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If anyone on this board attended the jazz showcase this weekend, I would be very interested in any impressions (when you have a chance to get back home and recover!). Thank you.

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We attended with our DD who is a high school senior.

Mackie- sorry we did not get to connect. It turned out to busier then I expected.

 

Our dd auditioned for the school as well as the scholarship audition and took several of the classes. Here are my impressions and hers.

 

Mine- the school did a wonderful job or organizing the event. It was very crowded with lots of dancers of all ages. The majority of dancers came with their studios, including teachers, parents and even babies (of the teachers). The program said 13 and up though I saw several girls who I doubt were 13 even taking into account that kids of all ages come in a variety of sizes. The U of A dance students were easy to identify as they all wore purple T shirts that said "ask me about UA Dance". All the students were friendly and helpful as were the faculty and staff. DH and I paid to be observers though I am not sure that is necessary. The first day was the scholarship audition which was closed to observers. (see DD's comments below). We then had dinner and all attended the 7:15 showing of the UA student performed concert that was directed by the faculty. For the most part this was a fun upbeat performance. It had a more of a Broadway feel to it with the exception of two pieces then a traditional dance feel. (I am an older parent who used to work at an east coast theater in the 70s and 80s and think of dance in terms of Ailey, Joffrey, ABT, NYC Ballet, Momix etc.). The last piece had a more dance feel to it and we all loved it. Don't get me wrong we enjoyed all the pieces except one. The first one being a tap piece, one being based on the Rat Pack, one modern solo by a teacher which was executed well but reminded me of 70s modern dance in central park (not our cup of tea but I'm sure there were those that loved it). The music and style was geared to an older audience then 13-20 year olds but DD really liked the pieces especially the last one. Saturday DH and I observed one class before the audition which was closed. The teacher was the one that did the solo the night before and she is an excellent teacher. The room was very crowded and I found it over whelming but again I was observing not dancing so it did not really matter. Then there was the audition which was closed followed by a Q&A for perspective seniors and parents which we did not attend because DD needed a break and to change clothes so we went to the hotel ate lunch and then she returned for another class which was based on Fosse's All That Jazz which she really enjoyed. Since we had a long trip home and DD had 3 papers to write, she skipped the Sunday classes and did homework and we traveled home. There was a morning class with an option of modern, tap or ballet class. Then the second class was a huge class learning a number from A Chorus Line, followed by an unspecified class, and the results of the scholarship auditions. DD did not participate in the Sunday classes so I do not have any specific information and we were gone for the scholarship announcements. Saturday night we attended most of the showcase which, was made up of performances by groups from all over the country. There was a wide range of talent and style of the pieces. Many were competition pieces, some excellent dancers, some not so, some good choreography, some that one would question what they were thinking, but as another mom aptly said, " dance is subjective".

 

DD's - When she picked up her registration packet she was given a green ribbon and safety pin to wear for the entire weekend which denoted that she was an auditioning perspective student; this was given to those that signed up for the U of A audition for which you had to be a high school senior). I did not notice any observers besides the actual teacher in the one class we observed, there were 100 or so kids in the class so I don't know how she could have processed anything about the students in the class even with the ribbons but she may have. Even though DD had attended a large well known summer intensive for the last two summers she had only been to one competition convention in her life. She has done a few regional competitions but our region is small. She was overwhelmed by the crowds in the classrooms and a little freaked out by the stress of the audition. Each student was given a colored wrist band. The color dictated which class you went to during each time slot. There was only one time, Sunday morning, in which the students could decide what class they wanted to take. This was her first college audition and in retrospect we wished we had just done an audition and not auditioned during the showcase. She did see an RA from her summer program who is a senior at U of A dance and she reassured her by telling her that she had auditioned at the showcase and received a maybe and then re-auditioned at the regular audition and was admitted. DD said in the scholarship audition there were about 200 kids. She said it was crazy and she spent most of her time standing and making waiting for her turn to perform the combination since she was number 100 and something. For the college audition, the kids were split up into two very crowded rooms she said of about 50 each room. The teacher they had she thought was very good but DD felt out of sorts as the piece had a modern feel to it which is her weakest dance form. She said the floor was like a gym so she had to dance without shoes which was hard for her and she slipped a couple of times. They did not do any barre or warm up (they had taken a modern/jazz class before this) and just learned a jazzy combination and did this in groups of 5 across the floor. Then they did turns across the floor and that was the audition. DD is very good at barre and was sorry they did not do any barre or ballet. They do do barre and ballet during the standard audition which is why she may audition again if she does not get a favorable outcome to this audition. She liked the school a lot. The program seemed like what she wanted as did the other department we visited. She liked the large school atmosphere, the Greek life, the school spirit, and the pretty college feeling campus. She is concerned that the city is small and limited in what to do outside of school and that after a year or so that could be limiting.

 

If you have any specific questions, please ask and we will do our best to answer. Good Luck to all those seniors in their college quest.

Edited by JSR1
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DD and I also attended the event over the weekend. I think JSR1 did an excellent job of summing up the showcase, so I will just add a couple more details.

