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Ed McPherson



I looked at the student list and came up with these numbers. I'm headed out to dinner with a friend tonight. I'll bounce them off him to see if I've missed anyone.


This spring we have...


8, 4 year graduates

7, 3 year graduates

1, 2 year didn’t graduate


7 people did not look for jobs

7 people found jobs

2 people still looking for jobs


jobs have been offered at Ballet Arizona, Ballet Nouveau, Eugene/Idaho Ballet, Dance Kaleidoscope, and two at both Richmond Ballet and Ballet West.

Edited by Ed McPherson
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Ed McPherson

Ok, I'm getting down to business and finally getting this done. Because there has been pretty good coverage of IU's programs I am going skip aspects that I think have been covered, that I dont think I can add to.





How many dance majors? 44


How many applicants to the dance program annually? 30-40 at each of the 6 auditions



How many men in the program? 06-07 school year about 11 or 12





Describe the studio/performance facilities. Nice new floors, seamless marly. Huge performance space modeled after the Met, 1 sq foot larger than the Met's stage. Ballet studios are on the 3rd floor of the theater.


What is the approximate number of performance opportunities each year? 4 ballet shows, 1 opera (sort of optional), 2-3 modern dance shows (totaly optional).


Who choreographs/directs the above performances? Ballet Faculty or guests


What ratio of ballet, modern, jazz or other forms of dance are included in these performances? It is always all ballet.


What is the climate of this program (supportive/friendly or highly competitive)? More like a company setting than any other college I've heard of or seen. It is supportive within the dancers. Some competition but with only 44 dancers there is always a part for every dancer, its just a matter of which part.


Are there choreography projects available for students? 1 a year within the ballet department, more if you take the optional modern classes.


What opportunities are there to see dance performances or teachers from outside the school on a regular basis? hardly any.


What nutrition/health counseling is available? Full time Athletic Trainer.


What medical facilities/physical therapy is available? Full time Athletic Trainer with on site training room and facilites: wraps, heating pads, ice, e-stem, ultrasound, boots, and crutches, therabands.


Describe the culture at this program (warm, cold, competitive, nurturing, professional, etc.) All of the above to some degree. Its small with 44 dancers so everyone knows everyone. We like to have parties, freshman, senior, cast, halloween, so its a closer knit group than most colleges would be. Its professional in the sense that there are always a number of people focusing on getting and then getting jobs in the spring. At the same time there are people that could take it a little more seriously. I think there are a number of collegiate departments out there that are more nurturing and more competitive than IU so I would not call it either of those. Which may seem contradictory.





List ballet faculty members. 05-06 year: GuoPing Wang, Glenda Lucena, Jacques Cebsron


How often does each teacher actually teach class? there are two classes taught each day, 2 of every 3 days they teach.


How many hours of ballet classes per week are required? as many as you are called for, depends on what parts you have. Up to 6 hours and 15 min a day.


How many ballet classes a week are offered? 5


How many technique classes are required of those in other forms of dance (such as modern)? none


What style of dance is the focus of this program (modern, ballet, other)? ballet completly


What dance requirements are there other than technique classes? Attending rehearsal, if you want to keep your part. Otherwise an understudy will take it.


What degrees are offered within the Dance program? BS Ballet, BSOF Ballet


Is there a separate Dance department? If not, from what department are the dance classes offered? School of Music


Is Pilates certification available through your program for dance majors? Its offered privatly.








How rigorous are the academics in dance-related, non-technique classes? There are none of these classes! It is the nations most truly performance based degree.


How rigorous are the academic courses? however rigourous you make them when designing your schedule.


What is the ratio of academic requirements to studio hours? 1 acadmeic to every 2 hours in the studio.


Are double majors allowed for a dance major? If so, is it practical to double-major? Yes/Yes


Can a student double major in one program in the dance department and another from a different department? Yes


Is there a dance minor? No






Is career counseling/job placement assistance offered? Sort of, if you ask for it.


If yes, at what year does that counseling start? When you ask.


