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Ballet Talk for Dancers

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Guest t1cklemep1nk

I have heard a lot of good things about Butler's dance program, I'm very interested in the school and am thinking about visiting there soon.

I know getting into Butler's dance program is very competitive, and that they only accept 25 or so dancers a year. How many dancers audition though? Is it really that hard to get in?


And does anyone know if they will let a non dance major audition and participate in the dance program?

I want to take daily classes and perform, but major in English. :o


And how hard is it to get a scholarship?

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Hi Tickle --


If you are seriously interested in Butler, I can try to put you in contact with someone from my daughter's studio who is currently at Butler. I don't have any information myself about whether or not you could/should audition if you're not going to major in dance, but I'm guessing it would be a lot more trouble than it would be worth. They're a highly selective school and might not look too kindly upon someone going taking up audition time who isn't going to seriously pursue a dance career. I"m sure they have some sort of dance for non-majors at such a huge fine arts school. though. In any event, a phone call should settle the question.


On a bit of a different note, I had a good friend whose daughter was considered to be the "prima" at her local dance school and she was encouraged to audition at Butler and was completely devastated when she did. She got there and was nowhere near where she should have been (in ballet technique) in order to be accepted. This girl went into a bit of an emotional tailspin because she was, obviously, devastated. She quit ballet and hasn't, as far as I know, ever come back. She'd believed what her local school had told her and they basically had nothing to back up their claims they were training her to be a "professional" other than their words. (You might look under the Pre-Professional Schools subforum on this site and read up on the Dolly Dinkle schools. We were at one of these schools. So are many, many good dancers.)


Anyway, let me know and I'll try to put you in touch with one of the 2 girls I know from my daughter's CURRENT studio who are at Butler in the ballet department. Both on scholarship. They're amazing.


Good luck in your search!

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i dance at the school affiliated with Butler's dance department. the dance minor program is great. they offer good classes from good teachers. i dont know that you would be able to perform with them because they only allow dance majors to perform. call the offices there and they would love to help you.

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As I understand it, "Butler Ballet" (the performing 'company') is an actual class taken for credit. The dancers get grades for their participation. The casting comes out of the class participants. There are usuallly quite a number of dancers in the 'company'. Therefore, I would hazard to say that unless they really need extra bodies to fill out a village scene (or some such), that they would not use non-major dancers in the performance pieces. They have enough people to cast as it is.


I do not think non-majors are permitted to take the major classes. They do have classes specifically for non-majors. Occassionally, they may cast non-major men in party scene roles in Nutcracker. (I can remember a couple times them doing so when they needed more 'party dads'; and I remember one very, very rare occassion when a (child) party girl withdrew (for medical reasons) very near performance time and they substituted a used-to-be-dance-major-turned-music-major in that party girl's role.)


If you really want to perform and are not planning on majoring, be sure and ask that question. But I don't think non-majors would be in a position to perform at Butler.

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I spoke with someone in the Ballet department at Butler just last week, concerning the availability of ballet classes for someone who wished to major in something else, yet also wanted to continue dancing. I was told that classes could be taken (not for credit) at the Jordan Ballet School, which is affiliated with the Jordan Fine Arts School. Additional tuition, as well. The person to whom I spoke was very curt, close to rude, and I was not impressed. Butler may be on my DD's list, but it is off mine, no matter how great the ballet department.

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Taradriver... i am not defending the butler staff, but i did want to inform you that they just went back to classes this week. so im sure they've been overwhelmed. but i wanted to clarify something. the Jordan Ballet School (Jordan Dance Academy ... http://www.butler.edu/jcad) offers reduced prices for butler students. if they pay by the class there is a reduced price for any butler student. just wanted to clarify!

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LooseLegs2 - I phoned last week, not this week, so the students hadn't come back yet. I did reach someone with knowledge of the program and I have her name. I was really stupefied by her response. It may have been a bad day, we all have them, but as the one who writes out the tuition checks, I have choices.


I am going to let their Admissions Office know, without mentioning the person's name. They spend a great deal of time, money & effort on recruitment and experiences like mine negate what they're trying to do.

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I say go for it Taradriver! Good university ballet programs are not scarce, thank goodness, in this country. I've always found I've gotten a lot more response if I've actually written (or word processed) a letter and sent it snail mail. Might also CC the dean or this person's immediate superior as well.

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dazedandconfused - thanks for the support! And yes, there are other good ballet programs available at the university level. You are absolutely correct about sending a letter snail mail to get results and I intend to do so.


This is no knock against Butler's highly regarded ballet program or its students. This is a slam against arrogant university staff and I'd venture a guess that they exist in most higher education settings.

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  • 1 month later...

I was wondering about the technique classes at Butler. I know that a lot of college dance programs focus specifically on performance and performance experience and being versatile learning different forms of dance. I am coming from a background where I have already dance professionally in a company near my hometown while attending high school and participated in several performances/ worked a lot with a corps and in a company. What I feel that I am lacking in is technique. I was wondering if with Butler's ballet program, my technique could develop enough to get me into a company while I get my college degree at the same time! That would be ideal! If anyone has any experience or input it would be greatly appreciated.

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  • 2 weeks later...


i'm auditioning for Butler this weekend and i was wondering how the audition day went. What was the pointe work like? What was the hardest thing you had to do? How many people were at your audition? etc. any info would be great, thanks

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Usually the day will start with a couple of meetings with some of the staff, a quick tour of the facilities, and then at 12:20 you will take your first ballet class with the hightest level, level 4. From 2 until 3:30, you will take a second ballet class with level 2. I don't think you will do any pointework, as the classes are technique classes. Some of this may have changed though, as I haven't been at Butler for the last couple of years. Hope all goes well with your audition! Good luck!

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