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Ballet Talk for Dancers
luvmiballerina

Smaller schools with good ballet programs

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luvmiballerina

We have booked a visit to Goucher in just a couple of weeks! Looking forward to learning more about the school, the dance program and the dance science concentration!

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dancemaven

Exciting! We would love for you to share your impressions and what you learn on the dedicated Goucher thread when you get back. Have a great visit.

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gogators

Dd loved Goucher a couple of years ago when she was visiting colleges and considering which ones to apply to. A great student community, beautiful campus and excellent academics in a small-class environment with lots of support from the faculty. Really, a very good choice for someone who wants to balance ballet/dance with outside academic interests. Good luck!

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Marseas Mom

DD and I just came back from visiting Muhlenberg. I plan to update some details on the Muhlenberg dedicated thread shortly. DD was very impressed with the school and as others have said, it really is a gem of a school. The admissions staff shared details that the top two declared majors are Theatre/Dance and Biology. They have a high percentage of dancers that double major, and you do not have to be a dance major to be cast in their various dance concerts. I applaud you in starting your search now as with DD's performing schedule, we started too late. DD and I always combine visits with attending the school's performances, so we can get an accurate "feel" for the program. Best of luck to you as you begin your journey....

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vagansmom

I'd like to add my voice to the Muhlenberg chorus. Nearly 9 years ago, my daughter applied and was accepted to Muhlenberg College; however, she deferred and ultimately danced full-time professionally until this year. We were very impressed with Muhlenberg's commitment both to high academic standards and the fine arts. They were also very generous with scholarship monies; had my daughter attended Muhlenberg, she would've had almost a free ride for 4 years provided she maintain a 3.5 average. What she loved most was their reassurance that many Muhlenberg students have either double-majored in neuroscience (or pre-med - pretty much the same courses) and dance, or majored in one while minoring in the other. Their commitment to fine arts, including dance, showed in their front-and-center fine arts building (as opposed to the hidden one "far beyond the sports center" as we liked to say about most other schools). Their dance studios at the time were new and sparkling. We were very impressed. At the time, I wrote here on BT4D about our experiences.

 

In the intervening years, some of my high school students (I tutor at private boarding high schools) have gone on to graduate from Muhlenberg along with some former pre-professional ballet students. Nearly all have been very happy with the flexibility of courses that Muhlenberg offered.

 

This year, my daughter is a full-time college student and part-time professional dancer. She attends a university that welcomes the older, returning student. If Muhlenberg had such a program, it surely would've been a top choice once again for her.

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luvmiballerina

I also posted on the Goucher thread, but after our visit there, Goucher is off the list. DD is adamant that she wants a very high caliber classical ballet program and we didn't see that at Goucher. Those of you who have visited Muhlenberg, what is the caliber of the ballet? The co-op dance and physical therapy program there looks interesting to DD.

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vagansmom

Luvmiballerina,

 

I can't say absolutely, but from what I know, Muhlenberg does not have the kind of high caliber of ballet classes that you are looking for. It sounds to me as though you might want the same quality and intensity as that of a pre-professional school. I'd say that Goucher's is more comprehensive than Muhlenberg, but I remember that my daughter didn't want to consider Goucher because the academics weren't at the level she desired nor was the ballet training or opportunity to train outside of the college. A serious ballet dancer at Muhlenberg would also need to get additional training outside of the college itself. At the time my daughter was applying, there was a school and company nearby that would've fulfilled that criteria for her, and the Muhlenberg classes were intended to be additional training for her, but not the primary source. But schools change over time, so it's best that you visit for yourselves.

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luvmiballerina

Thank you, vagansmom, for your replies! I appreciate your insights.

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10000Lakes

Thanks all for your views. DD is a junior and the choices are feeling overwhelming at this point. I think the advice to see for ourselves is valuable.

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vagansmom

I don't recall if any of us said this, but definitely set up the timing of your visit so that the dancer can take a ballet class. It serves two purposes: your child knows in his or her "gut" how the ballet class feels, and 2) the teacher leading the ballet class will remember your dancing child. My daughter gained volumes of information about college dance programs by doing that and she made very good connections with a couple of the teachers. Also, she garnered dance scholarships. Whether or not the video alone would've done that, we don't know, but there's nothing like seeing a dancer's total commitment in person. Likewise, she was able to easily eliminate some schools. If you visit during the summer, that option really isn't available to you, so set it up with the dance faculty in advance.

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Marseas Mom

I completely agree with vagansmom in visiting a school and either taking or observing classes. I will also say that if possible, combine a school visit with a dance concert, as you may be able to see things more clearly. As vagansmom said, Muhlenberg's ballet program may need to be supplemented with outside classes. This was not an issue for DD#1 and Muhlenberg is still very high on her list.

 

DD did get some scholarship money for Muhlenberg but not anything close to a full ride, so costs for our family may be the dealbreaker.

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alliebug13

My dd and I spent her spring break looking at college dance programs. Like your daughter, mine is also interested in the dance/pre-med route. One of the schools we visited was IU. They are so flexible for dance majors that they have created a degree, bachelor of science with an outside interest. We were told the most popular outside interest was biology. I have also been told that its not always easy to fit it all in but if you want it, you can make it work. I think for most dk, they are so used to balancing so many things that it really doesn't even faze them!

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Pierrette
I have also been told that its not always easy to fit it all in but if you want it, you can make it work. I think for most dk, they are so used to balancing so many things that it really doesn't even faze them!

In most cases, the issue is not the dancer's ability to balance a busy schedule. It's more about the availability of the required courses, the hope that they don't conflict with other, and often the willingness to add semesters in order to take classes that consistently conflict with each other. So the willingness to "make it work" could mean willingness to pay more money, give up summer dance intensives, or taking longer to move onto one's ultimate goal.

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alliebug13

Pierrette, I understand exactly what you are saying. We have been researching this for a while now. DD is ready to give up summers and possible extra years to make this work. The school is is most interested in helped to explain how to make it happen. Now all she needs to do is get accepted!

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