Otherwise we would have a point system that, in my opinion, would remove ballet to the level of gymnastics or calisthenics, not an art. And, as we can see by the Olympics, there is still a great degree of subjectivity.

 

There are a lot of very intelligent dancers out there. Several of my contemporaries went on to Ivies after their dance careers and did very well, thank you. But I do get irritated when intellectuals, whether they were ballet dancers or not, put down ballet as an unintellectual, submissive pursuit. It makes me sad that they did not have what I would consider a good training experience.

 

I will say, for transparency's sake, that I have no experience as a student in the world of higher education and so my statements are more supposition than experience.

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Renata   
Renata

Hi homeschooltreasurs:

 

Some of the Ivies do offer performance music education jointly with a music conservatory. ...Harvard has a joint program with New England Conservatory; Columbia/Barnard have joint programs with Juilliard and Manhattan School of Music. In some way this offers students the best of both worlds. My daughter's friend is a joint NEC/Harvard student as have been others.

 

And virtually all of the Ivies have opened their doors to middle class students with an unbelievable grant program. If your family income is modest, you will pay nothing...neither room nor board; if you earn a middle class income, you will pay about 10 per cent of the usual fees. :P

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Liz Power   
Liz Power
And virtually all of the Ivies have opened their doors to middle class students with an unbelievable grant program. If your family income is modest, you will pay nothing...neither room nor board; if you earn a middle class income, you will pay about 10 per cent of the usual fees. :P

 

I was just about to say this. The Ivies are the only schools where I will ever qualify for financial aid—on paper my family looks reasonably well-off, but when you factor in another kid going to private school and the cost of living in New York, that Ivy grant program looks pretty darn good.

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homeschooltreasurs   
homeschooltreasurs
Hi homeschooltreasurs:

 

Some of the Ivies do offer performance music education jointly with a music conservatory. ...Harvard has a joint program with New England Conservatory; Columbia/Barnard have joint programs with Juilliard and Manhattan School of Music. In some way this offers students the best of both worlds. My daughter's friend is a joint NEC/Harvard student as have been others.

 

I thought of those, but students take their performance classes through the Conservatory school so I didn't really think of them as programs at the Ivies. Students also must be admitted to both schools? So I believe they apply academically to Harvard and audition at NEC?

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caliope   
caliope
I have taught in high schools and universities. Part of what I see as the problem is trying to get applied ballet to fit the academic mold. Class "levels" have been an issue in the various places I have taught because when a strong ballet dancer came to a university setting and was placed in the most advanced class it seemed to cause a problem in regards of progression to a degree - such as, why does the student take Ballet 401 for four years in a row. Has this student not mastered the requirements of the course? Surely there must be a notated progression through the levels. It is difficult to "grade" applied ballet because that grading becomes very subjective.

 

 

I find that very interesting. The grading of art is always subjective, of course, but I would think that some art forms are easier to grade, academically speaking, than others.

 

I would have thought that ballet would fit relatively easily into an academic environment as there seems to be so many grading and exam systems in place for the teaching of ballet.

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dbleon   
dbleon

what would be considered "middle income" as far as qualifying for grants?? Our experience when applying for OSAP here in ONtario DD didn't qualify for ZIP as we had a income over 35K... :yes: She has had interest from the Columbia dance program, but I just figured there was no way in this lifetime that I could pay...

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ripresa   
ripresa

This article overgeneralizes. I went to an Ivy League school, and we had a dance major, and dance professors are tenure-tracked. We had lovely dance studios, and it was where I was first introduced to modern dance.

 

I think someone stated that the purpose of an Ivy League school is not to make someone a "professional" anything. This is very true. In my case, I did Computer Science, but none of my classes taught me programming languages. It taught me logic, reasoning, and a way of thinking that enables me to pick up computer languages easily. Also, I had classes in English literature, international governments, modern and folk dance, music, the stock market, outdoor tracking, etc, that had nothing to do with Computer Science, but made me a well-rounded person.

 

Also, one of the biggest benefit is of course, networking.

 

A career-minded classical ballerina may not want such a diverse education, nor would she want to spend the time learning fields that are not related. Especially when the career peaks so early in life. But there are probably dancers who do want a full college experience who would benefit more from an Ivy education.

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Renata   
Renata

Thanks for the link Mirabray. I know that other ivies have joined in with the tuition program...University of Pennsylvania for one is following Harvard's lead.

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e'smom   
e'smom

My DD is at IU, and one of the primary attractions of its ballet department for her is that she could concentrate on performance within the ballet department, and academic pursuits outside of the department through the "outside field" which is a cross between a minor and a double major in another field. There are no academic "theory" classes in the ballet dept other than the choreography requirement and she really isn't interested in that. To her ballet is a physical art and I don't think she is really interested in analyzing it.

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