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Ballet Talk for Dancers

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  • calamitous


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Congratulations pointe07 to you and your DD. Please feel free to PM or ask questions on here. I am heading to PPU on Sunday returning D (yeah!) to school.

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My dd will be auditioning there soon. Are all freshman together and how many levels do they have with each year of college-freshman, sophmore, junior, senior? Or do they place them according to level at all ages. As for performing do the upper class have more senority for more parts or does technique and performance skill out weigh no matter what year of college you are in. How many hours of of dance technique a day? Then rehearsals? How many hours of academics? How doe the dance hours change if they double major? My dd wants to dance professionally some day in a jazz or contemporary company. My dd is graduating early from high school this month to focus on dance. She is very confused on going the college route or dancing in the city taking many professional level classes for which she has been doing three times a week for the last year and drop in for the last four years. She wants to audition for companies but it seems these apprentices and new company members all apprenticed or have dance degrees. She feels a dance degree does not mean a lot to get in a company and I am not sure what direction to lead her. Dance now and get a degree later in something that is profitable to support herself? My daughter has been dancing since 2 and is well rounded in all dance styles. Any advice would be appreciated for this dance mom.

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Hi ddancer - I will answer what I know from my DD's experiences as a first year dance student at PPU.


As for classes and leveling - the students are not in grade level classes. There are about 8 sections of first and 5 of second year ballet (all at 8 am). All dance majors and MT majors take ballet 5 days a week freshman year. The first week of classes they held placement classes and students were grouped accordingly. Freshman and Sophomores seem to be mixed, and there may be older students also who are not ballet majors. My DD is a modern major, but plans to keep taking ballet each year (only 3 days a week) and figures she will probably be in those 8 am classes all four years. After a couple of weeks there was a little shifting around in ballet levels if this seemed necessary (I know this because DD was moved up 2 levels week 3 of the semester).

This year all the freshman modern majors ARE in the same class. There are only 8 of them and the program wanted to keep a community. There are other students in their class, which I think DD says has about 18-20 students, but I don't know who they are. There was no modern placement audition at the start of the year. There were jazz placement auditions at the start of the year, and DD seems to be in a mixed class of different dance areas and some MT students. The different jazz levels do not all meet at the same time, so when they switched DDs jazz class it meant we had to re-arrange other classes in her schedule.


Her first quarter dance schedule was: 90 minutes ballet M-F; 90 minute jazz M-Th; 60 minute modern T-F; 2 (or maybe 1) credits of rehearsal/production which is variable times depending on involvement. DD ran lights for the first fall performance whcih met her requirements. She was supposed to haev an additional dance credit of Duham but when her schedule changed she had a conflict with it. In total she took 17 credits, 11 of which were dance.


All students audition for performances and freshmen are cast - although very few did get parts, some were. There is a freshamn showcase at the end of the year, which I believe is choreographed by other more senior students.


I am not sure how the balance of academics changes year to year- DD brought in 12 credits and is trying to take 6 academic credits a semester so she can pick up an additional minor. I am not sure what you mean by double major - i.e. in 2 dance areas or in dance or another area. At the end of (or during) freshman year students can decide if they want to do a BA or a BFA (some freshman are admitted as BFA but most are not). This add more dance in the later years. The website, if you dog through it, has these different degrees pretty well detailed to see what the dance requirements are. If you cant find it I may be able to dig up the link.

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  • 2 months later...


My dd was accepted to point park with a scholarship for which we are excited and grateful. I have heard that the jazz program is old school jazz as the the audition was old school jazz the style she learned as a child. I need some feedback about the jazz program of classes and the styles of the multiple teachers. Jazz has changed very much over the years as it is all more contemporary in the bigger cities and that it what she has been learning the last few years. Are the contemporary styles ( and I don't mean modern) taught by just guest choreographers for shows or during the year? It seem years ago gradutates of Point Park got into major companies like Hubbard Street but now what companies are the graduates actually getting into? My dd was also accepted into a pre-professional ballet program which is very small with great teachers which would offer her more personized attention to strengthen her technique. We both know that your classical training has to be inpeccable to pass the Ballet audition in order to move on to contemporary or jazz styles. Our concern is not a degree in dance but the best training to lead her to dancing in a professional company someday. If you are a mom or teacher I would appreciate your experience and feedback very much.

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My daughter attended this program a couple of years ago. Her favorite jazz teacher was Kiki Lucas from Houston Metropolitan Dance. If you visit youtube and search that name I know there are a number of videos of her choreography there. At Point Park ISD, each week the focus/teacher changes and the students are exposed to different styles. DD was fortunate to be cast in Ms. Lucas' pieces for the final performance and so she got to work with her throughout the program. Some other jazz teachers she liked were Pearlann Porter & David Story. You may also see their choreography on youtube.

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Did she attend the college program and did she graduate from there? We have some big decisions to make. what is your dd doing now?

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DD will be auditioning at PPU in a couple of weeks. She doesn't know what to expect, as she hasn't auditioned anywhere else. What was the audition like, and what should she expect? We are excited about this, even though it's a very last-minute decision.

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Mel Johnson

Leebick, as this is essentially a double-post of a slightly earlier post on Higher Education General Discussion, I've deleted that one, and left this, as it is most likely to get Point Park-specific answers.

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I apologize, I thought I was responding to a question about the summer program at Point Park. My daughter is still in high school.

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leebick, for some reason I can't remember tons about the audition process from last year, but here is what I do remember.

When dd auditioned last year there were over 70 kids there (which ws unusually high because they had not closed the audition) so the kids were placed in 2 or maybe even 3 groups. They do a one hour class in each of the three areas - ballet, modern and jazz. So they need to be prepared to dance several times. In the ballet, they only do point at the end and only those who have listed ballet as a choice are required to do it. DD said in her group there were 2 girls who wanted to do the point audition but they wouldn't let them because they did not have sufficient technique. The modern audition was a Graham class, which is not what DD was used to since her experience with modern was primarly Horton. The ballet was a pretty straight forward class, DD didn't mention if it was geared at a specific style.


DD is a freshamn at PPU in modern and LOVES it. Good luck to you DD.

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Thanks so much for your answer, Calamitous! As DD is auditioning for the modern and/or jazz programs, she wouldn't have thought to bring her pointe shoes with her. She has only auditioned for a couple of SI's before (and although she was accepted didn't go due to $$$), and the college programs to which she's applied don't require auditions, so we don't really know what to expect at PPU. Thanks for your help!

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sfshaza, feel free to PM me about anything. As a senior, I've finally got this school figured out and definitely think this school can be an absolutely amazing training ground IF you know how to navigate it.
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My dd was accepted into pp with a talent award which we are excited about and we will be visiting the campus very soon to make the decision for next year. I would love to hear all about the program. Could you pm me and let me know what you have learned and experienced about the program over the last for years? It would sure help as this is the big decision year for next year. College or pre-pro program. She was accepted as jazz major but can you major in ballet and jazz and do jazz majors still take ballet everyday in thier junior and senior year? I would very much appreciate to hear from you.

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