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Ballet Talk for Dancers

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My daughter auditioned and was ultimately accepted three years ago. Like your daughter she had a strong ballet base (also strong in jazz) but only a few modern classes. She did a ballet solo at the first audition. She was called back for another audition the following weekend because they wanted to see her do a modern solo. Well, that was a real issue.....she (and I) really didn't feel that SUNY was a good match for her but we both didn't want to be left with the "what ifs"...so, luckily the modern teacher at her school did three or four private lessons and threw together her solo. So, my advice to you is if your daughter has any interest in this program, BE PREPARED!!! It was an extra stress we didn't need.

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My DD will be starting SUNY next week. Her emphasis is ballet. She takes classes in modern and jazz but if classically trained. She did a variation from Sleeping Beauty on pointe for her audition solo. When we went to visit we were impressed with the great mix of dance styles at SUNY. After freshman year they have a ballet or modern emphasis. We saw the Spring Performance and a ballet class which sealed our decision right before the May 1st deadline. My DD loved the mix of styles but felt the program could countinue to stregnthen her ballet technique. Since most companies now do contemporary ballet programs she gelt SUNY will help her prepare to become more company ready.

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Thanks for the "heads up" lhc - I take it your daughter did not decide to attend SUNY-P ?


and thanks for the "inside scoop" 2kids2 !


We are going to try and visit SUNY in December, maybe we'll meet your daughter, 2kids2. Hope she has a wonderful freshman year!

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I take it your daughter did not decide to attend SUNY-P ?


No, she didn't.....it was not a good match for her. But she did find the perfect place---which is usually what ultimately happens after this challenging journey. And sometimes seeing what you definitely don't like makes it easier to decide what you do want. But, that's whole different topic....Good luck!

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  • 6 months later...

DD had her audition last weekend and got her acceptance just a few days later! We are both really pleased.. me because I think the rigorous program will suit her and give her a very complete dance education, AND of all the programs she is choosing between is the only one we can conceivably drive to so we can have her home more often! DD feels Purchase has a lot to recommend it and will lead her where she wants to be. The head of the department describes it as a program where you begin building your reputation and career as soon as you arrive.. Definitely no coddling! DD feels good about that though and wants to meet the challenge!


We got an email with her acceptance which said an official letter and welcome package would be mailed out soon. Does anyone here know when you find out if you will receive any merit scholarship money? That would, of course, be a very nice plus!

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Congratulations! Because of rehearsals, it's hard for them to get much time off to come home, but it is good when they are close enough to go visit! All of our's have stayed within five hours drive, and that does make it so much better for us as parents, I think.

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DD auditioned 1/30 in Los Angeles and found out she was accepted through her myPurchase online account. She received the letter and welcome packet a few weeks later. She is extremely excited because this is her first choice. I have mixed feelings, I'm very happy and proud of her, but also concerned because she will be so far away! Any information from current students or recent graduates would be much appreciated. In particular about student life (dorms, food, downtime activities). Distance and finances make a campus visit before the decision deadline date a hardship. Thank you!

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Let's see what can I tell you about SUNY.....How about some pros and cons



Pros: great selection of highly qualified teachers in a very wide variety of generes. All experts in their field. Classes are set by skill level not year in school for the most part. Students can take additional dance classes in their area of interest. For example, DD signed up for an additional technique and pointe class per week and ballet partnering. There are a lot of dance electives available and I understand they are even expanding it more next year. There are additional classes in strength training and a very nice gym with pilates equipment as well as standard workout machines.

Cons: DD has not felt "mentored" by the staff and misses the more personal connection she felt with her home studio teachers. However, she was with them for a long time and is new at SUNY.



Pros: State of the art dance building and performance space. Food is really pretty good for college living. They have won awards for their vegeterian cuisine. It's a small campus, they have four major eating places. A typical cafeteria but more fresh food options and cook to order daily, a vegeterian resteraunt, a snack bar with burgers, smoothies,etc, and a starbucks.

Cons: The dorms (especially the freshman ones) are old and not kept as well as they could be. DD's room was not even painted before she moved in. The campus is in the middle of a major renovation. The meal plans are confusing at first but the kids pick it up pretty quick.



Pros: NYC!!!!! Where could be better for seeing the arts and studying the arts. DD has been to see NYC ballet twice so far this year. She has also seen Broadway shows at student rates and various other concerts and dance programs. Also, as my DD wanted to continue to audition for companies and SI's she can do that in NYC but not in most of the other cities where some of the other schools are located. Also the dancers are VERY close and very much like a family.

Cons: Purchase is a very small community. There is not a lot of social actities other then parties. My DD found it hard, at first, to find other abstainers(no drugs or alcohol) to hang out with. This has gotten much better and those who don't partake are still included in the "activities". Mostly the dancers hang out with dancers but DD has made friends in other majors as well. Also, there is no "off campus" near by. No resteraunts or activies (movies, bowling,shopping) within walking distance. But there is a free shuttle hourly to go into White Plaines which has all of that. Then they take the train from White Plaines into NYC.


Performace opportunities

Pro: Fabulous shows with great choreography, in a fabulous facility, with fabulous costumes and scenery, Very professional. Many opportuniies to perform, Nutcracker, Spring Show, BFA senior and junior projects and MFA projects. Also, Broadway Follies....very fun student run production.

Cons: There is no guarantee your DD will be cast in any performances at all. Freshman often do not perform in Nutcracker or Spring Show. My DD was cast in two corps roles and one corps understudy role for Nutcracker. She felt she was very fortunate. Most freshman got one or no roles for Nutcracker. I think there are very limited freshman cast in the spring show. Some students are cast in no or one BFA/MFA show. Others have been cast in multiple shows for the spring and our finding the rehearsal schedule challenging.


Hope this helps a bit. All the best. Please feel free to ask me any other questions.


By the way we live far too. Not as far as LA but a plane ride away. There are many many students from across the country.

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2kids2, thank you so much for sharing this inside look at Purchase! I gave this to my dd and it confirmed both our impressions of the school and the dance department, which we gained from a campus visit last year and her audition on Feb. 19th. As I mentioned in my last post, we are both so excited that she has been accepted, and so far its looking like this is dd’s choice (and mine!) and we are going to do our best to send her! 2kids, any idea when you find out about any merit scholarship money? Do they give out much of that, do you know?

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Thank you for your informative post about SUNY Purchase and its facilities. Do you know how much of an affiliation the SUNY Purchase program has with the American Academy of Ballet which holds a Summer Intensive at Purchase? There has been very little posts on the SI section for the AAB program.

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dancincorgi, My DD is still awaiting answer on merit award as well. The decisions are made by the coservatory board. I'm not sure when they meet. Soon is my guess as they asked for essays from current studenets who want to be concidered.


dance_dad, All I know is AAB is housed at SUNY and share a lot of the same staff. Call the conservatory, they are very helpful

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My DD attended AAB's summer program at SUNY Purchase two years ago. Faculty from SUNY Purchase did not teach any classes. Looking at this year's faculty for AAB there is one professor, BettiJane Sills, who will be at AAB.

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2kids2, thank you very much for your very frank and informative reply! Me, my husband and DD were gathered around the computer reading it together. The information will definitely help with making a decision (although DD has pretty much already decided!).

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