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Guest Medora

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Guest Medora

Hi everyone. I am beginning to think about what I will do after high school, as I am going to have to begin applying to colleges in the fall and hope to maybe do some visiting this summer. I am a little unsure of what to do because I want to be a professional dancer very much, and teachers say I can do it, but I am not going to be ready to even think of auditioning for companies still for several years. I see I can't expect any help from my parents, so if I really want to make it, I'm going to have to help myself and work very hard and do it almost completely on my own. I realize it's not going to be easy, but I will do whatever it takes.

 

So, about where I will go after high school, I realize that there are several good college dance programs, Indiana, Butler, Oklahoma, and so on, so I can audition for those and pray they overlook my technical weakness enough to accept me. And what about going to school near one of the major professional schools in the country? I would absolutely love to study at one of these and be in their programs for the students who they are training to become professionals. Is that possible? I wish I could take a year after high school and do nothing but train, but that isn't realistic is it, I mean, how would I support myself? And there are the academies like Nutmeg, but once again, how would I get in and how would I be able to afford to go there? I am asking all of this because I need to be making my list of where I am applying to and getting organized. It's probably a bit early, but I was asking my parents about one college the other day and kind of got stuck not really knowing what I was talking about. Talking to guidance counselors at school and non dance people doesn't help though because they don't understand about any of these things. So all I have are my teachers and all of you here. Thanks! :P

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  • Victoria Leigh

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Medora, are your parents going to allow you to major in dance in college? If so, then I think it would be best to audition for the better known dance departments in colleges, which are the ones you already know about. To study in a professional school you might try for some of the colleges in the Boston area, or if you want to stay closer to home, then American University or Georgetown or George Washington University here in DC. I think this would be more difficult though, as you would have to arrange all of your college classes around the dance schedule, whereas in a dance department, as a major, your dance classes are a priority. My inclination at this point would be to advise you in the direction of Oklahoma, Indiana, Butler, SMU, SUNY Purchase, or Utah.

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Guest Medora

Well, they definetly won't be happy about it. Okay, I can say this, they are going to want me to study something else, whether I dance or not. They obviously don't want dance to be my priority, but it totally is. So they probably wouldn't be happy unless I were to double major? I think it's safe to say that they won't support me if the only thing I study is dance, I am going to have to work towards another degree if I want any money from them. If I want any support I can't study dance alone, I am going to have to do something else with it. Unless of course I got a scholarship, but I'm dreaming now, right.

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I'm sure there are colleges in both of those cities, Medora, but I just don't happen to be familiar with them ;)

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Guest Old Fashioned

There's University of Houston and Rice University in Houston. I'm not familiar with their dance programs, so I won't comment.

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in boston, the boston conservatory of dance offers BFA degrees. Ms. Leigh, do you have any information about this program that might be useful? i am looking into the same schools as Medora for my sophomore year. for other areas of study, Medora, i am planning to study costume design and choreography to stay close to the art, and as many writing classes as possible. i love to write, and being a dance journalist would be an excellent option for me if dance falls through! think of what you want to do that would add to your dance training as well as providing a backup plan.

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Constanza, I really do not have any information about the Boston Conservatory program. Sorry!

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Guest Medora

Well, actually, I know what I interested in studying besides dance, but it happens to be about as different from ballet as you could get, chemistry! It's by far my favorite subject in school, and if dance didn't work out in the end and I had to choose that safe, secure job, then I would like to be a chemical engineer. I also love to write too though. The strange thing is, I feel like if I couldn't actually be in a company and perform, I wouldn't want to stay close to the art because it would make me very sad to see all of these dancers if I couldn't be one of them. But who knows, maybe I'm wrong. If I did have to do something else but stay close to the art, then I would like to write like Alexandra does or even like be like director of a company, executive I guess, one of the in charigies. I would like to ask the colleges if I could pursue a degree in chemical engineering, but slower if I go to a school that offers it, as it's a very demanding major. Or I could go somewhere and study just plain chemistry, that would be fine too because if dance fell through then I could finish the engineering part later I guess. If I can't study chem, then I would pick something else for the sake of ballet because I could always go back later and change. This sounds so silly and irrantional, but I can't imagine dance falling through, it's like I have this angel on my shoulder telling me it's my calling despite all of these odds. I must be insane! :P

