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Ballet Talk for Dancers

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Guest firebird9387

I will also be a freshman at Point Park this year. Thanks for all the informative comments! I'm looking forward to studying there this fall...the program look excellent.

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Daughter auditioned at Point Park on Friday and I thought I would give my impressions of the conservatory and the university. The campus is an urban campus and as stated in previous postings the students never have to leave the buildings to get from the dorms, studios or the classes. Shuttle service is provided to the Pittsburgh Playhouse for rehearsals and/or performances, so the students do not have to rely on the public transportation either. We were able to tour the school including the dorms and the studios. The studios are beautiful, quite large and a new performing arts complex is being built with expected completion in fall 2007. The dorms are typical college dorm rooms with some having private bathrooms and the others shared community hall bathrooms. It was our understanding that Freshmen are required to live in one of two dorms and beginning the Soph. year they can choose to live in aparment style dorms located in the next block. The area of the city in which the the campus is located seems safe and is located a busy convenient location.

 

In short, I was very impressed with this program and the facilities. Students can choose to major in in either classical ballet, modern or jazz, but can also minor in either another discipline or art in the conservatory. This is especially appealing, because the reality is that the more versatile a dancer is the more marketable he/she becomes in this competitive world of dance. Even though this was daughter's first audition, she is leaning heavily towards this program provided of course that she is accepted into the conservatory. She has already been accepted academically and with some scholarship money, so we anxiously await the decision of the audition! How exhausting this whole process is for daughter and parents!!!

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I also auditioned at Point Park this Friday. (Marzipan: maybe I met your daughter!) I felt that the audition went pretty well. There was a full ballet class which seemed to last longer than the faculty had hoped and a jazz and modern class which consisted of just a combination that we learned and had to perform across the floor. I was pretty pleased with the way the audition was conducted and just from the audition I could tell the teachers were top notch. Having never been to Pittsburgh before, it was a great experience for me because I got to see the city and all it has to offer. I was very impressed with Pittsburgh and it seems like a fun, safe place to live. However I did have quite a few concerns that would cause me to hestitate about attending the university. I'd have to disagree with Marzipan about the studios. To me, the studios did not seem that big as what I would expect from a university dance program. Having visited other schools gave me something to compare Point Park's facilities to and I did not think they were "state of the art." It also seemed to me that they were not that well taken care of: bubbles in the marley, etc.. Aside from the dance studios, the campus is about 3 buildings. I was unable to see the dorms but from what the current students said, they are pretty standard. Hopefully the new dance building that they are building willl be finished by next fall and will have nicer facilities. I was also concerned with the amount of enforcement of the dress code. When I received a tour guide, I was able to peek in at some of the advanced ballet classes. The girls were wearing "junk" such as leg warmers, different color leos, black tights, etc. It seemed to me that there was no set dress code and the dancers could wear whatever they wanted. Perhaps this doesn't matter to some people but for me it's somewhat disrespectful. Finally, my last concern is the academics. It is said that in order to be admitted you only need a 2.5 G.P.A. So while you may be challenged in your dance classes, it may not be as challenging in academics. For some people this may be fine, but I have always loved to be challenged physically as well as intellectually.

 

Again, I think that one could learn a lot from the excellent teachers there and from the exciting city of Pittsburgh but for some people the above concerns could arise. This is just my own opinion of Point Park and ultimately you have to go and see it for yourself if you are truly interested. I hope I gave some insight into the program and a little of what to expect! :):)

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  • 3 weeks later...
Guest Ballet626

Has anyone heard from the on campus October audition yet? DD said they were told it would take around two weeks and so far nothing. Her anxiety about all this is being passed on to me!

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Ballet626.. I auditioned on campus in October and I received my acceptance letter with a scholarship today! (10/25) You should be getting a letter any time now! Good luck!

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We visited Point Park in April of this year, and my DD had some of the same concerns ABTgirl14 had. My DD thought the dancers looked a bit messy, some didn't have hair up, shirts on over leos, etc. She also didn't think the studios were that great either. We were encouraged when the tour guide said that new studios were being built, which in turn would open up more space in the school. My DD also felt that that the school itself was alittle too congested, having to pack into elevators and such. She had decided not to auditon there, but thinking it over since then, she still may, when the auditions are in NYC in early 2007. She spent the summer at PBT and she did like Pittsburgh.

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I'm a freshman at point park. For my ballet and point classes, we have a strict dress code. Black leo and pink tights. for one of my ponte classes, we are allowed to wear skirts. On the last class of the week, we can wear colored leos. I've noticed that upperclassman have more lenient dress codes, but maybe students were dressed so sloppy because you were in on Friday.