 

JSR1, my DD actually saw you twice! She said that I walked into one of the masterclasses just after you had left. I did have to spend a bit more time in the hotel than usually this trip due to some pressing deadlines I had a work. Hopefully we will meet at some point.

 

DD took the ballet class on Sunday morning. She said there were about 50 or so students in the class. Like JSR1 mentioned, the ability level of the participants varied widely. I agree that many of the students had to be younger than 13. It was very difficult for the instructor to teach the class due to the wide range of ability, so unfortunately DD did not get a good feel for what a ballet class at UA would actually be like.

 

We had to catch an early afternoon flight, so we were not able to stay for the scholarship awards; however, a friend of DD's from another summer intensive texted her to tell DD that she had been awarded a full scholarship for additional training. We do not know any more details, but they should send the information to her soon. To me, the showcase felt very much like the big conventions that are very popular with competition studios (think NYCDA, Jump, Pulse, Tremaine, etc.), but the classes were not divided by age or ability, so you saw everything from beginners to advanced students learning the same combinations. The classes I stepped in to observe probably had between 75 to 100 students in them.

 

In talking with DD about the experience, she feels that she would need to visit again in order to observe UA dance classes. She didn't feel that the showcase really gave her a good feel for what instruction would be like if you were a student there. She did enjoy the general campus tour we took Friday morning, and all of the students we met over the weekend were very helpful and seemed to absolutely love UA.

 

We both attended the Q&A session. Four professors were there to talk about the program and answer questions. They mentioned that they have about 50 men in their program of about 125 undergraduate students, which would be great for partnering! They also said that dance classes tend to have around 40 or slightly more students in them. That sounded like a lot to me, but they said they were very good a managing classes that size. I believe most of the other information they discussed was mentioned in an earlier post.

 

Please let me know if you have any other questions. I am happy to try to answer them!

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Thank you both very much for sharing your impressions of the jazz showcase. I really appreciate it. Mackie, congrats to your DD on her scholarship, and JSR1, I am glad to hear that your DD enjoyed the experience overall. Good luck to all seniors auditioning.

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JSR1 - My DD is a sophmore dance major at UA. She has had very little competition experience, only YAGP. When I talked to her yesterday, I asked her about the showcase. She mentioned that she was not a fan of the huge classes at the showcase -- it's not something she's used to either. She audtioned in the fall and I think there were close to 100 students at her audtion. But, it sounds like it's structured differently than the audition at the showcase.

 

As for the city, it is small. But, my DD is so busy with work, school for two majors, and rehearsals that she hasn't even noticed :).

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Okay, so the scholarship audition was for summer intensive? so Mackie, your daughter received a scholarship for the summer program? If you audition at the regular audition time (not during the showcase) do you have the opportunity to audition for a college scholarship then as well? or do they just offer merit based scholarships based on your regular audition?

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Lady Elle, our DD auditioned at the 9/21 regular audition and we were told that dance-based scholarships for the BFA program in dance performance would be awarded on the basis of the required DVD. There are detailed instructions on the website for what the DVD needs to include and it is combinations in ballet, jazz, and modern, see http://dance.arizona.edu/students/future_students/admissions/undergraduate/ The process may well work differently for the jazz showcase but this is what were told at the recent regular audition. Good luck to all.

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Generally, what are the career goals of the dancers in this program now and those hoping to go to this program next year?

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As the mother of a high school senior who just auditioned, my strong sense from the lengthy Q and A with the entire dance faculty on 9/21 is that most students in this program seek careers as professional dancers, some in ballet companies, some in more contemporary companies, and some on Broadway. They seem to have an excellent track record in placing dancers in a variety of types of jobs, including ballet companies. This program appeals to our 17 yo DD because she perceives the ballet component to be of extremely high quality (and she thinks they have an arrangement with the Balanchine trust - her training so far has been Balanchine), but the program is a true triple track program also offering strong training in jazz and modern. When she observed a class the day before the audition she recognized strong dancers she knew from her level at previous high-powered ballet intensives (PNB, Miami) who said the program has excellent ballet training. This program also appeals to our DD because it is in a large university setting, some double majoring is possible, and there is an honors college that seems to offer great options for those who love academics and dance. Just writing all of this raises my anxiety, because this program is highly selective. The faculty said they see about 450 dancers each year to choose a class of 35 (some of whom are men). I hope this helps others considering this program, but please also read the earlier posts in this thread because there is lots of good information from those with closer knowledge than I have at this point.

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I will definitely go back and start at the beginning of the thread. Thanks for all the detailed information. I am glad to get a sense of the triple track program. As a parent of a dancer who is considering college but who has never taken a jazz class in her life, I'm curious about the serious ballet focused college programs require a dancer who is also trained in jazz. Honestly, I had assumed that it was a less serious ballet program if they had a jazz showcase. That seems not to be the case. Although dd now takes contemporary weekly during the year, she would not be considered competitive in an contemporary audition and would flail about in jazz. I didn't realize that schools that excel at ballet also have entrance requirements for strong jazz dancers. There also seem to be so few schools that have good (as in good enough to help some make it into ballet companies) ballet programs and allow a double major. I think this one might get added to the list of dd's choices.

