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Ballet Talk for Dancers

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It takes between 30 - 50 minutes by train (whether it's a local or an express and the time of day...) that leaves from the city of Rye, which is about a 10 minute ride from Purchase's campus. The college has a jitney bus that both takes students to and from the station which is part of the New Haven line of Metro-North Railroad . The train goes into Grand Central Station. It's an extremely well traveled train, even during off peak hours, for those who don't know the area.


By car, it takes approximately 45 minutes, barring traffic problems, to get to Lincoln Center, though I would always allow more time. :D

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I have gotten mixed messages about the optimum place to audition for SUNY Purchase. I live in Wisconsin, so the closest place would be in Chicago. One of my teachers said Chicago might be a good place to audition because its closer, its cheaper, and there might be less competition. However, I am worried there might be an alterior motive in that statement, because he'll want me to be home in time for rehersal. My other choice would be on campus, in New York. I was thinking that auditioning there would make a better impression and give me better chances because more of the faculty would be present. That plan is much more expensive, and I'd have to miss school and rehersals. So I am not sure what is better. Which place would be to my advantage, as far as dance goes? Do they look at their regional auditions the same as the auditions at Purchase?

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I don't think there is a huge advantage either way, in terms of your getting accepted. However, I do think it's important for you to see the campus and especially the dance department and studios. You need to get a feel for the atmosphere, and perhaps meet more of the faculty than you would meet in Chicago. Since college choices and acceptance are a pretty high priority in your senior year, I would not consider missing classes and rehearsals for a couple of days to be crucial, unless of course it was the final rehearsals on stage. The college issue really needs to take priority at this time.

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Just so you know, lots of kids travel from out of town to audiiton on campus, so don't feel as if you are going to be the only one. My friend from Lousiana traveled up to SUNY Purchase to the audition, even though it wasn't the closest audition for her. (She was also accepted! But ended up not going.)

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  • 2 months later...

I have danced with a few SUNY Purchase grads/dancers currently in the program and they have all been EXCELLENT. It has a great reputation, at least among my circle of dancer friends in long island/nyc.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Can anybody tell me what style is teached as SUNY Purchase? :yucky: And how many different levels are in each year? Thanks

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DSL, I don't know their class schedule, but the main teachers are former ABT dancers. Therefore, I would think that the training is basically an "American mix", which is a blend of Russian, French, and Italian.

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  • 10 months later...

List of companies that Purchase alumni have joined . .



American Ballet Theatre -

American Repertory Ballet -

Alaska Dance Theatre

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre -

Ailey Repertory -

Arizona Ballet

Ballet De Buenos Aires -

Ballet Contemporaneao -

Ballet Hispanico -

Ballet Long Island -

Ballet West –

Boston Ballet

American Dance Machine -

Annabelle Gamson Dance Solos, Inc. -

Cleveland/San Jose Ballet -

Houston Ballet

Frankfurt Ballet -

Hartford Ballet

Verb Ballet / Hernando Cortez

Washington Ballet -

Metropolitan Opera Ballet

Connecticut Ballet Theatre –

Columbia City Ballet

Oakland Ballet -



Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane -

Brenda Daniels Dance Company -

Buglisi-Foreman Dance -

Carolyn Dorfman Company –

City Contemporary Dance Company (Hong Kong) -

Cloud Nine

Compania Nacional De Danza

Dance Brazil -

Dance By Neil Greenberg -

Dance Theater Of Harlem

David Parsons Dance Company -

Dayton Contemporary Dance Company -

Diane Jacobowitz Dance Company -

Donald Byrd/The Group -

Doug Elkins Company

Doug Varone Company -

Doug Varone At The Metropolitan Opera -

Elisa Monte Dance

Erick Hawkins Dance Company -

Esse Aficionado

Fred Darsow Dance Company

H.T. Chen & Dancers

Houlihan And Dancers (Fl)

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago -

Jean Erdman Revivals -

José Limón Company -

Jubilation Dance Company -

Kei Takei/Moving Earth -

Kevin Wynn Collection -

Lar Lubovitch Dance Company

Laura Dean And Dancers -

Li Chiao-Ping Dance -

Lido (Paris) -

Ljada (Berne, Switz.) -

Lucinda Childs Company -

Margaret Jenkins Company -

Mark Morris Company -

Mark Taylor / Dance Alloy (Pa) -

Martha Graham Dance Company

Mathew Nash Dance Theatre

Meg Wolfe/Wild Angels Unlimited -

Merce Cunningham Dance Company -

Mid-Atlantic Dance Company (Nc)

Momix –

Nacho Duato -

Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company -

Neta Pulvermacher Dance Company

Nicholas Andre Dance Theatre

Odc (San Francisco) -

Pascal Rioult Dance Theater -

Paul Taylor Dance Company

Taylor 2

Peter Pucci Plus Dancers

Rebecca Kelly Dance Company

Senta Driver Dance Company

Several Dancers Core (Atlanta, Ga)

Sens / Noemié Lafrance –

Shen Wei Dance Art -

Shapiro And Smith


Stephen Petronio

Take Dance Company -

Tami Stronach Dance -

Tanzmodern (Munich)

Theatre Ulm (Germany) -

Triad Dance Company

Trisha Brown Company

Twyla Tharp And Dancers

Urban Bush Women -

Wendy Perron Dance Company

White Oak Dance Project

Zen Dance Company

Zenon Dance Company

Zvi Gotheimer

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It used to be heavily Graham technique, but thanks to several "generations" of assertive ballet teachers in the department, lately it's been better known for ballet.


