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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Ivy League Schools with Ballet-Focused Programs


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My oldest DD's situation sounds very much like what you described last year. She is an incoming freshman at Carnegie Mellon University's School of Architecture, which is not Ivy League, but still considered highly selective and challenging. She has always danced & was hoping to continue through college. Although CMU does not have a dance department, they have a cooperative with other colleges in the city which would allow her to take dance classes for credit elsewhere. However... considering her very full class schedule & the amount of studio time (architecture, not dance) she expects to put in each week... I don't know how she'll ever fit it all in! I would be interested to hear how you are doing now. :wink:





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My dd is also in a similiar situation -- considering taking a gap year by asking for a deferral from the college of her choice to continue ballet training.


BTW, we just visited Bard College (next-door to Kaatsbaan). Not Ivy League, but a place for those that seek an intellectual environment at a small liberal arts school that don't want to be wedged into a narrow focus. (Example, bio or econ majors are encouraged to also try out courses in other areas, as well).

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  • 2 months later...

I'm currently a dancer in the Princeton Dance Program (which has been around since women were admitted in 1970) and can personally attest to the high quality of classes and faculty. Visiting the school and taking class or sending in a video will help your application. I've been sooooo happy with the dance program here, several of our students go on to pursue professional careers in dance, and it's overall been the perfect place for me. I'd be really happy to answer any questions anyone may have about the program, application process, etc.

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Hi JSSBallet,


My daughter (a sophomore in HS) and I will be in the area on Feb 2. I was thinking about stopping at Princeton U in the afternoon before heading back for Virginia and was wondering if you had a recommendation as to who in the administration I would call see if I could schedule a tour/visit to discuss their program.

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So does Yale, but ballet is not much represented in on-campus offerings. You must remember that until about 40 years ago, all the Ivies were men only, and there are vestiges of this sexism still about.

If you go to Yale you can take daily, evening and Saturday classes at New Haven Ballet. It's a great and welcoming school walking distance from most points on the Yale campus. There are special student rates.

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Does anybody know more about the dance programme at Yale?

I don't know much about the program at Yale, but you can take daily, advanced classes with pointe at New Haven Ballet, which is walking distance from most points on campus. The school is very welcoming, and there is a student rate for classes.

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When I was at Yale (oh my, so many years ago), there were FREE open classes for any Yale student who wanted to take them offered at the gym. I believe that there were beginner, intermediate, and advanced classes offered several times per week. A good choice for fill-in classes as needed.


Back then, these classes were quite well-attended. I remember going pretty regularly one semester and seeing a lot of the same people as well as new faces every week.


I have no idea whether these are still offered, but it's worth a look at the gym's schedule of classes.

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I graduated from Yale last May and took the ballet classes offered at Payne Whitney (the gym). I vaguely remember having to pay $20 per semester when I signed up. There are two teachers (one does basic and advanced beginner, the other does intermediate and advanced) and they're both pretty good. Each level meets twice a week.

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The ballet classes at NHB run pretty much throughout the summer, so there are also possibilities for training during July/August.

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It isn't Ivy League but it's West coast top of the line equivalent, Stanford! It has a ballet company and I think you can get a minor in ballet, I could be wrong. Christine Elliott is the head of the company!

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Does Princeston offer a degree or a minor in dance? In the Website, there is talk of a certificate, but I'm not sure if this is a degree or not? Can you major in something else like engineering?

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My daughter is interested in an academically strong program, possibly an ivy, with a strong contemporary ballet program. I have yet to find an ivy league school that appears to be a good fit, so I am wondering if anyone could comment on the best contemporary ballet programs in the nation? I keep seeing talk of the "top 6" or so dance schools - I would love to know what schools comprise this list as well- just to make sure I'm not missing anything!! DD has attended several 3 letter SI's and is strong in ballet. She would be open to both a classical or contemporaryballet program. Thanks!!

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If you search in the Higher Education Forum, you can find plenty of information on colleges with strong academics and strong dance programs molly123. There are excellent Ivy League choices like Columbia/Barnard, but you can also pair strong academics with contemporary dance at NYU/Tisch, Fordham/Ailey and many other colleges. USC just announced the creation of a new dance school that looks very exciting as well. But in the end, I've always considered the information collected on this board as the first step in a very long process of finding the right fit for the right student. Talk of Ivies, top 6, and 3 letter SIs doesn't really matter as much as what actually works for each individual.

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