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Ballet Talk for Dancers

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  • kiwiwdancer

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My DD is a freshman at U of A. She just started her 2nd semester. She is taking nine classes. Five dance classes for a total of 17hours and 4 academic classes. She was cast in the ballet production which is in February, rehearsals were Monday, Wednesday, Friday the first semester but have added more now. She was also cast in a graduate piece that rehearses on Sunday for lack of a better time. It really has taken her this long to settle into college life and the program.

 

What she likes about the program are the teachers particularly Melissa Lowe her ballet teacher (This was a great relief since her focus is ballet.) and she loves being around the extremely talented group of dancers.

 

What she didn't like- Auditions the first week of school. This definitely puts the Freshmen at a disadvantage. She was cast as an understudy to the ballet piece Carmina Burana and later was moved to a performing cast. Some Freshmen weren't cast in the initial auditions but they had a Freshman piece which all Freshmen were allowed to be in. DD decided not to because she was already cast in two pieces. Hind sight she might have since she would have gotten to know the Freshmen class more quickly and would have performed the first semester. The 2nd thing that is an issue is the size of the Freshman class. Even the teachers are commenting that is unusually large this year at about 60 when they normally have around 40. This makes some of her dance classes rather large.

 

Over all she is very pleased with the program. My heart goes out to college bound seniors. I remember the stress of applications and auditions. There is a light at the end of the tunnel though the tunnel can seem very very long.... I'm happy to answer questions about the U of A program.

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Hi Page, Thank you for your very informative post. I have a high school Junior and we are in the throes of figuring this all out. I am wondering when your daughter auditioned for the dance program in relation to when she applied to U of A. I assume that she knew she would be in the dance program prior to accepting her admission to the school? How long did it take after the audition to receive results? Did she also apply to the other colleges that are known for their ballet, i.e. Utah, Indiana, etc.? Thank you for your help! :dry:

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Hi Dancer830,

Funny thing happened on the way to the Arizona dance audition my daughter was wait listed. She auditioned early in the fall. Arizona was not really on her top list. She knew they had a great program but it was not focused mainly on ballet. Her sister goes to U of A and the audition was really for her sister and as a warm up for other auditions. She auditioned and was accepted to U of Utah, Suny Purchase, SMU, Mercyhurst, North Carolina School of the Arts and Point Park. She was not accepted to Julliard or Indiana. She had many great schools to choose from with varying amounts of scholarship money offered and we were all pretty sure that Utah was going to be the school of choice. Meanwhile through the audition craze, Arizona called many times requesting a DVD. DD was crazy busy senior year and Arizona wasn't her first choice so we just never go around to it, until late March when they said they had to have something within 4 days to consider her for the program and DD decided she would like Arizona as an option, so we threw something together, sent it off express overnight mail and the next day they called and said yes they wanted her in the program. DD is not known for her quick decision process. She visited the Arizona, Utah and Suny Purchase campuses. Arizona called several times to check in, offered scholarship money and was very attentive to someone they had initially wait listed. I wrote a previous entry on why she eventually chose U of A.

In regards to the application process. Apply ASAP in the fall. I'm sure you know by now that for the major dance programs you must apply to the school and then also a separate application to the dance department. Each school is different on the admission process and there are also variations on each dancer that auditions. Organization is key and something that we were hit and miss on, not sending the DVD as an example, she probably would have gotten more scholarship money if we hadn't waited so long. I kept telling my DD, "It's okay, everything will be all right" and eventually it was, but there were certainly some very difficult months. Good luck and remember everything will be all right!

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  • 7 months later...

DD is looking at UA as a top choice for college fall of 2012. Costs of flying out for audition and tour are outrageously high for our family as we are from the East Coast. This will be our first cross country college audition trek and after reading this thread, I am suddenly reconsidering the trip given the acceptance rate for the dance program. DD cannot make the first audition as she is auditioning for another program on Oct 1st...their website lists the Arizona Jazz Dance Showcase as an option in October, but does anyone know if this is a viable option for auditioning to the school versus going to one of the two main auditions?

