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Does anyone have any first hand information on the University of Utah Ballet program? It's my daughter's dream school but after her trials and tribulations at her home school :thumbsup: (modern based, no ballet major) she's afraid to audition. She would be a transfer student if she did apply. Would love to hear more about this college.

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My daughter was a high school concurrent student in the ballet department and was very pleased with the classes and instructors. I posted previously about the program as post #19 on this thread.


Please let me know if you have any specific questions but I do know that the website is very informative and that there are now performance, teaching and choreography emphasis choices.


Also, technique class is 2 hours long. My DD reminded me today that I have become senile.

Edited by rubiraven
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rubiraven, I have copied your very helpful information from that general thread on the other forum within this section:


My daughter was a concurrent high school student at the University of Utah.  There is a fairly comprehensive website that discusses the performance, choreography or education focus for the undergraduates and there is a masters program as well.  I do not have stats for the admissions.  There is an audition and a placement class.  The dance majors have technique class each day for 1.5 hours, pointe class on MWF for 1 hours and partnering is on T and Th for an additional hour.  There were about 25 max in the classes when DD was there and the instructors are all wonderful and easy to talk to.  There are conferences each semester and goals are set and assessed. 


I saw her become more technical secure and she was able to grow as an artist.  There are performance opportunities each semester in Ballet Showcase, with student choreographed works and Ballet Ensemble, with pieces choreographed by facualty or classics.


The Utah Ballet is the top group for performance majors and they also perform 2 times a year.  Ballet West used to choose extras for their performances from the U but now that there is a Ballet West II, I don't know if they still do that.


I hope that this is helpful.

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Thanks :wacko: I think I read a thread somewhere on here of a parent (besides Rubiraven, thanks for your info :blushing: and thank you BW for making a separate heading for Utah) that had a daughter starting college there this semester. I'm hoping she'll share some insights on this program when her daughter gets settled in.

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From the Higher Education thread: College ballet programs: Details, Details & More :

My daughter will be attending University of Utah as a freshman in 2 weeks.  She is a ballet major.  All dancers start as ballet majors and then pick the emphasis their sophomore year.  Utah has 3 emphasis, performance, character or pedagogy.  She was accepted to Mercyhurst and Butler but decided on Utah.  These were the only schools she auditioned for.  Each one was different in their approach to dance, size of the department and size of the college.  We spent many months going over the schools websites.  Hope this helps!  I would be happy to answer any other questions you may have.



Out of curiosity, how many students are ballet majors at the University of Utah?


I believe there are about 100 ballet majors give or take depending on the year.  I don't know how many freshmen but will know in a few weeks.  I was told there were 16 seniors graduating.  I believe they look to accept 25-30 freshmen knowing not all will be attending.  But again this depends on the year.


P.S. I found this along with other references to "Utah" by using the search function! :blushing:

Edited by BW
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  • 3 months later...

Alumni have joined:


Ballet West

Austin Ballet

Repertory Dance Theatre

Nevada Dance Theater

Richmond Ballet

Nashville Ballet

Roxey Ballet

City Ballet of San Diego

Utah Ballet

Ballet Pacifica

Tucson Ballet

Bodiography Dance Company

Aspen/Santa Fe Ballet

Greensboro Ballet

Theater Ballet NYC,

The Royal Ballet

Boston Ballet

National Ballet Maryland

Charleston Ballet Theatre



Odyssey 2

Bodiography Dance Company

Disney Tokyo

Radio City Hall Rockettes

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  • 1 month later...

My dd is home and filled out the survey:




Describe the audition/application process.


Apply to the university first after receiving your acceptance then schedule your audition. There are only 2. Once in the audition they may divide you into two groups depending on how many are auditioning. This usually happens in the spring. Then 1 ½ ballet followed with ½ hour pointe.


How many dance majors?


80 -100 depending on the year.


How many dance minors?




How many applicants to the dance program annually?


Approximately 120


How many Freshman are accepted?


2005-2006 – 28 entered the program in the fall


Of those, how many are 1st year post high school Freshman? (separating those from ‘older’ freshman)




How many men in the program?




Must students be accepted to the college or university before applying to the dance program, or vice versa?


Must be accepted by the university first.


If admission to the school is not required before applying to the dance program, must ANY paperwork be in process, before auditioning?




Are the entrance requirements for dancers the same as all other applicants to the school?




Does the program seem to have stringent body type requirements?




Are there scholarship/financial aid opportunities specifically for dancers?







Describe the studio/performance facilities.


There are 3 large studios and the performance hall is beautiful and inside the dance building.


What is the approximate number of performance opportunities each year?


Potentially 2 for freshman.


Who choreographs/directs the above performances?


Different faculty members direct and supervise the performances. They also choose the student choreography for these 2 shows.


What ratio of ballet, modern, jazz or other forms of dance are included in these performances?


A good mix of all.


How is casting done?