What does the counseling include? An informal meeting with the faculty member you approached.


How often do company director's visit the school for viewings? never.


How common is it for students to leave the school to join companies prior to graduation? Happens to students that put themselves in the position to make it happen. A lot of students push and leave after 3 years for jobs. In a lot of cases they actually havent graduated and end up taking 2 or 3 community college classes and transfering them back to IU to finally graduate. If this counts then a few times every year. In the last 4 years my understanding is that two dancers have left during the school year to join companies, ABT and Ballet West.


Do any dancers from this program go on to professional performing careers? Teaching careers? About half the students that graduate decide to pursue professional jobs of those approx 80% find profesional jobs. No one graduates wanting to be a teacher. Because we have to teach as part of the degree and have the experiance when we graduate a lot of us take teaching jobs to supplament our incomes where we are dancing.


Who are recent guest artists or companies who have been in residence at the school? Julie Kent, Jose Manuel Correno, Michael Vernon, John Clifford, Damien Woetzel.


For students graduating from this program who do not go on to dance professionally, what kind of jobs/careers do they go into? Physical Therapy, Nutrition Science, Investment Banking, Graduate School

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Guest PsFs

Thanks, Ed and Stephanie, for all your input about IU!!


It has been a while since I have read the site, and a lot of good info has come up since January!! The good news is that my dd Heidi is one of those 5 girls to be accepted into the IU program for this coming fall. She is a little remiss to be leaving Europe (she has grown up in Spain), but for all that has been commented about the professional "company" stlye atmosphere, I am glad that she can get both a college degree as well as "company" experience. The comments about the academics as well as what kind of jobs dance majors take (besides dancing) are very interesting. It would be so cool if those other majors who have not ended up dancing could put their observations on this site about their experiences and choices. I am particularly interested in what kind of advising Heidi will receive, and from whom, when she registers for her classes in August. My other daughters have not been overly impressed with the academic advisers they had to work with at IU in their major fields (although they love IU!), so I wonder if in the dance department things are a little "better" in that regard. Heidi isn't 100% sure what outside field she wants to do, although physical therapy has been cooking in the back of her mind for a number of years. Is there anyone (student or otherwise) out there who could fill her in on that field of studies? I am also intrigued by the comments about ballet majors who don't go to class--somehow that seems like a contradiction in terms!! I guess it takes all kinds to make a world...


Now that she is about to have time, I am hoping to get Heidi to log on and get involved in this site soon--today is her last final and she will finish "baccalaureate" (Spanish High School), and by the end of next week she will only have ballet to go to in the "mornings" (8:30- 3:00). The busy schedule you have described has been her life since 8th grade, leaving the house at 8 am and getting home anywhere from 8 to 10 pm. The IU shedule will be "nothing new" for her.


Another point of interest is the teaching experience you receive as ballet majors. When do you get to begin teaching, and what classes?


Thanks for your input!!



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Guest PsFs

One other quick question:


For those that graduate with BSOF degrees in 3 years, I can understand how you can cram in your outside field credit requirements into "less time", but what about all the 52 dance performance credit hours? How do you "pack those in"?



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Ed McPherson

Stephs out on audition trip, and I gotta run to work right now. But I think can answer the 52 dance credit hours part of your question.


I've never seen that number before but I dont disbelieve that it is correct. I dont think anyone ever focused on a number to reach it was more settling the different requirements.


My understanding is that for the BSOF you need...


to take ensemble (ballet class and rehearsals) 6 credits towards graudation each semester you are enrolled.

take two semesters of Jazz. 2 credits each

teach two semesters of ballet. 2 credits each

take two semesters of piano. 2 credits each

choreograph one spring. not sure how many credits that is, 1 or 2.

take 6 additional credits anywhere in the school of music.


I dont think I am forgetting anything, but that doesnt add up to 52. So who knows, maybe the 52 is if you stay 4 years, then you would be required to take ensemble both the additional semester and would have 12 more credits. If you are not a BSOF you have to do more in the school of music. teach more, take more jazz, and then take Physical Education classes too. That might also be where the 52 comes in.