I wouldn't say that... the faculty and studios were divided up equally between modern & ballet... however the students tended to drift toward modern through their years of study (for intellectual as well as practical reasons). When I started practically everyone in my freshman class was devoted to ballet. After four years, everyone remaining had changed their loyalty to modern.


Thats a useful information. Thanks Mel! Has Purchase than trained any famous dancer?


Famous ballet dancer, I suspect you mean? They've trained several "famous" modern dancers & choreographers. One of my schoolmates was principal at Houston Ballet for many years... I don' t think that qualifies as "world famous", but it's something: Kathryn Warakomsky


DSL, I don't know their class schedule, but the main teachers are former ABT dancers. Therefore, I would think that the training is basically an "American mix", which is a blend of Russian, French, and Italian.


My info is from 1978-83, but


Rosanna Seravalli was devoted to Madame Darvash and Bettijane Sills was the product of Balanchine...


During those years ballet was taught by


Jacques d'Amboise (Balanchine, NYCB Principal)

Rosanna Seravalli (Italian, Darvash, ABT Solist)

Royes Fernandez (ABT Principal)

Sally Wilson (Tudor, ABT Principal)

Karina Brock (ABT Principal)

Ivan Nagy (various, ABT Principal)

Carol Sumner (Balanchine, NYCB Principal)

Charles Nichol (?)

Ann Parsons (Joffrey/English)

Mette Spaniarde (Cuban - Vaganova) & Myrtha (?) (also Cuban-Vaganova)

Gayle Young (ABT Principal)

Bettijane Sills (NYCB soloist)


We had Melissa Hayden for a guest teacher. I think Karina Brock wasn't there long, but I don't think she was a one-class guest teacher... I'm afraid I no longer remember.


The modern was only partially Graham, but Hirobayashi was a heavy political force and she was from the Graham School, as well as the estimable Carol Freid who taught a very clear clean Graham technique and several major Graham dancers as a result. However, they probably put as many if not more dancers into Cunningham than the Graham company, and that's got to be close to the polar opposite of Graham...


As you can see, it was a mixed bag (and very glad I am that it was).

They went through a number of steller performing career Deans (Bill Bales, Jacques d'Amboise, Caroline Brown) in rapid succession before they settled on an academic (Carol Walker). Since then it seems they aren't trying to pull in the big names as much. I'm not sure why, though sometimes it seemed as if the stars were just retiring from the stage and learning to teach on the Purchase students. They may have changed their goals as well... we weren't allowed to study pedagogy at all, and Dance production would have been considered a duplication of the Design/Tech division of the Theater Arts School.


All very very very old info, but I wanted to set the record straight...

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  • 5 months later...

My daughter will be attending Purchase in the Fall. :) She has received part of her schedule which includes tech classes for both ballet and modern 4 days a week and other dance related classes like music, improv and dance production. I guess she will sign up for her ballet electives (pointe, partering, etc.) during orientation. I was just curious, if there is anyone with recent experience who knows approximately how many hours a day the students typically dance (how many electives do they take). AND if they have dance class and/or rehearsals on weekends.

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  • 2 months later...

After a couple of weeks into dd's freshman year, I thought I would give a little update. It would be much better, I know, if my dd would do it, but she doesn't have as much time on her hands as I do :lol:


Apparently each grade has 2 levels for both ballet and modern. There is about 50 new freshman this year, 15 of which are males. The students all take ballet tech and modern tech M, T, TH and F. Wednesday they choose one or the other. In addition, they take partnering and pointe (if they are interested in ballet... something equivalent if they are modern).


Apparently, when you enroll as a freshman you are a 'dance major'. At the end of the year you may or may not be invited to join the 'ballet major' track. Apparently last year, 12 dancers were invited, all of which accepted. They said that usually some decline, as they tend to really enjoy the modern once exposed to it.


The first week, the students started having auditions. They auditioned for senior projects as well as beginning auditions for Nutcracker... Nutcracker was cast late this past week.


My dd is VERY happy with the dance instruction. She feels that she has made definite improvements. She has not had a lot of exposure to modern, but she says that she can tell that it is making her arms stronger which helps her ballet... Her weekends have been free so far (other than senior project rehearsals... which she loves), but she believes that they will start rehearsing for Nutcracker pretty strong within the next week or so!


DD's only complaint is that they keep you so busy with dance and dance related classes that there is not time for other academic classes. Her schedule is full with over 20 hours of required credit hours... her schedule would have been "overloaded" with any additional classes. She is hoping that in subsequent semesters there will be a little more flexibility with that.


So far dd feels that she made the right decision!

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Deb Lei-thank you so much for your update!

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Thanks so much for the update Deb Lei - glad your daughter is enjoying SUNY.


One of my daughter's male friends has started there this year as well. I will have to ask her how he is settling in. She has a second male friend who would be a sophomore this year.




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