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Ballet Talk for Dancers

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Mom2, at the audition we were told that notification would arrive by April 1st. I do know that acceptances are out and that dancers on the wait list have also been notified of their status. If your daughter's friend was not accepted this year, then I would encourage her to try again next year if she is still interested. I heard that several dancers have been accepted after a second attempt. Having been through the audition experience, she would have a better idea of how to prepare for next year's audition. I'd like to add that making it to the interview portion of the audition is in itself a great accomplishment!

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  • 3 months later...

Does anyone with experience know if it has helped a dancer be accepted to the College program if they attended Julliard during the summer? For those of you with dancers enrolling this fall, did any of them, or any or their friends who were accepted attend the summer intensive?


I guess it would have to have been done the summer of their Soph. or Jr year in HS to make it applicable to audition season for colleges.

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In my opinion, familiarity can definitely be helpful. One girl I know of has attended previous summers prior to her acceptance to the school. But, another girl I know of who also attended at least 2 summers prior to her audition, was waitlisted. So, I think it just depends on the pool of dancers at the auditions. I would encourage anyone, who has an interest in gaining admission to the school to try to attend the summer, although my daughter did not.

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  • 5 months later...

Can anyone tell me what the audition is like? I've read through the thread, but don't have a feel for it. DD auditioned for another big name dance program last weekend, and the audition had an abbreviated ballet class at perhaps a low intermediate (10 year old?) level, and then the bulk of the audition was very challenging modern. There was no pointe, no adagio, no center work. All the bunheads were cut. She wants to be prepared if Juilliard is going to be similar!

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dance1soccer1, I'm sorry to hear about your daughter's audition experience. :( Have you posted about it on the appropriate thread for that program? I'm sure others would benefit from this knowledge, just as you are hoping to get more information about the Juilliard audition to assist your dancer. Please take a moment to share your experiences on the other program thread. :thumbsup:


We do have at least one BT member who has a dancer at Juilliard and there are others who have taken the audition. So, I am sure that you will get some good information from them. However, I do know that strong ballet students were accepted into the freshman class last year, as there were two from my daughter's residency who were also in her class level at the school. So, I have seen both of them dance on several occasions. While I don't know your definition of 'bunhead' I can assure you that these two girls are very strong, classically-trained ballet dancers!

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We do have at least one BT member who has a dancer at Juilliard and there are others who have taken the audition.

Yes, I can vouch that said BT member's daughter is an amazing ballet dancer with a very bright future ahead of her, just in case she is too modest to say so herself.


I believe you already read my descriptions of my daughter's experience with the Juilliard audition. I think it's safe to say that their audition is unlike any other. The chances are quite high for your child to not make it past the first cut and at that stage, there will appear to be little rhyme or reason for the cuts because some are based on technique while others are based on indefinable signs of potential talent. There is not one standard applied to the first cut, but the final result is an exceptionally talented and diverse student body.


I think my daughter might say that the ballet (no pointe) and modern audition class that comprises the first stage was at the advanced intermediate level, with the ballet portion being harder than the modern portion. I know she said that it was her easiest audition class. But that's all that Juilliard needs to screen for the "it" factor in the first large group of applicants. Essentially, you CAN'T be prepared for such a screening; you either have "it" (according to Juilliard's standards) or you don't. I really, really wish there was a way to help your DK to mentally prepare for such an audition, but I'm not sure there is. Actually, come to think of it, I think it would have been better if my DD had had a chance to visit and admire another college program before doing the Juilliard audition. Having that one come first in line was definitely not a good idea. It is far better to view Juilliard as just one of several viable options and not the be-all and end-all in the dance universe.

