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Ballet Talk for Dancers

College Ballet Programs: Details, Details & more!

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Guest dancer04

I am sophomore at Friends University. Friends offers a BFA in ballet. Actually, I have danced in the school which is affiliated with the University. The school is extremely small. I don't want to bore you with the details if you are not interested, so if you would like to know more, just ask.

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Guest dancer04

Friends University is located in Wichita, Kansas. The University is a private University and tuition is about $21,000 per year with room and board and meals. It is run by an ex married couple. The director, who also teaches most of the classes, was once a professional dancer with Fort Worth Ballet and I believe ABT at one time. The ballet mistress is unlike any teacher I have ever worked with. She is amazing. The classes are very small. In fact, we are so small that there is only one class. This semester the schedule was this. 8:00-12:00 academic classes of your choice, usually General Education Graduation requirements, 1:00-2:30 every day is ballet technique with one of the teachers. This class if taken with the mistress is on pointe and with the director can be either. Sometimes he demands pointe and other times he gives us the option. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 2:30-6:00 is rehearsals for performances which I will get to momentarily. Tuesday and Thursday from 2:30-3:30 is either related dance such as tap or jazz or pilates. That is the fall semester. In the winter/spring semester the Tuesday/Thursday class from 2:30 to 3:30 is Variations and Pas de Deux. Not every one takes variations and pas though. It depends on your ability. There are about 18 girls in the program and 4 guys. Yes, it is very small, but that just means more personalized attention and more performing opportunities. The performances we do each year are as follows: In October we do a fall ballet. SOmetimes it is a sacred performance and sometimes it is not. It just depends. This year we had a guest choreographer from Las Angelas. We also performed the Firebird and one other new more contemporary ballet. The next performance is The Nutcracker. Everyone is in the Nutcracker each year and the parts vary. We are very fortunate to have beautiful guest artists. Every year we have 2 weeks of shows. The first weekend this year our guest artists were Wendy Whelan and Nikolaj Hubbe. AMAZING. Wendy performes with us every year as the ballet mistress used to be her teacher. The second weekend our guest artists were DOminic Walsh and Tyann Clement. Both gorgeous dancers as well. DOminic Walsh performs with us each year as well as choreographs for us. In March a Spring Ballet is performed, which is usually more of a classical performance with original choreography. In past years we have been so fortunate to have had choreographers such as Dominic Walsh and Fransisco Martinez. There is also a choreography showcase presented by the students in the choreography class every other year and more of a variety show as well. The variety show is put on with the Singing Quakers, which is an acclaimed choral group of the school. It is their annual spring concert and we perform with them. Usually not ballet though. There are optional evening classes with the ballet mistress if any students so desire more classes. There are quite a few girls that take the Saturday class and then 3 of us take an extra class each evening. The academics required for graduation as a BFA in ballet are as follows: 4 years of ballet technique, 4 semesters of related dance forms, 3 years of repertoire classes, 2 semesters of dance history, 1 semester of dance composition (choreograph a dance for yourself), 1 semester of choreography (choreograph a dance for at least 4 other dancers), variations and pas de deux are optional and count towards elective credits, 1 semester of senior project which is a class that helps you get a job once you graduate. The school itself is excellent and has produced professional dancers. Is there anything else you'd like to know?

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Guest songbirdfaerie

WOW thank you so much dancer04! Just one last question, do you think this would be a good program for someone who wants to become a professional at ABT after college? Thanks again!

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Guest dancer04

Well, all of the dancers that dance here do their senior project whcih is researching many different companies and they do their audions at these companies. THe ballet mistress is extremely supportive of what each individual wants to do with their life. We have a couple of girls who are auditiong for PNB so I don't see why ABT would be any different. The school's website is http://www.friends.edu Some pictures can be seen at http://www.tancos2.net/dance and http://www.printroom.com/pro/racingvision those are basically just Nutcracker pictures. But, it gives you an idea of the school and such.

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Guest threedance



Dear daughter is in the process of auditioning at the various dance colleges in the US. She has visited Butler, Indiana University, University of Oklahoma, and the University of Iowa. She is also auditioning in January for Texas Christian University.


For herself, she had ruled out Butler and Indiana University. This past summer, instead of attending a summer intensive, she planned early, in that she took her SAT and ACT the fall of her Junior year, which allowed her to apply to the University of Oklahoma as an early entry student, studying dance. She auditioned this past spring, both in ballet and modern, and was accepted in level 3/4 ballet. When she took the four weeks of classes (college credit), OU had her enrolled in the highest level of ballet for the summer (level 3), and the modern 2 technique class. She also auditioned for the company, and was accepted into the ballet company for the summer. At the end of the summer, OU performed many pieces, and she performed in two ballets and a modern piece, and was an understudy for another. All in all her experience at OU, sealed the deal, that she wanted to study dance as a college major.


Of course, Dad and I, also wanted her to possibly double major or minor in another field of study.


She has also auditioned at the University of Iowa. Her modern teacher at the studio that she studies at, recieved a full master degree fellowship to attend, and one of our pieces for RDA adjudication was done by one of the professors at Iowa. At Iowa, they have amazing opportunities to perform, acquire a double major (she'd pick business).


Next on her list, as stated above is TCU. TCU allows for majors in ballet, modern or ballet/modern and also a double major in another field of study.


It will depend on how she likes these three universities, and of course the scholarships that they give out. Just in case, she's allready been admitted into the business school at UT, just in case she decides dance isn't her thing (I don't think that will happen!!)


I am sure glad that I don't have to decide this, because it will be very hard!



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Oops. I don't know what I just did but somehow when I hit reply, I added all of threedance's post. Sorry!


