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University of North Carolina School of the Arts/UNCSA

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graciemarieballetlove0922

I auditioned for the college program. So it might be different in high school program. But you are lucky to be getting an early start because maybe by the time she got to college she could do a ballet major. But I agree I’m in the same situation, I don’t actually like contemporary at all so that’s why I was so surprised they offered it to me since it’s not my strength or love  I agree a no might have been better this makes it much more difficult. Except Im already 19 so I’m pressured to make choices. It might be good, I’ve heard some say even contemporary has a lot of ballet integrated. Hopefully some others can provide insight into the contemporary program....  

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Marsysmom

Thank you so much!! Best of luck to you and hopefully others can offer some more advice/insight 

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momofaboy

Some random things I've discovered this week: DS accepted his acceptance a few days ago. On the screen where it asked if the student was going to live on or off-campus, there was a pop-up that said all new students under the age of 21 MUST live on campus. 

It took quite a while for me to figure out that the financials were not going to show up on the admission portal, but on the EZ Arts portal. The EZ Arts login was given in the acceptance letter, but we never thought to login there. 

I'm a numbers person. I found this page which has all the numbers about the diversity (ethnicity, gender, state of residence etc) of UNCSA's high school very interesting. UNCSA high school diversity

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Desiderata

Momofaboy, thank you for this information! My daughter has attended UNCSA for a year and I'd never seen the information regarding high school diversity before! One clarification, students don't need to live on campus if they live in the area with parents or a guardian. Welcome to your son, UNCSA is such a wonderful place!

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Desiderata

Susan Jaffe just announced she is leaving UNCSA to accept a position as the new Artistic Director of Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre.

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suebobk1

That's big news! Where did you see the announcement?

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Desiderata

Suebobk1 it was shared with the UNCSA community this morning. It is tough timing and my daughter who is a student at UNCSA is very sad, but I have no doubt that Ms. Jaffe will do great things at PBT. A nationwide search is on for the next Dean of Dance at UNCSA.

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suebobk1

Thank you for the information. The school will definitely miss her, but I agree. She will do great things at PBT.

 

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dancingjet

My daughter has worked with Ms. Jaffe (she came to her university and DD was in her piece). She has also had her as a summer intensive teacher and in a master class. She likes her and enjoyed working with her. Her piece was challenging in a good way. This could easily put PBT onto my daughter's radar down the road.

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Mdballetmom

I cannot say enough about Susan Jaffe and my dd's experience with her at UNCSA.  She is an approachable and caring leader and wants the very best for her students.  I expect her leadership at PBT will be exceptional. 

I hope that UNCSA finds a worthy replacement... but I cannot imagine that it will be easy. 

 

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balletdreaming

Hello! I am a currently a junior in high school and I am so excited to be going to UNCSA to study classical ballet for 12th grade! I was wondering if anyone has had that experience or has any insight into what it is like coming into the program as a senior? 

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momofaboy

balletdreaming, 

Pinkytoes wrote a long review of her daughter's experience as an incoming senior. It was posted on June 26, 2019. It's on p. 103 of this thread. 

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OCDsi

My daughter just accepted her spot for as an incoming high school junior ballet student (in-state). She has always known she wants to go, but after everything closed down in the state it was hard to make that final decision with all the uncertainty of the world right now. It feels good to know she has a plan for the fall even if it virtual.

For anyone who has a student there now, can you tell me how the virtual learning (academic & ballet) is going?  
 

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bbyblmrs

DD is in her final weeks of her senior year in HS.  The students have been home since early March following Spring break.  Initially the virtual learning was slow to take off as there was the additional  challenge of accommodating throughout the states in different time zones but also from other countries.  DD said that some poor students were having to 'zoom' during the night.  After the first week my DD has definitely established a rhythm to day, much the same as if she had been in school.  So saying there are only a few more weeks before the final exams which means that a lot of the academics is review for the final exams.  As well as having normal academic class each of her teachers offer 'office hours' if additional help is needed.  The teachers have been so supportive as the students have adjusted to the new learning style.

Dance classes are being held on a regular schedule with most of the work being at the 'barre'.  Given that every student's setup is different, lack of space, terrible floors etc there is little to no floor work.  She is still  taking regular technique class, pointe, pilates and a strength class with a ball (I am not sure what they call that).  Occasional the teachers share a 'Zoom' snapshot and it's great to see all of the students in their various rooms.  I am sure come the start of the next school year they will be masters of Zoom ballet. 

All the best to all the Newbies, I am sure you will look back at UNCSA as fondly as my dear girl.

