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luvmiballerina

Smaller schools with good ballet programs

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luvmiballerina

DD is a junior this year and we are heavy into deciding what schools to visit. DD is currently recovering from a Jan 9 surgery to repair a labral tear and correct impingement in her right hip. She has been out of dance since early Nov. She was also sidelined her freshman year due to a non-dance related injury that required surgery on her foot. Hence, while DD wants to continue to dance in college, she no longer sees herself dancing professionally. She would like to major in ballet in college and follow a pre-med path with the goal of going to med school and becoming an orthopedist in order to help young dancers like herself.

 

We already have CCM, Butler, Indiana, and Washington University on our list. I would love to find some smaller schools that have both strong ballet programs and strong academics to add to our list. I am in no way looking for comparisons here...just looking for names that maybe we haven't heard of to add to our list to research.

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msd

luvmiballerina,

 

The schools you have listed do have excellent ballet programs, but the ballet program is very demanding of their time, and leaves little time for the academics. CCM firmly discourages double majoring, or even taking classes in the evening, so students can be available for rehearsal. Would she consider a dance minor or a school with strong associations to an excellent student company (thinking of Princeton). I really think that most dance majors, especially those that lead to a BFA, may be too restrictive in terms of the dance department's requirements for her to get in the other components of a pre-med program, not to mention studying for MCATs during her upper years, while she is also held to a heavy dance/performance requirement.

 

My d began in an auditioned-entry BFA program and found the schedule restrictions to be difficult for her. She ended up changing majors, and is now happily pursuing her other bliss(es) while also a dance minor -- still taking classes, still performing. In fact, she now has time to do more performances and take part in choreography work (which she loves), all while feeding her nerdy self and her dancer self.

 

I would counsel that you look at schools that have excellent student companies, perhaps a strong dance school nearby (maybe one of the colleges in Pittsburgh, along with classes at PBT, Ohio State and attending classes at Ballet Met, Dickenson College in Carlilse and attending CYPB??)or a strong dance minor, but most importantly the excellent coursework she needs to get the med school of her choice.

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dancemaven

As you visit the schools, you will need to be very aware of the schedules, rehearsal times, performance times, etc. on the dance side, but equally cognizant of the requirements of the pre-med type courses. Most of those science classes will have, not only the actual classroom time, but also additional 3-hour labs, 'quiz' sections, etc. Those labs hours take up a chunk of time and while class times may provide 'wiggle' room with evening sections offered, labs typically are offered only during the 'regular' school hours.

 

It can be quite the logistical nightmare to try to accommodate a dance major's schedule at the same time as all the science lab courses. At some BFA programs, it simply isn't possible---especially the smaller schools. At some, it might be possible, but would most likely require an additional year and/or one or more summers. At some of the larger schools (such as IU), there are more sections of the science courses offered, thus, more opportunity for 'wiggle' room. Also, some schools may have fewer dance major requirements, so that may help.

 

All in all, it will require you and your DD to ask a lot of questions as you visit the various schools. You may not get the answers you were hoping for at all of them, but it will certainly help clarify what is/is not possible at individual schools, in general, and may help with your school choices. I will also caution that some schools are very up-front about dance majors not being able to double major at all or only in limited areas. But others will appear to be accommodating, but in reality, it just isn't possible based on scheduling realities. So, it may help to ask to see a schedule of courses for the two majors.

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luvmiballerina

Thank you both, msd and dancemaven for your thoughts. We have no doubts at all that the road she wants to head down will be difficult. The concern with attending a university and then taking outside dance classes is undoubtedly the expense. I can't imagine paying college tuition and dance tuition as well! The concern with ballet as a minor is can she get high level training and opportunities for performing as a minor?

 

It is all feeling quite overwhelming right now!

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golconda

Luvmiballerina, unless things have changed remarkably since I went to medical school 30 years ago, the requirements to go to medical school are quite simple and do not have to involve all that many science classes. They were, and I believe, they still are: 1 year of biology, 2 years of chemistry (1 year inorganic with lab, 1 year organic with lab), 1 year of physics with lab, 1 year of calculus, and 1 year of English. So while it might be difficult or impossible to double major in dance and a science, it could be do-able to major in dance and also take the required classes for pre-med, depending upon the college and their class schedules. It might not be easy, but at least your DD won't need several lab classes each semester to negotiate with the BFA schedule/rehearsals/etc.

 

Also, my impression (and that of my husband, who is a professor at a medical school) is that medical schools prefer undergraduate majors outside of the hard sciences---they are looking for more well-rounded students. Even the year I applied to medical school many moons ago, the undergraduate major with the highest percentage of acceptances was philosophy.

 

Nevertheless, as others have suggested, it would be a really good idea to actually look at the class schedules of the classes your DD would need to apply to medical school in light of her potential BFA class/rehearsal schedule. Also to talk to the BFA program and how lenient they would be with your DD having to miss an occasional rehearsal because of a lab. Given that your DD doesn't necessarily want to double major in a lab science (at least this is what I gleaned from your post), they might be a bit more flexible.