 

Good luck to all the dancers auditioning this year and congrats to Mackie's dd for the award.

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Lady Elle--DD is just a junior in high school. Unfortunately, we had to leave the showcase early Sunday afternoon in order to catch our flight home. DD had AP courses Monday morning that she didn't feel she could miss after already missing on Friday to travel to Tucson. From what I could gather from their website they offer a number of different types of awards at the showcase. For seniors auditioning for the UA program, they had some in-state and out-of-state partial tuition waivers! Some younger students like my DD, were given other types of awards. Since I wasn't there, I'm not even sure what my DD received. We only know that it was a full scholarship for summer training somewhere; all of the rest of the details at this point are unknown. They did have all of the addresses of the students who took the scholarship audition, so we should receive something in the mail.

 

As I mentioned earlier, my DD felt very comfortable on the UA campus and enjoyed all of the professors and students that she met; however, she feels that we would have to make another trip($$$) to observe dance classes (particularly ballet classes) while in session . She also likes the fact that it is possible to pursue a double major.

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I will definitely go back and start at the beginning of the thread.

 

Greetings from Your Friendly Thread-starter. :)

 

Lemlemish, what makes UofA fairly unique is that it sits at a Venn Diagram overlap of a "triple-emphasis program" and "schools that excel at ballet." Back when I was the sole BT4D member who was looking into UofA, no one else knew that. The schools that we referred to as the "Fab Six" (for ballet) do not have any entrace requirement for jazz and, for the most part, do not have much of a jazz component to their program. The draw of UofA is that they graduate employable dancers, be it ballet, modern or jazz. One of my daughter's classmates appeared in the dance numbers of the recent Emmy's show. When the UofA faculty speak about their graduates and say some go on to "Broadway," they really should be saying all forms of commercial dance work within what you'd find on Broadway.

 

As for your daughter, Lemlemish, she would not be considered competitive in a UofA audition at this point. I really enjoyed MaryKTX's recent quote from the faculty that they're looking for "hungry movers," which I think is an apt description of my daughter and her cohorts. Back in my daughter's time, she claimed that the department was looking for "jazzerinas" - dancers who were very good at ballet and jazz- but I think "hungry movers" says it better. When I attended the parent presentation, the faculty informed us about how the department is run a lot like a company. They know the kinds of shows they put on and what pleases their donors (that's my personal take; not their quote), so their acceptances are done with an eye for future castings. UofA has a packed performance schedule, which is another highlight of the program.

 

Basically if your DD is considering the college route, she'll need to do well in both ballet and modern for most college auditions.

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DDs participated in the Showcase two years ago, when they were too young to audition. Jory Hancock, the Dean of Fine Arts, pulled them aside after the optional Sunday ballet class, asked them about their backgrounds and told them he hoped they would come to the program. In that context, he said the strength of their ballet was such that they would need to just be strong enough in modern *or* jazz to "pass" in the audition. Similarly, there are three girls from DD's studio who are now there whose training was overwhelmingly in ballet - two majors on scholarship and one minor -- at the time they auditioned, all had had some modern, but were not strong modern dancers, and had taken just bit of jazz or even no jazz.

 

Soooooo -- even in this "balanced" program, where they say the candidate must be strong in 2 of the 3 disciplines -- apparently it still all just depends on whether they like what they see, what they need, and what they think they can do with it.

 

I like the "hungry movers" comment! I would put all three of the three women from DD's studio in that category.

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Arizona Native, that is exactly what happened to my DD (a junior) this year at the showcase! He approached her after class and told her that he loved her port de bras and asked about her training. She was also approached by two other masterclass teachers in other classes she attended that weekend.

 

Her training is a bit different than many I've seen on this board. She attends a pre-pro program six days per week, with about 17 to 20 hours of training. In addition, she has stayed with her competition studio in our hometown on a limited basis. She does some of their competition numbers, where the studio director brings in Juilliard graduates as well as others to choreograph their numbers. So, although she does not have much formal modern training, she has been exposed to that type of movement quality. She also attended LINES this summer in order to grow in that area. Some other SI's include SFB and ABT NYC--she is a bunhead at heart. We have always felt that we wanted to try to keep her as versatile as possible in order to hopefully improve her chances of finding a job. It has been quite a juggling act to manage attending both studios (the pre-pro is 1 1/2 hours away) and still keep up with AP courses at school. She attends public school a half day and then takes the other half of her courses online in order to be able to commute to her pre-pro. It's a crazy schedule, and who know if this training combination will actually pay off in the end, but it seems to be the best path for her.

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Arizona is on the absolute top of DD college list because she attended LINES SI this year and she said the "fiercest" and best dancers at the SI were from Arizona. The Arizona students raved about the program and the true triple track.DD has pre-pro classical ballet training but is very adept at jazz and modern and loves contemporary ballet. She is making a DVD this week to send, because of work commitments we couldn't make the audition. I hope she is not at a disadvantage.

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