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hkballet

Wow thanks so much for all of this - very helpful!:) Do most people get to go on the abroad trips (like Austria)?

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hkballet

Also sorry, I should've been more specific I meant to say while you were at OU, how did you go about auditioning for professional companies for jobs?

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glissade_jete

hkballet,

 

The number of dancers taken abroad depends on the budget and the rep. During my time, the tour was to China and most dancers did *not* go.

 

Also, I graduated a semester early, so I didn't have to deal with company auditions during school-time. I might actually suggest my route! I had the benefit of full-time training through December at OU, and then I moved back home with my parents (saves money) and took open classes wherever and whenever I wanted and was perfectly free to jet-set off to any audition I wanted to. I was lucky enough to have received multiple professional offers that season, but I think much of that has to do with the fact that I genuinely could audition whenever I wanted (within financial reason) without having to worry about limiting my auditions in order to not miss classes and rehearsals. Obviously not feasible in most circumstances, but it was nice for me! There were actually three of us who graduated in December my year. One used to spring to study in Hubbard Street's scholarship program.

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hkballet

Okay thanks again! I'll definitely give it some thought - we will see how things go I guess... I'm planning to double major with health and exercise science but my main goal is to become a professional dancer. I just don't want to have to go back to school later in life. Also I was curious, while you were at OU, did you ever get the opportunity to collaborate with the opera program? They mentioned something about it when I came in January..

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glissade_jete

Yes! The ballet program collaborated twice during my time there. Once, the opera department performed a full-length Lakme and wanted to add large amounts of dancing. It was an enlightening experience for us, working with the maestro and trying to come to terms to dancing with tempos that were much more suitable for singing than dancing. I believe the ballet program has done Lakme again since I graduated.

 

They also did Die Fledermaus, although I wasn't involved in that production. At that time, some of us, including me, were pulled to guest in a local performing arts school's Nutcrcacker, so rehearsals conflicted.

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hkballet

Wow that's awesome!:)

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theyalldance

Does anybody have information about the modern department? Specifically, do the modern dancers ever take pointe class? And how much rehearsal time is there during evening and weekend hours?

 

Thanks!

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glissade_jete

Modern dancers, at least while I was there, didn't intermingle much with the ballet dancers in terms of ballet classes. While ballet majors take the same modern class as most lower-class modern majors, the modern majors generally do not take ballet technique class with the ballet majors. They take the Ballet II class which, more or less, is just for them. On rare occasions, modern majors have received permission to audit a higher level of ballet.

 

I'm not sure I recall a modern major ever taking pointe class. If they did, I think it was also on an audit-basis. Generally, the modern majors don't come in having a pre-professional level of ballet training. They're all excellent dancers, and they've all trained in ballet (as I'm sure some have trained in pointe) but their priorities and goals are different in terms of dance. Modern majors graduate getting jobs in the contemporary/entertainment field, while ballet majors graduate and get jobs in classical OR contemporary companies.

 

The modern department is set up pretty much the same as the ballet department, which also accounts for the lack of crossover between classes, as generally the dance classes are going on at the same time on their respective floors (modern is on the 2nd floor, ballet on the 3rd).

 

Saturday rehearsals are morning until mid/late afternoon. Sunday rehearsals can and do often happen, but just for student choreography. Friday evenings are usually off. The rest of the week depends on the rep and whether or not the company is "in-season." Both companies have daytime rehearsals built in on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so Mondays and Wednesdays are most likely to have evening rehearsals. I want to say that I don't remember evening rehearsals being called until about 6pm, to ensure that dancers were all finished with their academic classes for the day.

 

Rehearsal schedules are posted at the beginning of every week. Generally you have to be "called" to a rehearsal and then casting will slowly whittle down from there.

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hkballet

One more question: what is the physical therapy availability/deal at OU? I was a little confused when the faculty talked about it at the meeting.

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glissade_jete

hkballet,

 

Definitely another question for erinaballerina =P When I was there, the dance school was just becoming "friendly" with the PT program, as one of the therapists there had become interested in physical therapy for dancers and started "specializing" in working with us. I can't recall if it was a service provided to us, or if we had to still go through our health insurance (I'm assuming the latter).

 

I'd be interested to hear the answer to this one, too!

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erinaballerina

With regards to the international programs -

A very limited number of students are typically invited to go on tours, usually just the cast of the program. The photo I've found which I think is the full cast of the last Austria tour has 8 women and 6 men, all of whom were juniors, seniors, and graduate students. They've only done one tour since I've been here, but there was talk about it becoming a more regular thing. You might also be interested in knowing, however, that the School of Dance is launching its own study abroad program to Barcelona this summer! Students will get credit for Modern III and Dance History: Three Centuries in a four-week session and will take classes in various styles at the Centre de Dansa de Catalunya with Roser Muñoz and Joan Boix.