 

Good luck to you and your DD in your search for the best program to meet her needs!

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luvmiballerina

Golconda, you have hit the nail right on the head! Dd does not want to double major, and actually would prefer not to minor either. She just wants to take the required prerequisites that she needs to get into med school. We have heard the same that med schools really like students who have majored in a non-science and who have an 'outside' life so to speak. Many schools do not actually have a pre-med major anyway, which is why I referred to it as a path in my opening post. We know we will have to ask many questions about scheduling during our school visits. Thanks for your encouragement!

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golconda

Luvmiballerina---am glad your DD doesn't want to be a "pre-med" major. IMHO that is fairly worthless. Far better for her to spend most of her undergraduate time doing something that she really loves---dancing--- (and get a great humanities education at the same time). :-)

 

As for schools where getting her pre-med requisites and also getting her BFA, there should be quite a few. I believe that at my DD's school (UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance) she would likely be able to get her BFA and also complete her pre-med requirements, since I know of a dancer there who is doing a double major in either biochemistry or chemistry and getting her BFA. This school isn't the highest profile one here on this board, but it has been wonderful for our DD with many performing opportunities not only at the school but also with Kansas City Ballet, great faculty, and in a fantastic midwestern city. FYI, this program is a dual emphasis ballet/modern program that also expects students to become quite facile at choreography.

 

Lastly, I should also tell you that I took ballet classes (avocationally) when I was a first year med student and continued to dance throughout medical school, residency and fellowship. Dancing is a great foil to the toils of medicine!

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luvmiballerina

That's exactly what I was trying to find when I started this post, Golconda! Those maybe lesser known, but still strong programs for us to look into. We will definitely put UMKC on the list to start researching. Thanks again for your input!

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love_ballet

Goucher College offers a Dance Science Track - perhaps something worth looking into?

 

http://www.goucher.e...918.xml

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pas de corgi

luvmiballerina: I agree completely with golconda. When I was in medical school one of my fellow class-mates was a dance major. There were also photography, religion, and music majors that I knew. There was also a professional football player (who was on the independent study track). I was an English major. I think the medical school admissions office are looking for intellectual diversity and social aptitude as well as some science back ground. Good grades in the required classes and a good MCAT score are adequate for admission if you have excelled in other areas.

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EAC

If you are truly considering smaller liberal arts schools, you might look at Mercyhurst and Muhlenberg. I’ve known dancers happy at both. Mercyhurst's strength is that it does focus on classical ballet more than most collegiate programs. (Goucher, mentioned above, would be another.) Muhlenberg’s dance program is more typical, incorporating both ballet and modern, but it is a gem of a school with many positive outcomes in terms of graduate school admissions.

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david from nc

2 other colleges on my high school senior's list are Elon and Shenandoah. While not ballet focused both offer dance majors and I believe at both you can probably do the double major. While not a small school University of South Carolina does have what appears to be a very good ballet program.

Edited by david from nc

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Pierrette

I would definitely add my daughter's alma matter: University of Arizona. Top notch ballet training and performing opportunities, large institution for academics, and a very affordable public university. My daughter piled on extra credits each semester (averaging around 20) and I paid the same, full-time tuition as a 12-credit student. I just had to continue to pay for summer intensives. For what it's worth, at UofA, you can get high level of training and the same performing opportunities with a ballet minor.

 

But I need to ask... If your daughter can handle the physical rigors of a BFA dance major, why is she ruling out a professional dance career? Did you mean it was all-or-nothing when it comes to professional ballet? Or would she consider dancing professionally in other styles? My daughter has been dancing professionally since graduating from UofA in 2008.

 

I work in a community college and see many returning students who come back to work on their pre-med/nursing/physical therapy pre-requisities. Granted, as golconda said, you can find schools where you can fit the science pre-reqs around a BFA dance major. But since med schools like well-rounded applicants, they should be equally happy with slightly older and seasoned applicants who have lived and performed in many places before transitioning to medicine.

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wannabe

I agree with EAC that Muhlenberg is a gem of a school- especially if your child decides to switch degrees or double major in one of the sciences (okay as a former student graduating with a chemistry degree I may be a bit biased....)

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luvmiballerina

I really appreciate all of the insight everyone has contributed! Goucher is a new school that we have never looked at before, so we will be doing some research there. Mercyhurst and Muhlenberg are on the list. University of Arizona was suggested to her by one of her mentors, but we haven't really looked into it yet. We will add it to the new list now! At this point, she is pretty adamant about a classical ballet focus, even though she is equally talented at contemporary/modern. Classical ballet has been her first love since she started dance, and at the age of 17 continues to be.

 

Pierrette, she is not ruling out dancing professionally. She just wants to prepare for her future after dance as much as she can. 2 surgeries at ages 15 and 17 understandably have scared her. If she is able to stay healthy and the opportunity arises, she would love nothing more than to be able to dance professionally. At the same time, she is a realist and knows that the odds are probably not in her favor.

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