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I'm very glad your daughter enjoyed her audition but I am sorry that some things I said in our information session were misunderstood. The cut in the audition was most certainly NOT based on height. While it's true that there is lots of partnering in the Summer Intensive, the partnering classes are supplemented with our college division men so factors like height do not need to be considered in the audition. Dancers called back from both Friday and Saturday auditions were of no uniform height or body type.


I remember talking with a small group of parents after the Saturday audition about height in the college division auditions. Perhaps you were in that group or one of several listening in. For the college division, height is one factor (of many) in creating the overall incoming class; a class that will often work as a company in the four years of their training. In my decade in admissions at Juilliard, I have never seen this as the sole factor for accepting or denying admission to anyone.


Audition numbers are assigned by last name but rows were moved, and often, exercises were performed one line at a time. I agree the audition was crowded, something we try to prevent by limiting the number of applicants assigned to each audition. Since the auditions are held in our own studios, the faculty can have the audition go as long as needed to ensure they have a good look at each dancer. It does not benefit the Juilliard faculty to rush the audition or miss dancers who might be a good fit for the program.


As for the idea that students interested in a ballet career might not be best served by Juilliard... I think our website makes clear, through text and our choice of photography, that our focus is on both ballet and modern. Like I mentioned in the information session, while our dancers go on to classical and contemporary ballet and modern companies, the program is balanced and students cannot specialize their training. I believe very strongly in the education that Juilliard offers but I understand that our broader focus does not interest everyone.


Best of luck to you and your daughter,

Sarah Adriance

Associate Director of Dance Admissions

Administrator, Juilliard Summer Dance Intensive

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Thank you Stellapiet for replying to that last email. I did not think the statement that Juilliard would cut due to height could possibly be right. Thank you for making the schools policies and views clear to Ballettalk's readers.......especially potential auditionees.

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Yes, Stellapiet, my DD was at the college audition, not the summer intensive audition. I think that with movement of rows, etc., that audition was a little different than the SI one. My post is NOT to criticize - Juilliard is a phenomenal program and my DD would certainly have considered attending if accepted. Those who made it past the cut were uniformly good dancers, according to DD. I just think, here in the hinterlands, that we were not quite fully aware that the program was perhaps not the best fit for a pure ballet dancer who takes modern, but doesn't have that as a focus. And, I certainly wasn't aware of the need to be the right size to partner shorter men. My fault in being uninformed. Just didn't want others to spend the big $$$ to get to auditions if their dancers are similar to mine.

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dance1soccer1, I really think you may be missing the point regarding height. It seems that stellapiet is saying that height is just one of a number of factors that are considered in making decisions but that it is NOT the determining factor. It would be unfortunate if taller dancers were discouraged from applying, as this does not seem to be a mitigating factor in acceptance. Height is ALWAYS an issue for women in ballet, due to partnering issues. But, their admissions director has clearly stated that it will NOT keep a student out of the school.


Also, I think you are not really hearing the answer regarding the program's focus. Dancers from Juilliard do INDEED get work with classical and contemporary ballet companies. Their training most certainly does allow them to be competitive in the ballet world. The training is balanced between modern and ballet, but the training in both is very high and certainly sufficient to prepare them for a pro career. You seem to be hung up on the idea that 'pure' ballet dancers will not be properly trained at Juilliard. Parents of dancers at the school and others who know dancers at the school who are indeed serious ballet dancers have noted on this thread that their dancers are VERY happy at the school and with the training.


It is understandable when an audition does not result in an acceptance to try to find reasons that have less to do with your dancer and more to do with the program. But, please be sure that in attempting to soften the disappointment for your dancer, you don't post inaccurate information about a program or try to twist the answers given by the school's administration into something rather different than what was said.

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There's a recent Juilliard grad attending graduate school at Harvard; she danced a Robert Battle piece with a partner in their November dance concert - she was AMAZING! and about 5' 10". Also, I bellieve she trained at the National Ballet School in Canada so her background was classical ballet.

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Balletbooster, I agree that height will always be a factor because of the partnering issue and I would hope that a tall dancer that stands out would be considered for acceptance at Juilliard. But what if you have two dancers who are equally talented (in the minds of the admissions committee) and one dancer is "average" height and the other dancer is tall? I can only guess that they would take the average height dancer because of the heights of the guys in the program. I hope I am wrong.


Regarding the focus of Juilliard's program being based on both ballet and modern, it reminds me of the plight of the working mom. Can the working mom juggle both family and work successfully or will one be sacrificed for the other? If there is an equal focus on each dance discipline, can the dancer be successfully trained in both or will one discipline be sacrificed for the other?


I think my daughter would need more specialized training in ballet because of her goals. And she is tall. I wonder if she should still consider this program.

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I was wondering why does Juilliard limit the summer audition "first cut" to ballet. If you want a well rounded dancer for the future, why not allow all of the auditionees the chance to show that they are capable of releasing their center in modern?


Why were some stronger ballet students cut after the ballet portions as "underthesea" reports? There seems to be some confusion among the dancers and parents regarding exactly what Juilliard is looking for. If some of the stronger ballet students are cut, what are we to think?


Can you shed some light?

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I think there is a certain amount of "blinders" on dancers and parents who are at that 15-18 year old range when it comes to the term "classical ballet". Ballet dancers today need to be very versatile - just look at some of the repertoire out there done by bona-fide "ballet" companies. To have strong ballet training and also be versatile in the language of other idioms makes a dancer much more marketable.


To imply that attending Juilliard is a "compromise" for a "ballet" dancer is a very big misconception!