 

The department was very nice when we called today, and we found out that another option is to do a scheduled private audition in December. This would mean auditioning during one or two of the scheduled classes at the school, but that can be both a good or a bad option..depending how you look at it.

 

Any insight as to the best way of navigating auditioning for this program is welcome. I wish we knew to do a pre-audition when DD was a junior, as was suggested, earlier....

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Marseas Mom -- I don't have any answers, but suggest a couple things to considered -- you might ask UofA how many people they expect to be in the various auditions. My DDs attended the Jazz Showcase (but not the audition) last year. It was quite a crowd, and I expect the audition probably had many students that are there for the weekend and figure, why not go for it? That might be a negative, but, depending on your DD maybe not -- regardless, good to know. A bonus of being there during the ADJS is seeing the Friday night UofA performance. Last year, the jazz was quite exciting -- I was interested to see what is considered "jazz" these days.

 

Don't be disheartened by the acceptance rate. We know three girls who were accepted, from 3 different studios. Two are going. They had in common that they are well trained and athletic.

 

And, you saw page's advice to audition "ASAP in the fall"? Perhaps she'll have additional insight.

 

Good luck to you and your daughter!

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Arizona Native...thanks so much for your reply! UA told DD that going to the Jazz showcase would give DD a sense of the faculty at UA and they would have an opportunity to see her in classes. DD is used to doing larger dance conventions, so she would be fine in that environment but...it would be a significant expense. Agreed that the audition would likely be packed. Per your suggestion, I will have DD ask about the number auditioning at the showcase. Our concern was whether auditioning in that venue would be taken seriously.

 

DD is auditioning at another program in October because research on the BT4D advised to audition at the other program early as scholarship money is given away by November. Info on BT4D has always been spot on, but now we find ourselves in a dilemma of which program to audition for on October 1st....lots to navigate..

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Marseas Mom. Two girls from dd's dance studio auditioned at the Jazz Showcase and were accepted with full scholarship. UA definitely seems to take auditioning at that venue seriously.

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  • 1 month later...

My DD just received her acceptance from the 10/1 audition! We really considered this UA a long shot, but now she's going to be giving this one serious consideration.

 

Does anyone know approx. how many performances freshmen participate in over the course of the year?

 

Do the students have any opportunity to perform outside of Tucson (any tours abroad?)

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My DD is a senior at U of A. It is very difficult to predict how many performance opportunities a freshman would get---some are not cast at all, others are cast multiple times. It all depends on the dancer's particular strength in each style and where they need students. As a sophmore some of my DD's classmates had yet to be cast in any performance. However, when approached by students not casted, the instructors had been very willing to allow them to rehearse as understudies which sometimes then led to performance opportunities.

I can't comment on performing outside of Tucson---I have read in the dance department newsletters about different conferences students have performed at, but I think it is a pretty limited number of students.

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Welcome to Ballet Talk for Dancers, 34ballet, and congratulations to your daughter!

 

Following up on the previous post, the good news is that freshmen are allowed to audition for all shows, and there are a good number of them. You can find the season brochure on the UA Dance website. Another show is done for the Arizona Jazz Dance Showcase. Plus students are able to audition for student pieces.

 

I'd be very curious to hear about whatever other dance program you've heard about that gets to go on tours abroad as a standard part of their program. The cases I've heard of (anywhere, not particularly UA) involve faculty members whose choreography gets accepted to a festival somewhere and then the department scrambles to find a way to send the handful of students who were already cast in the piece. I think this happened once during my daughter's time at UA, but it wasn't during a semester.

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  • 2 months later...

Does anyone know which UofA dorms the dancers prefer (if any)? DD's acceptance mentioned Manzanita, but I'm just wondering if anyone has any experience with any of the other dorms. There are sooo many options.

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There is a dorm that the department likes all freshman dance majors stay in....so if the acceptance stated to make your first choice Manzanita I would go for that.

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