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Guest rachael

Medora, I was in your exact situation a few years ago. I was looking at the same schools (I auditioned for Indiana, Oklahoma, Butler, and Purchase) and had the same difficulties with my parents about what to study. I ended up choosing to double-major - next fall I will study ballet and journalism at Oklahoma. Anyways, I guess I just wanted to post this to let you know that I understand how you feel! I'd have to guess that our situations are becoming more common in the dance world as college ballet programs gain strength and more dancers choose that route over going to a company right out of high school. Anyways, good luck with your difficult decisions and with your auditions!

~rachael

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Medora, I can very much empathize with your situation. My parents, to say the least, are unsupportive of my dancing. I offer my present situation as another option for you to consider. I am 19, still living at home, and just finished my G.E. courses at community college. I'm transfering to CSUS and am taking classes there in addition to the ones I continue to take at my home studio. I thought about double majoring or minoring in dance, but that just turned out to be way too much of a load with my romance language major. I'll think you'll find the same to be true if you go for the chemistry. My Dad is horribly opposed to anything to do with dancing but here's how I convinced them that I need to continue with my current classes AND take some at univ. This may not be true at all universities, but one p.e. class is REQUIRED and they count ballet (or any other dance) as p.e. because of the physical demand. Then if you continue to take other classes there you could probably count some of them as part of your upper division requirements (at CSUS they require 9 units of u. div. electives that can not relate to your major/minor. For me this traslated into adv. ballet, choreography, and history of dance). Another possibility is to audit, which shouldn't add to your unit fees. My teachers both at my studio and at univ. have been very willing to help me get the classes I need to advance, but it is still tough trying to please the parents AND follow your dreams. I don't know your specific needs or if your parents are not quite as strict, just as strict or even more strict than mine, but just to say what has been working for me. It's a lot less expensive to live at home for a couple years to help establish yourself so if you do get that chance to dance professionally you can go for it.

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Ms. Leigh, what happens to all of those lovely, well-trained around 22 year old dancers who have never had an apprenticeship or anything? The ones who are really good but still need that polish that only comes with dancing in a company?Is the way this "older" age-group proceeds to find a career the same as someone straight out of high school? What would need to happen during the last year of college (in terms of trainig or whatever) for someone going the college route? Between academic classes and regular classes I do manage to get 7 classes a week. I know CSUS is not renown for it's dance department, but the dance dept.s of both univ. within driving distance of my house have decent classes and the class at CSUS that I have with Nolan T'sani (he used to dance with NYCB) is most respectable. Glimmer of a possibilty at all? :) With me, this is really my only option.

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Guest Medora

Aminefleur, thank you so much for your wonderful advice, but I will say that I am definetly going to need to leave home because I live in like a desert when it comes to ballet. I can't remain here forever if I want to be a professional, so I am going to have to leave home and go somewhere for college, out of state because DC is even out of state, unless George Mason is close enough to DC. By the way, does anyone know how close George Mason and Univerisy of Maryland are to DC?

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Animefleur, that is a good question, and I will give it some thought and get back to that when I have more time.

 

Medora, GMU is about 20 miles west of DC. It's a trek, but doable if you have a car. The U. of MD has a campus in Silver Spring, which is very close to DC, accesible by metro I would think. The Baltimore campus would be too far to commute easily.

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Medora, sorry my advice couldn't have been of more help to you. Best of luck with whatever route you end up going as it definitely seems you need to go away to dance :)

 

Thank you Ms. Leigh. I will be waiting eagerly to know your thoughts on this.

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