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dhddandme

balletdreaming, 

I'm sorry it took me for a long time to respond to your post. My daughter was accepted as a HS senior to the UNCSA HS Ballet program last year and will be graduating next week. Congratulations to you, my DD told me she heard that there were a lot fewer acceptances (among which is yours) for the coming school year. I discussed with DD pros and cons of entering this school as senior as follows.

There are Level 1-6 at UNCSA for HS and College dancers combined. HS juniors and seniors as well as college students are placed somewhere between 4-6, to fit their academic class schedule. My daughter was placed in Level 4, judged after the first full week of placement classes. Level 4 this year was half college freshman students and half juniors and seniors from HS, with a few who were repeating the level coming out of injuries, total of 20 or so dancers. Teachers don't know newcomers as much as others in the same level who had been there longer, which is one of the cons. However my DD feels her instructors were quick to identify what type of dancer she is, her weaknesses and strengths. She was told that she could have been placed at a higher level but her main instructor wanted to keep her at 4 so she could get rid of bad habits and polish her technique. A couple one-on-one meetings were held during each semester and so what she did well and needed more to improve was very clearly communicated to her. 

Being able to dance in a big stage such as Nutcracker and other recitals at Stevens Center is decided by audition or by instructors' selection, not by level you are in. This year particularly there were about 1/4 of Level 4 dancers were selected to perform in the Nut and Winter Dance Recital. You may be given relatively smaller roles because you are still unknown to the faculty members who are directing each stage (I believe that was the case with DD). If you are not selected for the big stage, you'd be in Rep recitals at a smaller but beautiful theater on campus. Either way you will be in a lot of rehearsals schedule of which is announced weekly, this will keep you busy. 

While many students who have been there since freshman year graduate and move on to different schools/paths, starting a new as a senior I think has a lot of advantages if one decides to stay for the college (which my DD decided to do.) For one, since you are basically earning the college level credits (dance classes are your 100 level electives) as a HS student, you could finish college in 3 years (kind of like you are already a college freshman).  

HS academic program I highly recommend. Teachers are wonderful and communicate with students and parents very closely. Its relatively small class size definitely is a plus and my DD enjoyed class discussions which were not easy at her hometown high school with a lot more students in class. She took 2 AP classes, and teachers were wonderful. One downside is their AP classes are not weighted (no "5"s that would bring up your GPA). This may not be a big issue to continue on to UNCSA college, but if you are applying to more academic-oriented colleges, this could really hurt (we do know this from our DD's experience).  

One other small (but could be significant) downside of starting as a senior is that many senior friends (she became close to through her academic classes and living in the same dorm) will graduate to move on to somewhere else. My DD's close friends from her ballet level are a year younger, with whom she spends most of the hours in studio AND in the dorm. So she is a bit anxious not knowing what it would be like to move on to her new dorm alone as a college student in August (college and high school dorms are completely separate and you are not allowed into college dorm if you are a high school student or vice versa).

Besides starting as a senior, I'd like to note a couple other things.

Cafeteria food is pretty good- I believe more nutritious choices are available compared to average American college campuses.

The availability of PT. You can make appointments to meet with physical therapists on campus who know about issues particular to dancers. It's part of the medical fee you pay to school, there is no extra cost for each appointment. This is huge! 

In terms of how the students' body image issue is handled, there were a couple of "weigh-in" occasions, and they are supposed to watch dancers' significant weight gain/loss, but I'm not sure how closely or strictly this has been managed. My DD is not particularly thin or thick, and the weight issue was not brought up by anyone. My personal observation of dancers tells me the school is pretty "hands-off" of these dancers' weight issue, but I could be wrong.

After the Covid-19 spread, my DD came back (since spring break in early March) but has continued their Zoom daily technique class. It is an unfortunate situation, but I've been amazed by the enthusiasm of the instructor and her classmates. I am so thankful for the encouragement and praise that the instructor gives to the class to get through this uncertain time, and personal corrections she gives to each dancer through the Zoom monitor.  

Finally, you could read others' posts, which we did last year, to learn different experiences, and above is solely based on my DD's (and mine as parent) personal experience. As someone wrote, you could be one amazing dancer at your home studio who needs to spread your wings into a bigger world, and come to this school with so many talented dancers only to realize that you are actually tiny fish in a huge pond. My DD went into her senior year knowing this and indeed found many dancers who are more advanced, with techniques at a higher level, some even at a younger age. However, she felt she received close personal attention herself, given opportunities to show what she's got, and was recognized as someone who has potential. The faculty has seen and educated enough dancers- I can tell they want you to succeed, and they will tell you what you need to improve to achieve your goal. DD also realized that each of these other talented dancers has her own strengths and weaknesses also, and works hard to improve each day. These dancer friends support each other. I think it's a wonderful environment. I hope you will feel the same once you join the school. Good luck and enjoy!   

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