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My DK has been accepted to the Dance Division at the University of Arizona. I did a search on all BT forums and nothing came up for this program, so I am hereby soliciting any impressions that anyone has heard.


Since my dk is interested in all styles of dance, she likes the fact that UA's program doesn't break out the styles into separate majors (ballet, modern and jazz) but maintains study in all three forms throughout the program. The faculty and students seem friendly, the facilities are beautiful and impressive. I don't know much about the Southwest, but the Tucson area seems as isolated, dance-wise, as our Midwest home that my child is trying so hard to leave: the only cross-fertilization one can get is what the University ships in. So how would this affect transitioning into a job after graduation?


Any comments at all would be most appreciated.

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I suppose I'll have to ask my questions about the University of Arizona's dance program on the Cross Talk forum?

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Pierrette, this seems like a good place to ask to me. It is the forum geared towards your daughter's age group and "higher education".


Things seem a little slow lately, so it may just take a while to get some helpful responses. :P

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Pierrette, I am a transplanted midwesterner who has lived in Tucson since 1979. My 15 year old daughter studies ballet here at Ballet Arts and I am a relatively new member of the Dance Advisory Board at UA, so I can give you some info. Tucson is not as isolated as you may think. There is an active dance community here. I am more familiar with Ballet Arts, as my daughter has studied there for 6 years. A number of the UA students also dance with the professional division of Ballet Arts, which puts on several performances throughout the year. They also bring in guest artists; Amanda McKerrow and John Gardner are frequent visitors. The two schools cooperate quite a bit and put on a summer program during the month of June that brings in a number of master teachers. If you've visited Tucson, you've seen the new facility which is quite beautiful. I'm happy to answer (or try to answer) any specific questions you have. Feel free to PM me.

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  • 1 month later...

BalletNutter, Ballet Arizona is in Phoenix and UofA is in Tucson, so if there are any ties, I'd imagine that they are two degrees of separation. I am aware of ties to Ballet Arts in Tucson, whose AD had danced with Ballet Arizona. As for money being pumped into the program, UofA's new Stevie Eller Dance Theatre building is truly stunning. Unfortunately, we have not had a chance to see a performance there.


My daughter wasn't interested in the six ballet-focused programs. Her goal is to be fully "tri-lingual" in ballet, modern and jazz, and since jazz is her weakest area, she feels it's important to be in a program that offers advanced jazz. The other programs that we know about were the three that gave her a possible out from her senior year of high school, so other factors came into play for that decision.


NutsaboutBallet, Tisch is NYU.

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My daughter had two friends who were with her in the highest pre-pro

level of a professional school in a large city.


They were both excellent ballet technicians who happened to love jazz.


They auditioned multiple places and each, independently, ended up choosing U of A.



--top notch ballet training and recognition of those who came in with it.

--jazz program considered an equal partner (most schools didn't have this)

--performing opportunities excellent, even for freshmen

--Director of pre-pro school (a big Indiana fan) says that U of A is fast becoming the "Indiana of the West".

--UofA has significant investment in the program (new facilities mentioned above)


They are both sophomores now and both still ecstatic with the program and the school in general.


Wish my daughter would have considered it but she didn't want to go to AZ!

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Wow ... this is good information ... thank you Bluebird Mom. Looks like a program to investigate. Does anyone else out there have U of A intelligence?

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A good friend of mine danced for Susan Quinn Williams (who is Univ. of Arizona jazz faculty), quite a few years ago when she was AD of her own jazz company, or she may have been joint AD with someone, and she has nothing but positive things to say about her. She sounds like an excellent teacher and if I didn't live so far away from Arizona I would love to study with her!

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Thank you so much Tiffany and BluebirdMom! :shrug: This helps a great deal.

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  • 6 months later...

My dancing daughter just auditioned at U of A last week. She is classically trained and loves ballet, though her strength is jazz. She has just begun to venture into modern training, and is loving it. She attended guest artist classes with Susan Quinn and Sam Watson this summer and was thrilled with their classes, especially Susan's. Both of them spent time talking with her and encouraged her audition. They were very positive. U of A is DD's first choice.


She absolutely loved the school...and mom did too! The University as a whole is quite impressive, huge student union, technology facilities, accessibility of excellent academics. The dance facilities are outstanding. What is more impressive is the atmosphere. We hung out enough to observe informal interactions as well as observing a modern class. This school is very nurturing and the students are having the times of their lives. Susan recognized my daughter right away, remembered her. DD took a modern class, jazz class and ballet class pretty much back to back and came away feeling bouyant. :)

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DD took a modern class, jazz class and ballet class pretty much back to back and came away feeling bouyant.

That sounds like my daughter's MWF schedule at UA; maybe you got to see her. :(


Anyway, I'll use this opportunity to publicly report that your observation about the "nurturing" environment is spot on. This is exactly what my daughter picked up on when we first visited for a private "pre-audition" in the spring of 2004 and it has proven to be true. The entire culture of the dance department, from the faculty, through the staff, down through the students, is very supportive. Examples: my DD's Pilates teacher who offers to work with her outside of class; the costuming lady who offers students to stop by and learn sewing; the amazing undergrad advisor who navigated the red tape involved in my daughter's transfer status; students who offer up praise of something my daughter can do even though she's no star of the department; and stars of the department who are very sweet and willing to share what they know.


I figure I should wait until at least a full semester goes by before attempting to respond to all the template questions, but people are welcome to PM me.

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  • 1 month later...
Guest Linda8719

Can anyone give me an idea of how competitive this program is?


A friend of a friend (you know how it is) said their were more than 500 people vying for 25 slots. This sounded pretty incredible to me.


Pierret -- did you get that impression when your DK auditioned?

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I thought the acceptance rate was about 10% (at least for 2005), but that still is not the sole indicator of how competitive it is to get into a program. My daughter's experience was that the applicants that she auditioned with were of a higher caliber, overall, compared to the other programs she auditioned for. She also spoke with more applicants from previous years who didn't get in to UofA compared to other programs. We definitely came away with a sense that it is harder to get into UofA than many other programs.


Another applicant for 2006 heard that they're only accepting 20 majors for next year's incoming class. And it's possible that applications have gone up from 250-ish, as word of UofA's program keeps spreading. However, it is my understanding that the Dance Division only scheduled two "national" audition dates this year (that are now over), so while they are happy to schedule "individual" auditions (via taking classes), it's hard to see how they could evaluate 500 applicants with fewer group audition dates.


In other words, I'm not up on the numbers. I don't see why the department wouldn't be willing to divulge this information if you asked them, as it is a common question during the audition day Q&A session.

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  • 1 month later...

Well, the audition results are coming in from Arizona. My DD has auditioned along with several friends. Interesting results, considering what I had heard and expected. The only one of her friends who has been accepted is a very strong ballet dancer and is self-admittedly weak in both jazz and modern. This girl is technically pristine in ballet. The other girls were all told, when they asked, that they were not accepted because their ballet was not strong enough, though all have trained throughout school in a pre-professional ballet program. Two are jazz dancers, one a modern dancer. Of the three, two are already dancing in small regional companies in jazz or modern. I find this interesting since AZ has always purported to take those who audition well in at least two disciplines.

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