Threedance, these sound like wonderful choices for your dd. May I ask why she ruled out Butler and Indiana? Was it solely because she got the opportunity at Oklahoma or were there other factors involved?


I'm in the process of scoping out college programs for my dd who is a junior and I'm eager to hear about all of the various programs.


I had no idea that U of Iowa had a reputable program in dance.

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Guest threedance
Threedance, these sound like wonderful choices for your dd.  May I ask why she ruled out Butler and Indiana?  Was it solely because she got the opportunity at Oklahoma or were there other factors involved?



My daughter wanted to have access to a program that had more than just ballet, since she originally came from tap, jazz and drill team as a youth. In just the past 4 years has she evolved into modern, pointe and ballet. Indiana, in our opinions, for her, would not challenge her in these other arenas of dance. Butler, while, they also have modern and ballet, and an opportunity to double major, just did not appeal to her. We do have dancers from our studio, who are/or have attended Butler, Indiana, and Ball State (also in Indiana). We also have dancers, who have gotten degrees from OU, Utah, and two are currently at TCU, and of course the grad student at Iowa.


When we visited Butler (summer before last), they were in the process of adding new dance studios.


Again, for what we are looking for...is something that isn't just all ballet. Iowa, University of Oklahoma, TCU, Oklahoma City University allows a bit more dance diversity along with the ability to either double major, or minor in business.


Another interesting thing about University of Oklahoma, is that they are big in Ballroom dancing. (But it is not part of the dance degree program.) Also at OU, they will be moving into additional dance studio space and performance space early this spring semester. Lots of money being poured into the dance program (hmmm, in addition to the football program, and the metrological program).


DD was looking into something different for a summer intensive. She had done Ballet Austin, The Joffrey Workshop (2 years) and Craft of Choreography (2 years). We had seen OU's advertisement in the different dance magazines as a dance degree program, and of course the other people who have gone there too, from our studio, but really didn't know about the early entry program, until we called to see what their summer intensive program was. Well, they don't have one, but OU, like other universities, offers students the ability to take classes, when students are juniors and seniors in high school, and the ability to be emersed (sp?) into a program, before the actually try it out as a degree program. Of course you have to audition, just like a summer intensive, and also be admitted into the University. Out of state residents have to have higher gpa's, sat's or act's scores to get into OU. This past summer, was the first time that both the modern and ballet department collaborated in having an end of summer performance with both of the departments. So DD was able to perform in two ballets, a modern piece and was an understudy in another ballet. She earned 6 hours of college credit and was a member of the OU ballet company for the summer.


University of Iowa, has so many opportunities for dancers to perform, collaborate and teach. I think I saw 8-10 events that one could dance at, if that was your thing. In talking to the counselors at Iowa, if you wanted to double major in dance and business, and signed a contract to graduate in 4 years, they'd make sure that you'd have opportunity to get the classes you needed, or they'd pay your tuition for further semesters. (I was a bit impressed with that mind you.) They had Joffrey Ballet come to perform the Nutcracker this past December, and all sorts of other dance companies come through and make a stop (like they do at Butler and at Indiana) and have performances, and take classes with the local students. Both Butler and Iowa have very impressive auditoriums.


Anyway, I blathered on a bit. Hope this helps!



Edited by threedance
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Yes, this is very helpful. Thank you.


Did you by chance look at SMU or U of Utah as it appears as though you are from that side of the country? If so, would you be willing to provide your and your dd's general impressions?

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Guest threedance
Yes, this is very helpful.  Thank you.


Did you by chance look at SMU or U of Utah as it appears as though you are from that side of the country?  If so, would you be willing to provide your and your dd's general impressions?

SMU is 32,000 a year. DD has a bunch of her guy friends who got some scholarships, that are attending there. We do know of a girl, who got fantastic scholastic scholarships, and she is on the SMU "dance" team, and takes some dance classes.


Utah has two separate dance arenas. You are either a ballet major or a modern major, and you cannot do both, or from what I understand, from previous people who have received degrees from there, mix the dance genders. Thats okay for some people, but for DD it is best for her career if she goes to a school that has both, and also from our perspective, be able to double major, or minor in another area.


We have a young lady from our studio, who is in the Ballet Austin program as a trainee this year, and is taking classes at the University of Texas. UT has a growing dance department, but not anyone from our studio is looking at UT for

dance degree.



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Does anyone have any information on the Ballet program at Friends University in Kansas? I saw it advertised in Pointe Magazine as having a BFA in Ballet.



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My D is a student at SMU. As a senior in hs, she was dancing at the highest level in the pre-pro division of a professional company-affiliated school so went in with very strong ballet technique.


She had some initial concerns about the quality of the ballet training she'd get there and has been pleasantly surprised at how good it's been. She chose the

program because she can still perform if she drops to a minor (her other

major is in one of the sciences) and of course, the full academic scholarship helped :pinch: .

She considered several other programs such as NYU, Indiana, and TCU but really wanted one where she could still take the highest level classes AND perform without being a major. The flexibility there was an important criterion. So far, she's been pretty happy with her choice. She didn't look at Butler since it's about the same size as her high school.


She loves being able to dance every day, have it count towards her academics,

and still be challenged by the excellent science program.


A side note--re UT Austin---a few years ago, she attended the first ABT SI in Austin

and noted that while the RA's were absolutely wonderful (among the best she'd

ever had), she was NOT impressed with their ballet technique--they took class with her once a day. Of course, things may have changed, but she never even considered their dance program after having been there for a summer.

PS We just received a letter that SMU tuition, fees, room and board are going

up next year--looks like the new total will be around $34-$35k. Expensive. But

they have lots of financial aid and scholarships available.

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There was a nice discussion on Cross Talk about Friends University at the end of December Friends



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Thank you very much Allegrafan. That information was very helpful.



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