 

Company Auditions -

Most people wait until their senior year to audition for companies, the faculty typically kind of discourage auditioning before then. I think that's mostly just because it's very difficult to travel from OKC to places where auditions are taking place - we don't have the luxury of being close to a metropolitan center so it's difficult to audition without missing class and rehearsals. The faculty usually run "senior survival" seminars in the fall semester leading up to auditions, which cover things like photos, resumes, auditioning, reading contracts, etc. I wish the department would bring in a photographer for us as I've seen other dance programs do, but we're responsible for doing that ourselves - there are several reputable movement photographers in the OKC - Norman area and there are sometimes other dance students willing to take some in-studio shots so it's easy enough to do. The department records most performances, and has a media center which is open certain hours for us to review and choose clips to put together a performance reel. They usually ask that we limit the number of rehearsal absences during the spring semester to 5, but they do want us to get jobs, and that number is negotiable as long as you communicate. I'm graduating a year early -- I didn't think if I graduated a semester early I'd be able to stay in shape. A lot of seniors this spring had extra company credits from the summer dance session, so they opted out of the ballet company, which is also an option if you're worried about working auditions around your schedule. I personally didn't find it to be much of an issue.

Modern Department & Pointe -

The modern dancers typically start out placed in Ballet II but they do have the option to audition for Ballet III, for which they are expected to dance en pointe with the rest of the class. That's gotten pretty popular since I've been here, I think last semester there were 5 or 6 modern majors who were taking Ballet III including at least one freshman. I don't think any of them have taken pointe class specifically and I'm not sure if there's a course conflict or if that's disallowed, or if they simply haven't wanted to. There's definitely been a lot more freedom to take cross-concentration classes even in the past two years compared to my freshman year, so I wouldn't be afraid to ask the faculty or your advisor about stuff like that. They've been really open lately to dancers taking "special studies" for however much credit, which allows dancers to attend classes only certain days a week and stuff like that. There are definitely modern majors graduating with jobs in entertainment/commercial fields, but a lot of them have recently been leaving with jobs in modern dance companies, which I think is why that's gotten more popular. The modern department I think typically rehearses a little bit later than the ballet department, but usually no later than 10PM (the ballet department usually rehearses between 6PM & 9PM in the evenings but they may not use all that time depending on how much rehearsal we need). Unless we're in tech for a show or have a guest choreographer in, usually Friday nights, Saturday nights, and Sundays are all off. I think I made a post about the schedule a page or so back - that's going to be similar for the modern program.

 

Physical Therapy -

I believe that the ~official~ injury policy is that if you are off more than a certain number of weeks due to injury (I'm not certain if it's 3 or 4) you receive an incomplete for the semester and you are able to reverse that incomplete by making the number of weeks you were off during the summer or another semester. You are still expected to attend class and take notes during the time you are off if you are enrolled in a class and you'll need a doctor's note. The dance department is currently working with one of the physicians who works at Goddard (the student health center) Dr. Megan Meier, who is usually in town one day a week (her clinic is in OKC) and will shuffle her schedule around to see a few dancers in a brief session at RPAC (the dance building) during that day. She also holds a few appointments for the dancers in her schedule at Goddard. She is able to diagnose injuries or make referrals to PT, X-rays, MRIs, etc as necessary, and she danced herself so she understands and trusts our judgement. There is PT on campus at the student health center, or there are plenty of PT places around Norman who she can send referrals to. In the event that she isn't available, there are also a few general sports-medicine physicians at Goddard who I've had a fine time with, although Goddard doesn't exactly have a reputation for being the best healthcare around. Dr. Meier provides her services free but I do believe insurance fees apply for PT, other specialists, or Goddard-scheduled appointments. I think that glissade_jete is referring to a physical therapist who unfortunately left just before my freshman year and moved away.

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erinaballerina

Also opera -- The ballet department does collaborate occasionally with the opera or other University Theatre performances! This spring semester, a large group of ballet majors danced in the opera production of Onegin. They didn't have to sing or anything, but I think they were asked to lip synch along with some of it! One of our professors, Jeremy Lindberg, is very passionate about Opera, so he was asked to choreograph for the performance and it turned out quite beautiful! Dance students are also sometimes cast for theatre or musical theatre performances if they need extra dancers. My freshman year a small group of dancers were cast to dance in a ballroom scene of the musical play Coram Boy, and the year before a group of dancers had been cast in the Musical Theatre production of On the Town. Several modern majors (the ballet majors were rehearsing for nutcracker) were also involved in the musical Ragtime, which opened our newly renovated large theatre this fall (and they sang!).

 

If you're interested in broadening singing, acting, or musical theatre talents, I was able to take Tap Dance through the Musical Theatre department while I was here, a small group of students took Acting for Non-Majors recently, several have taken Jazz through Musical Theatre, and a handful have also taken independent study or group voice lessons! One of the great things about OU is that all the fine arts buildings are located in close proximity, so it's easy to get to know other fine arts majors and move between different fine-arts classes.

Edited by erinaballerina

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hkballet

Thanks this is so helpful!

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hkballet

Did you ever get the chance to go see OKC Ballet perform?

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erinaballerina

Yes, groups of us go to their performances a lot of times - OKC is only about a half-hour away from Norman so it's pretty easy to carpool up there for performances, especially since we usually have weekend evenings off. I've personally only been twice, but usually at least a handful of students go to each performance. OKCB typically has student rush tickets that are available an hour or so before curtain, and depending on how well tickets are selling for the shows, they sometimes will reach out to OU Dance and offer free or super discounted tickets to certain nights of performances.

Edited by erinaballerina

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