I'll try to get back to the other questions later in the day.

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Guest PsFs

Yes, the 52 included 6 credits per semester for the first 3 years and 4 per semester for the last year in addition to the jazz and other classes you mentioned. That-s the BSOF; the BS upped the last year to 6 & 4 credits for the last semesters for the regular dance stuff (J400) and added a couple of other music classes. This is what we downloaded from the IU website about the BALLET DEGREES at least a year ago--I suppose it is still the same.


SO, I guess if You finish in 3 years, those 8 to10 credits of dance that you don't end up getting in a 4th year of study at IU have to be done in some other course work so you get in your 120 credit hours for graduation???


Is the J340 Practicum that is listed as a 2 credit course actually the "teaching" that you do of some other ballet classes?



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Many congratulations to your daughter, PsFs, on her acceptance into IU's dance program. What an achievement!


I hope that I will not be off-topic here ... and please know that I am in awe of the dancers who were accepted into this program ... but are parents not stunned by the fact that IU only took 5 girls this year, 1 of whom was from outside the US? So that means only 4 girls from the U.S were accepted!


According to Ed, roughly 240-250 dancers audition each year --this year for 4-5 slots (if you are a girl). Not so wonderful when you consider that parents are paying not only the $50 application fee to the university, but the $50 application fee to the dance program as well -- that's $100 to apply to IU and IU dance -- and that doesn't include the expense of traveling to IU for the audition. By my standards, this is a tidy profit center for the university and an eye opener for any parent who is going through the college application/dance audition process for his/her student. I would call this tossing $100 down the drain.


Can someone help me here? Why do they call this a college dance program when in fact, it appears to be more like a company? Or at least the odds are such that getting into a company might be easier than getting into IU Dance. I am not getting the link to this program being part of an institute for higher education. Even at the other top college ballet programs, they seem to strive for a class of 20-25 which seems somewhat reasonable.


With such a great demand for good college dance programs, why are the programs like IU decreasing their numbers rather than increasing them? And why are we as parents so clueless as to throw money down the tubes like this? (I just went through the college process with my dd this year.)

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Ed McPherson



I believe the school keeps the numbers low so that they can use every dancer in ever performance. I haven’t heard of another reputable collegiate program that uses each dancer in every show each year they are enrolled. We are given the chance to perform any role you could handle regardless of what year you are.


The school has been very committed to making it as much of a performance degree as possible, they see this as what sets IU apart. My freshman year I passed up opportunities to perform In a modern show and still danced in 6 different programs in 32 weeks, once ever 5.3 weeks. I haven’t ever heard of a collegiate program that offers those kinds of opportunities to a freshman let alone any student. And by no means was I getting performance time because of ability, the majority of the men in the department looked better than me.

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Ed McPherson



yes, they have to be done somewhere with some classes. There end up being even more random credits that have to be filled. Thinking of the Ballet requirement as 52, the outside field as about 30, and I believe there are 24 general Ed. requirements. Thats adds up to 106. Which leaves 14 credits that are still missing. So you'd still need those electives.


A decent number of the people that graduate in 3 years dont actually graduate in the spring. They just finish their requirements for the Ballet, Outside Field and General Ed classes. They then leave and take community college classes to get the rest of those remaining credits they need. Transferring those back to IU, and graduating officially at a later date.


When I got to IU my first year, I sat down with an older student that was graduating in three years, doing the business OF as well, and asked him how he was doing it. We laid out all the classes I had to have, picked semesters that I would do them in, and planned the next 3 years of my life that evening. Doing it that way was much easier than going into the advisors office. It was going to be a pain for me to schedule a time to meet because the office closes at 4 and we had rehearsals until 5:45 every day during that part of the year. The fall ballet is 6 weeks into the start of school and they start rehearsals the first day back.


ohh, J340 is that teaching class. You can begin teaching the first semester if you want. The first day is an introduction, but on tuesday the class is yours. My freshman year one of the other freshman was injured and decided to teach a class first semester.