Student choreographers


What is the climate of this program (supportive/friendly or highly competitive)?


Moderately competitive


Is there an elite upper division touring/performing company within the department?




Are there choreography projects available for students?




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


Ballet West performances and touring companies.


What nutrition/health counseling is available?


Available if needed


What medical facilities/physical therapy is available?


Medical clinics, offices and hospital on campus


Describe the culture at this program (warm, cold, competitive, nurturing, professional, etc.)




Is there anything unique or that might be helpful regarding the audition process or the audition itself?


Show confidence and showmanship



List ballet faculty members.


Check the Utah website


How often does each teacher actually teach class?


Freshman faculty teach all classes


How many hours of ballet classes per week are required?




How many ballet classes a week are offered?




How many technique classes are required of those in other forms of dance (such as modern)?


1 character freshman year


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


Ballet and character


What dance requirements are there other than technique classes?


Music, Acting for dancers, Ballet injuries


What degrees are offered within the Dance program?




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




Is Pilates certification available through your program for dance majors?








How rigorous are the academics in dance-related, non-technique classes?


Moderately rigorous


How rigorous are the academic courses?


Depends on the class but as rigorous as any other large university


What is the ratio of academic requirements to studio hours?





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


Yes for both


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




Is there a dance minor? If yes, please complete these questions:




Are minors allowed to take major classes?




What is the ratio of first time or beginning dancers in the minor classes?




Are the minor classes significant enough that a minor can still dance after college?




Are non-majors allowed to take technique classes?




As a practical matter, can non-majors get into technique classes (or are they filled with dance majors by the time non-majors can register)?






Is career counseling/job placement assistance offered?




If yes, at what year does that counseling start?


End of junior year


What does the counseling include?


Will let you know when I’m a junior


How often do company director's visit the school for viewings?


Don’t know just entering my second semester of freshman year


How common is it for students to leave the school to join companies prior to graduation?


Rare but it has happened


Do any dancers from this program go on to professional performing careers? Teaching careers?


Yes to both


Who are recent guest artists or companies who have been in residence at the school?


Hubbard Street, Aspen Santa Fe


For students graduating from this program who do not go on to dance professionally, what kind of jobs/careers do they go into?


Unsure potentially teaching

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University of Utah seems to have a really good program...

Does anyone know how competitive it is? I mean, how many people audition for the program, and how many get in?

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From the post above yours:

How many applicants (apply) to the dance program annually?


Approximately 120


How many Freshman are accepted?


2005-2006 – 28 entered the program in the fall


Of those, how many are 1st year post high school Freshman? (separating those from ‘older’ freshman)



is a pretty good start at answering your question. Compare and contrast information about all of the college programs you're considering. You may have to ask the programs directly for their number of applicants vs the number who are accepted and enroll.
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  • 3 months later...
Guest pointewelltaken

Any new info on Univ of Utah's program? Surely many have auditioned for a spot for next year...anyone decided to accept and attend?


Also, I wonder if the relationship between the University and Ballet West (if there really is/was any) will change for the better or worse since Kage is leaving...?


Would love any input, we're keeping and eye on this program.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest BackRowJoe
Any new info on Univ of Utah's program? Surely many have auditioned for a spot for next year...anyone decided to accept and attend?


Also, I wonder if the relationship between the University and Ballet West (if there really is/was any) will change for the better or worse since Kage is leaving...?


Would love any input, we're keeping and eye on this program.


Well, I can't report on anything yet, but my daughter decided to attend Univ of Utah next year. I am just hoping that my daughter will be in a good place to continue her training...she auditioned for jobs everywhere this winter (no contract) and, although she was offered merit scholarships at each of the four "dance universities" she auditioned for, she still has the feeling in the back of her mind that going to college as a dance major somehow suggests that she is a failure. So she enters the Univ with mixed feelings.


She is hoping that she will be promoted into the University's company (Utah Ballet) as soon as possible. One of the factors that was weighed when she made her school decision was the perception of how exclusive the program is. (Sounds snobby, but don't mean it that way. It has more to do with quality) For example, Indiana has approximately 40-ish students vs Utah's 100-ish. But Utah's company numbers 20-something, while all the Indiana majors are performance. Other factors that weighed in were the cost of tuition, the size of the scholarships, etc. She was able to see performances from each school, either on video or by attendance. The performances did not totally affect her decision. She will have to adjust to having a mixture of styles on stage vs just one.


In all candidness, none of the schools were able to convince us that they did anything better than any other to help their graduates secure a professional contract somewhere.


Yes, it will be interesting to see what impact a new AD will have on the "relationship" with BW and the University. (I like how you phrased your post...."if there really is/was...." Only time will tell.


At the "end of the day" she really thought SLC was a beautiful place and the people were friendly. So she'll be going to SLC in August. I'll be able to report more after she arrives.

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Re: BW & U of U...

