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Ballet Talk for Dancers

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  • lil lindsay


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My DD auditioned for Mercyhurst and was considering a double major. Though difficult they said they have had dancers double major and are willing to work with the student. However they cautioned that some majors were almost impossible to double in such as interior design which is what my daughter is interested in.

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Did they happen to mention if Graphic Design is included in the impossible double major list? Dd is interested in Mercyhurst because of their advertised possibility to have another major/minor.

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  • 1 month later...

Hi! I graduated from Mercyhurst about four years ago now (time flies!) so I can assist in providing some additional information. I don't know about Graphic Design, I can't recall anyone pursuing that as a double major. Dance majors in the past however have double majored in the following:

- Political Science

- Math Education

- Psychology

- Biochemistry

- Arts Administration (minor)

- Art Therapy (minor)

- Business Administration (major and minor I believe)

- Education

- Religious Studies

- Pre-Vet


One of my classmates had severe back problems sophomore year and had to stop dancing. She was able to work with the school to create a major in conjunction with the sports med department, Dance Kinesiology. She is now pursuing her PhD. in physical therapy and is going to specialize in dancer-specific injuries.


In my opinion, there are a lot of options available to dancers who are interested in majoring or minoring in another field. Also, here's a list of companies and organizations that recent grads (over the past 5-7 years) have been accepted to:


- St. Louis Ballet (One is currently a corps member, and one of my good friends and college roommate is a principal dancer. Another Mercyhurst grad danced as a corps member for a couple of years)

- Nashville Ballet (both the second company and the main company)

- North Carolina Dance Theatre (main company and second company)

- Milwaukee Ballet II

- Ballet Theatre of Maryland

- Atlanta Festival Ballet

- Montgomery Ballet Theatre

- Dance USA

- NYU Grad program

- Jose Mateo's Ballet Theatre

- Ohio Dance Theatre

- Missouri Contemporary Ballet

- Bodiography

- Ballet Memphis (Jr. Company mistress)

- Chattanooga Ballet

- Manassas Ballet Theatre

- Various cruise ships

- Sesame Street Live

- Disney

- Among others, I know I didn't capture everything!


I think Mercyhurst is a great school not only because of their outstanding ballet-concentrated program, but for students who are also academically-focused, there are a lot of opportunities outside of the dance realm. For myself, I chose not to go the professional company route entirely, but focused on teaching, and also got a job (and a promotion!) with a Fortune 500 company where I make decent money and also have the ability to dance and teach on the side. Apparently my boss liked me so much, he wanted to hire "another me" and took on one of my Mercyhurst colleagues after her contract with Nashville Ballet II was up. I didn't major or minor in anything else, but I attribute my success outside of the dance world to all of my rigorous and disciplined dance training, and high level attention to detail (which all dancers possess!!).


To answer someone else's question about how many hours a week a high-level student would be dancing, is that it can vary. When I was there, ballet was offered 4 days a week, rehearsals varied from 2-4 days a week, and additional elective dance classes offered 1-2 days a week. If you are selected to dance with the Lake Erie Ballet, there are additional rehearsals during the week and on Saturdays. I also believe that Saturday morning class is also open to dance majors as well. There are also open classes at night (2 days a week). Balletgirl22sk, can your daughter provide additional insight on what a typical week looks like today?


Hopefully this information is helpful!

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I hope this doesn't sound like a silly question, but as Mercyhurst is a Catholic school, would a non-Catholic feel out of place at all?


Also any current students out there with more specifics of a typical schedule?



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My dd is a senior and has not felt out of place. As a freshman, they had to take a religion course, but I think it was only one. She and her friends do not go to church.

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  • 1 month later...

My daughter is a junior this year and was recently at a Regional RDA event where she received an acceptance letter from Mercyhurst College for their dance program. My question is does anyone know how "do-able" it is to double major in a science and ballet? She is planning to become a Physician Assistant (graduate level) and it requires alot of science/lab coursework for pre-requisites. The two colleges we have already visited have told her it is almost impossible to do a double major with those two things (Biology and Ballet) because of the scheduling problem of the two required classes conflicting i.e. dance classes and trying to take sciences with labs. Has anyone at Mercyhurst done such a double major and if so, how well does it work out scheduling?

Also, what is the performance opportunities like at Mercyhurst?

Does anyone know about the summer intensive there?


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This thread is so helpful! DD is barely 14, but time flies and I know we'll soon be faced with these questions!


So, a hearty "thank you" to all for sharing their insight!

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It is doable to do a double major in science and dance at Mercyhurst. One of my very good friends double majored in dance and biochemistry while we were there, so I'm sure it can be done. I don't remember how it worked out scheduling-wise, but anytime you double major, it's going to be very time consuming.


As far as performance opportunities go, there are a lot! The department does three productions a year: a fall production (generally a combination of classical ballet, contemporary/modern pieces), winter production which is all student choreography, and the spring production is typically a classical ballet (we've done full-length Coppelia, Vivi Flindt from the Royal Danish Ballet came and set La Sylphide, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Giselle, etc.). In addition to those productions, all students (whether you're in the company or not) have the opportunity to perform with the Lake Erie Ballet in their Nutcracker production, and also perform with a couple of local modern companies including SoMar Danceworks.


The summer intensive started this past summer so unfortunately I can't speak for that. Looks great though! Bruce Marks came in last summer to teach and choreograph I believe.

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  • 7 months later...

Can anyone comment on a comparison between Mercyhurst's ballet program and the ballet programs at TCU and OU? My daughter was accepted into Mercyhurst for Fall 2011 through a RDA festival in Texas. She just got her acceptance letter today. We do not know much about the "level" of the ballet program and wanted to know if anyone can comment to it. We know that OU is ranked in the top 3 in the nation. We appreciate any advice! She wants to double major because she plans to attend Physician Assistant school later to become a PA specializing in orthopedics and dancer injury.


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We know that OU is ranked in the top 3 in the nation.


This is a bit off topic here and the issue of direct comparisons has been addressed, but unless things have changed from four years ago when my dd went through this process, I am not aware of any ranking system for the schools. We found during our travels that most of the schools were touting a ranking which changed when we went to the next school.

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My dd is a hs senior and is applying to colleges now. I have done a lot of research on this and while there are a dozen or so colleges/universities that are generally mentioned the most frequently as having strong ballet programs, I have found no specific rankings of such schools. I would be very skeptical of any such rankings, because I think within this group of schools, it becomes a very subjective, personal choice as to which one is best for you.

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Thank you to everyone who has replied. I guess I was not supposed to ask about comparisons on dance programs so I will end this thread now. I appreciate any info. on the colleges we are looking at and am only interested in the quality of each program. Again, thank you all!

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Kim, although we do not permit direct comparisons among programs, we DO want members to make their own evaluations and comparisons for their own dancer. I'm sensing that you are misunderstanding our rules and policies.


As you have now found the dedicated threads for the individual programs you and your dancers are interested in, please do feel free to ask questions regarding those programs on their own threads. For instance, on THIS thread, post any questions you may have about Mercyhurst's program, be it the dance faculty, the program's curriculum, the students' experiences, performance opportunities, academic schedule and rigor, etc.


In short, ask questions that will elicit the information YOU need in order to evaluate the program for yourself. Then do likewise on the other programs' threads.

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