If you have any more specific questions feel free to email me, I dont think I can flat out list it here. But you can find it on my website, its at the bottom left of the page. http://www.edwardmcpherson.com/



I am trying to phase myself out of this topic though, so I am going to let Stephanie handle anything I have missed. She should be back at the end of this week.

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OK...let me get this straight. Accepted 5 girls for fall 2006, and 4 of those were from the US? That's it? Geez, it's making Juilliard look like a cake walk! Ed can you comfirm those numbers? Also...any news on new chairperson?

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Ed quoted Mr. Cesbron as stating that 5 girls are "coming in next year to join the department". I know for a fact that more than that were accepted, but will not attend for one reason or another. Or should I say I know that at least ONE was, because she is my daughter. As an out-of-state student we could not afford to send her there, even with a "Hutton Honors Scholarship" for her academic success. We were told she did not qualify for a ballet scholarship, based on her audition. Good enough to get in, but not good enough to earn a talent scholarship! Very frustrating . . .

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Wow, I had no idea that it was so competitive at IU. Even IF more than 5 females were accepted, it still seems as if the admissions are heavily stacked against those auditioning. It is probably easier to get into Harvard than the IU Ballet program. Hats off to those selected few who were admitted.


We're just starting the college search process and it's good to know which programs are realistic and which ones are not. We don't have the extra money to waste on double application fees.

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I must say I agree with BalletNutter's questions around the selectivity of the program and the cost to audition. I think it's fine that IU is selective--indeed that enhances the program, and according to Ed M, is important in permitting so many performing opportunities.


Nonetheless, 3 years ago when I called to get a better sense of the acceptance criteria and whether to make the significant investment of application fees AND hefty travel expenses for two people, I felt IU could have, and should have, been more forthcoming in the actuality around how many would be accepted. We were given a vague answer upfront and at the actual audition Q&A, when I asked specifically how many dancers would be accepted, is when we were told that probably no more than 10 for the coming year. While we were told this was a lower number than usual, the odds were stacked against my D. Over 350 auditioned that year for 10 slots. She's typically in the top 10%, and had a great audition, but didn't make that cut.


It cost us nearly $600 to find this out. I think the department owes it to people who call and inquire to be brutally honest about this.


While my daughter probably would not have attended, even if accepted due to academic concerns (she was awarded nearly a full academic scholarship, so it wasn't the tuition), I'm pretty sure we wouldn't have invested in it, had we understood the odds.


And it wasn't a situation of auditioning so early they didn't know what the numbers might be---she did one of the last auditions that season.


Anyway, I loved our visit there in spite of all this, and I would have loved for my D to go there. But I do feel that this could be handled better.

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This is what my daughter was told about the audition process:


"Congratulations on your acceptance into the Jacobs School of Music as a Ballet Major for the 06-07 academic year. There were close to 180 applicants this year; our acceptance rate was approximately 10.5% of all our auditioners."


There could be more people still deciding about where they will be next year. At this point dd is going!


We were told at the Q & A session that they like to keep the total number of students in the dept. at no more than 50.


Having just been down the road of the college application process it seems to be the norm to have to pay two application fees if the dance dept. is in a "school of... or conservatory" of the university. The double fee isn't just an IU practice. It can get expensive quickly!

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No one understands the financial concerns of parents and students concerning the double application fee and competitive selectivity more than I do. Having gone through the IU auditioning process twice as well as the Butler audition all in 2 years, paying to be rejected does not appeal to most. However, the second application fee is to the IU music School and i know this does not make it any better but you are applying to one of the nations top programs. The selectivity on the other hand goes along with the field. Even though you may have called ahead and they were brutally honest about you chances, you still have to give it a try. This last time that I auditioned for IU I just decided to give it another try because the first time i auditioned i had 5 months of ballet so now at 2 years and 5 months i felt like i should at least try again and this time i got in. I know for boys its different but at the end of the day u still have to try and no matter how selective the program may be u never know what they are looking for in any given year

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