I don't believe any U dancers have been in any BW performances for the past 2 years (since my dd has been with BW). I know that now that BW has a second company the BWII kids are used alot. Who knows what changes will come?

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  • 2 months later...

Obviously I cannot summarize a whole year of pain and frustration into one topic, but I felt obligated to elt others know what I went through so that they might save themselves a lot of pain and time.



I was accepted into the University with a scholarship and placed into the Utah Ballet Company. The Artistic Director at this time was a man named Atila Fiszere. Foreign and very russian. The first week of school involved a placement class and all of the dancers were weighed. I was a little shocked by the whole "Weigh In" process and should have seen it as a warning sign but did not. The school places an enormous emphasis on weight. In my classes I felt I was receiving little to no attention from the AD of the company who taught a majority of my classes. His corrections were often unhelpful and harassing. Usually he wouldn't even give me a correction. He would just say something was "bad" and move on. After a few weeks of classes casting went up for the company's first show. I wasn't cast in anything. I had a meeting with the head of the departent Carol Iwasaki, and was taken out of the company and placed in the lowest level of technique classes. Kind of strange huh? Thoughout the year the dancers have conferences where the faculty evaluate you and tell you how youre doing. During the first conference a bunch of the girls were asked to lose weight. All of my conferences were pretty good after I moved to the low level. In my last conference though they asked me not to come back in the fall. They said that I was too stylized and that I was untrainable. They told me to stop dancing and pursue another career. It was very hard to hear and they told me at the end of april. long after application and audition dates for other programs were even thinkable. I only performed once the whole year and that was in a student choreographed piece. Several dancers in my class didn't perform at all even though they auditioned and were promised performance oppurtunities. Some of the faculty are very nice and helpful. But some of them are very cruel and flippant with the feelings of dancers. One in particular was accused on many accounts of harrasing dancers (VERY inappropriately). People in the program joke about starvig themselves to get into the company. While not all of the dancers in the company are stick thin it does seem to me that the emphasis is based on body type over technique. Some of the girls in the highest level of technique were not in the company simply because of their body type. While this is to be expected in the ballet world, in a university program one would expect some variance. These girls aren't fat either, just not anorexically skinny. In class teachers picked favorites and only worked with those dancers. The teachers chose their favorites early on and those are the ones that will make it through the program. A lot of dancers left throughout the year. I think that out of 25 or so dancers 8 left. Some were forced to leave, many chose to leave. If you have any questions about the program I would be happy to talk to you! Just PM me back with anything

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I am sorry to hear about your experiences at Univ. of Utah. But, I do appreciate your honesty in sharing your experiences with us. I hope that you will find a program better suited to your needs. Please keep us posted! :thumbsup:

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  • 4 months later...

I have been in the department for two and half years now, this is my second year in the Utah Ballet company, and I must say that the picture painted above is not what most people experience. No, weight is not a huge issue here. The professors take note of the dancers' weight upon arrival so that they can (and do) address any issues of extreme and immediate weight loss or gain. I have heard of counseling on both issues, and I agreed with the professors decisions there. Body types, including weight, range greatly and do not prohibit dancers from being promoted or brought into the company. The professors are encouraging and helpful, and a vast majority of students see great improvement here. As with all schools, universities, companies, etc., it may not be for everyone. Yes, some dancers are unhappy and choose to leave. Some truly do not fit the program and cannot meet its standards, and therefore are dropped from the program. But I feel that it is a good fit for motivated, career-track students who really want to be here.


A note about career counseling-

There is a class that is required for the major that deals with resume preparation and such. I just completed this class, and we were all personally counseled on what to include and how to effectively organize our resumes, for performance and teaching jobs as well as graduate schools. We did cover letters, went over the points of a contract that a dancer needs to look for, discussed and practiced interviews, and did a bit of discussion on finances and savings. All dancers making performance resumes had photo shoots with a wonderful photographer on stage in professional quality costumes. As for working with companies, each year, Aspen Santa Fe Ballet takes a couple of our dancers for the last couple of weeks of the semester to participate (and get paid) in their Nutcracker, performing corps and soloist roles.


To elaborate upon performance opportunities-

There are two student choreographed shows each year, usually ten to fifteen pieces, which are a great opportunity for choreographers and dancers of all levels to get involved and get good experiences. For the company, there are two performances each year also. For the other three levels, there is one performance in the spring done by the faculty and guest choreographers. All dancers not in the company are welcome to audition, and every effort is made to include all dancers. Some years this is possible, but sometimes a small handful of students are cast as understudies. There is also the Character Dance Ensemble which consists of character emphasis dancers(many dancers complete multiple emphases) which performs, I believe, twice a year at the university. This group also does a lot of outside performing and tours often, last summer to China and this summer to Russia.


Dance requirements outside of ballet-a year of jazz, modern, and character for performance emphasis, and I think that one less semester of either jazz or modern is required of teaching emphasis. I think. Don't take my word on that.


Hope this is helpful, let me know if you have any questions!

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