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To imply that attending Juilliard is a "compromise" for a "ballet" dancer is a very big misconception!


This is the point I was trying to make! Thank you Ondine88. :sweating:


LSU, I understand your analogy regarding two 'equal' dancers and how height might then come into play. I think the same can be said of a short dancer vs. an average height dancer, a dancer with the ideal proportions vs. one with proportions within the norm, but not ideal, one with great feet vs. one with average feet, and so on. When two dancers present the same technical abilities, these external factors are always going to come into play when decisions are made. I just want to be sure that a specific bias about height is not presented, if there is none that actually exists.


As for the training, I really think those who are concerned about the balance between modern and ballet need to talk to parents who have dancers who are classically trained and are now at the school. There is at least one here on BT, who has PM privileges. I am sure she would be happy to share her own dancer's experiences and perhaps direct you to others who can share their insights. Also, take a look at where Juilliard grads go after they graduate. I think that there may be some misleading comments that are being made here that need to be countered with the facts. Dancers who come into Juilliard with a strong ballet focus are likely to come out with that training both enhanced and reinforced. Those who come in with a strong modern focus are likely to come out with that training both enhanced and reinforced. Both dancers are likely to come out with much stronger capabiliites in the other discipline as well, which will enhance their dancing in their chosen dance form.


I encourage all those who are considering this or any other program to ask their questions of those who have direct experience and look to what the alumni do upon graduation as the best source for accurate information and in order to get a complete picture of any program. :thumbsup:

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There are a lot of good questions here and I will try to address them as best I can.

First, ballet1soccer1, I now understand that your daughter auditioned in Chicago. Since I am home on maternity leave, Geoffrey Scott went in my stead and though he is well qualified to answer questions regarding our programs, his background is not in dance and he may have misunderstood our cut process himself. I will talk with him today and see what he might have said.


passion4dnc: the cut in the summer audition is based on ballet because of the immediacy of the program (we're looking for dancers who will be ready that summer instead of dancers who will be with us for four years) and the level of ballet required to participate is quite high. There are many dancers who do not make the first cut in the summer audition who go on to be great candidates for the college division. The Summer Intensive was designed to introduce young ballet dancers to the possibilities of conservatory training. It is about this age when ballet dancers might get the sense that they are not ready for a ballet company after high school graduation or they may have an interest in modern but don't feel comfortable in leaving ballet behind.


The line between ballet and modern repertory is getting ever more fuzzy. By the time we audition for the college division we're looking for 'dancers'.


Isu: I would be very hard-pressed to find dancers that are 'equal'. The each of our faculty has their own idea about the ideal physical body required for dance. Some thing are indisputable... that the dancer be physically capable of rigorous training, that they be open to making changes to their technique, that they have an innate artistry. There are many dancers with beautiful legs and feet but very few with the kind of compelling artistic spirit the faculty is looking for. After ten years in admissions at Juilliard I still find it difficult to put this into words. Like Michael Kahn, former Artistic Director of the Drama Division once said, "You know it when you see it."


When I'm done posting this I'll go find what 'underthesea' wrote but I don't know how to respond to the notion that we 'cut the best dancers'. The faculty have danced in, directed and taught in a great many major companies. I trust their opinion on a dancers' potential for Juilliard implicitly. Consider that their view of the talent they see might differ from that of a dancer who was not called back or a parent who was not in the room. I can't see that Juilliard would be what it is and our dancers become what they do if our faculty was cutting 'the best dancers'.


As far as height goes we've had women who are six feet tall and men that are 5' 2". We're not training dancers for a single company or a single body of repertory so our dancers can reflect many ideas of the dance aesthetic.

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I think it is pretty clear that a lot of people have a hard time understanding the admission "standards" for Juilliard. I did not understand them either and even after my daughter was accepted to the school, I had some questions about the training not having a specific emphasis on ballet. When we went to visit the school last April, many of our questions were answered. We had a chance to observe several technique classes and I recall making note of a particular student we were so impressed with. She was striking and she was quite tall, perhaps on the order of 5'8 or 5'9. This young woman is now dancing in Europe in a highly regarded ballet company. Upon examining the roster of this company, I have taken note that she is the only American dancer in the company! And, even more impressive is the fact that many of her fellow dancers in the company trained at the Paris Opera Ballet School. Many graduates of Juilliard are dancing in various ballet companies. There are at least 3 who are presently dancing at San Francisco Ballet and many others all over the world. I think it is definitely not accurate to say that one's abilities in ballet would be compromised by attending the school. There is no way my daughter would be there now if there was any truth to this. She has trained very hard in ballet and she has no intention of throwing all of that hard work aside. She is at Juilliard to add to her repertoire. To be frank, after all of the auditions are complete, only 12 females and 12 males will receive an invitation to study at Juilliard. But keep in mind, that there are many very talented dancers who will not make it. It doesn't mean they won't dance! Fortunately, there are many training options available.

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  • 1 month later...

My DD's friend received her acceptance to Juilliard yesterday! She was at that Chicago audition which was referenced above. Although I cannot speak for her experience personally, I will state that she definitely has that "it" factor. She is instantly noticable in a crowd of dancers/on stage.


All of her training is in ballet but she did attend the Ailey SI last year. Her friend not only has "it" but is also the hardest worker I know - first to come in to the studio and last to leave. She is extremely strong, not the most flexible of dancers but that can be worked on, confident and an all around lovely girl. Juilliard didn't make any mistakes in accepting her - she will be a great addition to their program. :o

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