 

In my opinion, the studios are decent. The studio you auditioned in is great, but all the others have one thing or another wrong (too small, or awkward poles). The new studios should be finished by next year (although currently, they are still a hole in the ground after months of contstruction...)

 

Honestly what you should be concerned about Point Park as a ballet dancer is the program itself. This is not the school for you if you want to only take ballet and pointe. Point Park will make you into a well-rounded dancer. All dance majors have to take jazz, modern, and pick from other classes like tap, folk, character, and dunham. You might not get as many ballet classes as you're used to at home, but there are ways to get more (PBT, community classes, etc). The interesting thing here is that a lot of the time, you can't tell the difference between a jazz or ballet or modern major. Most people are so well rounded.

 

As far as academics, I've always been the same way as ABTgirl14. You can take honor's classes and/or be in the honor's program. I'm in a level 2 honor's english class and it is very challenging. Yes, you'll get better academic classes at other schools, but you may find that once at college you really do want to focus more on dance than super hard acadmics.

 

I hope this helps!

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Thanks for your input KayP, and that is why I would like my DD to reconsider Point Park, because of the more well rounded experience you would get there. As for academics, my daughter would prefer less of them and more of the dancing. As I said previously,her main concern was that she didn't like the feeling of being so closed in, inside the building. I had hoped that the building of the new studios in time for when she would attend would take care of that problem. Would you, KayP keep us informed on the progress of the building of the new studios? Thanks

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DD received her acceptance letter today with scholarship offer! She is so excited as the main draw to Point Park is that students do receive well rounded training. Every school that she has visited so far has emphasized the importance of dancers today being well rounded.

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  • 1 month later...

My daughter auditioned in November as a transfer student. She had auditioned last year, but late in the year and with a back injury. :wacko: She heard back right away, but was told that she would not hear until March 15th if she was accepted. It was not clear from the letter if this is a wait-list situation, or what. A friend who is a freshman at PPU told her she had heard that they never accept transfer students until all the incoming freshman have auditioned. That just seems strange to me...what if someone phenmenal auditions as a transfer. Making transfers wait means they may well go elsewhere or just stay where they are, don't you think. Is this a way to discourage transfers? Anyone know the real story on this?

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I don't see any reason why your daughter couldn't call them up this week and ask for a clarification of her status; whether it's affected by her being a transfer student and/or she's being waitlisted.

 

Meanwhile, (this is just my personal theory...) keep in mind that your daughter is not seeking a place in the incoming class of "2011," which is 100% open. The dance department has to figure out how many places they'll have for upper-classmen and how your daughter will fit in with the current upper-class members. That's a separate task from admitting incoming freshmen, so it doesn't surprise me that they put it off until after they're done with the other task.

 

My daughter was also a dance transfer student and Point Park was one of the places she applied to for Fall 2005. However, she auditioned sometime after the holidays. She got her acceptance very quickly and was even asked to pay her tuition deposit by February 27 (though she was granted an extension), however her circumstances were rather unique. (She was simultaneously a new high school graduate.) She's now at U of Arizona, so we have no other inside knowledge. The main reason why I mention this is just to vouch for the fact that the transition into a college for a transfer student is definitely not as smooth as it is for a freshman. All the procedures are laid out rather nicely for incoming freshmen, but more is figured out on the go when it comes to transfer students. It's just that their circumstances vary more, not that they're being discouraged, so prepare yourselves for some bumps along the way. On the other hand, those individual circumstances give your daughter the right to maintain communication with the department to understand what is going on.

 

Best of luck to your daughter!

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  • 4 months later...

Well they don't look like much yet, but I'm assured by my friend who works in the Physical Plant (which is in charge of construction) that they are still on schedule for being done by the fall.

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  • 4 months later...

I see that this thread is a bit dated, but I do know something about that new construction mentioned above... One of my best friends is adjunct faculty at Point Park. She says the new wing is gorgeous! Large studios, a couple of which can be converted to performance space.

Edited by ceecee
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  • 1 month later...

My freshman daughter attends Point Park this year and absolutely loves it! She is a dance major with a focus in jazz. The new studios are beautiful. She had one class in the new studios this past semester and has two next semester.

 

She enjoys living in the city (the variety of things to do on the weekend is much more than that found at a typical University campus), has made many friends - especially in the Conservatory (dance and music theatre majors), and enjoys the diversity of the faculty.

 

How do others like the dance program?

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