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It's true. The Juilliard audition is like no other and that is precisely why I felt it was important for my dd to do the audition for the experience. We were told by some that actual acceptance to the school would be a long shot and indeed it is. To the surprise of many, she was accepted. I'll tell you what I know about the experience. When my daughter checked in, she was given an audition number which was pre-determined by alphabetical order. So, it is not necessary to hang back and wait for others to check in ahead of you for the lower audition numbers. All who are scheduled are called into the studio for the first segment of the audition which is ballet. There was no pointework and the class was kept relatively simple. Then there is a short modern class which was about 20 to 30 minutes long. The modern class is very basic. The dancers are then excused. The Juilliard panel of auditioners have a discussion and then the first cut is made. As I recall a little more than one half of the applicants were cut from the first segment. The remaining dancers are called in one by one to perform their first variation. This is all videotaped. Some dancers were requested to perform a second variation. After all of the dancers have performed their variations, the panel has another discussion and then there is another cut. The remaining dancers go back into the studio and learn a piece of choreography. According to my daughter it is quite simple. After this portion there is another discussion and the final cut is made. The dancers who remain are interviewed individually. These dancers are informed that they are under serious consideration for acceptance to the school and that they will hear from the school in April after all of the auditions around the country are complete. If you do not make it to the interview then you are not under consideration. There were only 6 dancers who were interviewed at my daughter's audition. 4 out of the 6 were accepted and all are at the school this year. We were told that they take a small number of dancers on the wait list but that virtually everyone who is accepted attends. This seems to be true as only one person in my daughter's class was from the wait list.


Since auditioning for Juilliard I have come across several articles and interviews by Lawrence Rhodes the director of the dance division. There are reasons why the technique classes are kept simple. The school is not looking for a finished product. They select dancers they believe will become successful artists after 4 years of their training. What seems to be a common thread amongst the talent that I have observed at the school in the classroom and from the audience is that the dancers are all natural "performers". Thus there are many dancers at the school who are NFAA Presidential and Merit Scholars. So, if you want to prepare for the Juilliard audition, my suggestion is that you spend a lot of time on your prepared variations. Of course, you need to make the first cut in order to have the opportunity to perform your variation(s)! I have read that musicality and movement quality are two important qualities in a dancer that Juilliard looks for. They also "look for the gifts" or something that is innate that cannot be taught. It seems quite different from what a school such as SAB would look for in a student. I find it a little comical that the Juilliard students and the SAB students live in the same building!


I hope this information helps. It is a wonderful school and my daughter couldn't be happier. She is a bun head and she is not the only one with a strong ballet background. Many have come from very well regarded ballet programs such as Walnut Hill, Nutmeg Conservatory, Harid, NCSA, ABT JKO School, Oregon Ballet Theatre Trainee program and other ballet based institutions. So, if there is a rumor going around that all of the bunheads are immediately cut from the audition, it is simply not true. And the other rumor about the student body being dispproportionately racially diverse is also false. The student body is very diverse geographically with students from across the United States and abroad! I have not actually read anywhere that the first cut is based solely on technical ability. I am sure that it is not. Some dancers are stronger in ballet than others and some dancers are stronger in modern. Some dancers are very strong in both or actually are a triple threat with strengths in ballet, modern and jazz! It is a real mixture and in the beginning I had some questions about how it all works, but I am seeing some really amazing things taking place at the school.

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  • 2 weeks later...

My daughter enjoyed the Juilliard audition, held this past weekend, but two things the auditioners said before the audition contained information I wish they had listed on their website or made known to the auditionees before flights were booked, etc. So for anyone who has yet to do the audition - they stated that dancers who eventually wanted a classical ballet career would not be best served by attending Juilliard. They said that their students found that the modern and ballet focus prevented the ballet dancers from maintaining a high enough ballet training level. That's DEFINITELY not on the website~ Then, they announced that an initial cut would be made on height. This was due to the fact that there is a LOT of partnering in the Juilliard program, and that many of their guys need partners who are not too tall. Makes sense, is fine, but wish that, as with ballet companies, they made that known up front. DD is 5'8". Also, numbers were assigned by last name, as was placement by number in the CROWDED room. Lines were not moved. If you were in the back, you stayed in the back the whole time. This was unfortunate for dancers in the back row! We were suprised by the age of the dancers auditioning - many were post high school by several years. Many were re-auditioning. She said the Juilliard faculty were wonderful people, and the discussion of the program was very informative. The ballet portion of the audition was at an intermediate level. Easy, but enjoyable. The modern was at an intermediate level also, and a lot of fun. She enjoyed the class, and knowing before it began that she would be cut made it a nice master class with low stress. It certainly wasn't a wasted trip, but I would have (as a parent and the one funding the travel) have appreciated knowing this all up front.

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dance1soccer1: thanks for the good information. my daughter wouldn't be auditioning until next year but your comment about the cuts being made by height was good information to know. what was the maximum height that they did not cut? my daughter is 5'7" and i'm wondering if that would be considered too tall. (it's not really much shorter than your daughter at 5'8")



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