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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Non Dance Majors/Prepro ballet training off campus

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Treefrog, that is NUTS about the Boston Ballet conversation!! In my opinion, that mostly just reflects badly on Boston Ballet and has not much to do with reality. I know tons of college kids in that area who are regulars at open classes and who find various performance opportunities. I know an awesome and talented professional dancer who has her degree from Harvard University - non-dance major. Finished her degree and then went on to pursue her ballet career, which seems to be going great.


Sure, it's not that common, but I think that may just be because the dance world doesn't place all that much emphasis on the importance of continuing formal education and all the young dancers are too excited about joining a company to want to go to college. Which is fine. But there's nothing wrong with going to school to develop skills other than ballet! It will make you a more well-rounded person and will give you many more career options when your dancing days are over... :wacko:

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These stories are so encouraging! Vagansmom, I was looking at Carnegie Mellon (I'll be a junior this fall but I'm trying to plan ahead), but their website doesn't say much about dance. Where was your daughter planning to go for ballet if she was accepted? Is there some way to go pre-pro or pro with Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre while at Carnegie Mellon?

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My dd has brought up several concerns about dancing off-campus when she goes away to college next Fall. Besides the obvious transportation issues, she is worried about the lack of performance opportunities if she is relegated to adult open classes. She is concerned that her usual pre-pro division classes won't be available to her due to scheduling conflicts and that adult open classes may be her only option and maybe not challenging enough. She has also pointed out that she would miss the social opportunities that dancing in a university class could provide. Some of her best friends have always been in/from her ballet studio, particularly as her social hours have been rather limited! Any thoughts or suggestions on these concerns as she continues to struggle with the whole ballet company vs. college issue as it is would be helpful.

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This dancing off campus option is certainly not for everyone, and the concerns about transportation, etc. are certainly valid. Please note the "fab six" and top ten lists of college programs that really accommodate a dancer's needs right on campus and for credit. Some BT4D posters describing off campus programs also list transportation options. As to friends, this is one of the things that is bound to change somewhat in college—especially if the student is moving away from home. Students in a residential college will associate with roommates and others living in their dorm, as well as eventually other students in their academic department (in the fab 6 or top ten this department may be dance). Extracurricular activities can also provide new friends. Often first years are housed together and make friends within their class. Dd will probably also find a way to keep in touch with longtime ballet friends from the studio at home as well.


I have another tidbit of info related to the behavior Treefrog's husband unfortunately endured. Our experience at the Boston Ballet School's Boston studio seems to be very different from what he experienced at the Newtonville studio. Could this be because the higher pre-pro classes are centered here in Boston only? Whatever the reason, this fall my dd has found the Boston studio principal and faculty to be very caring and accommodating to advanced students also attending college. I know that more than one Boston area college student is currently enrolled in the advanced level (the highest "trainee" level schedule simply would not work with college), and the faculty seem very understanding and supportive. Maybe it's the difference between the different studios. Just wanted to give a heads up on this one.

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DD is also looking into this option for college. Most of the pre-pro schools near colleges she is considering have classes that begin after 4 pm, unless they are trainee level and those classes seem to start earlier. So, it may be necessary to just take the advanced level classes with high schoolers; we have a couple who do this at our home school.

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Rereading this thread I noticed biner6's very informative post from last April and I wanted to update some info:


about the Stanford info: With a car and an appropriate college schedule, students could supplement their Stanford on campus classes with excellent training in Palo Alto (I think you would need a car or a buddy with transportation, but I am not familiar with the public transportation options) at the Zohar Dance studio. Their website lists ongoing classes with advanced level classes four mornings per week.




Christine Elliot, who teaches at Stanford and Zohar, gives a very good class that will be challenging, with lots of attention and sufficient personal corrections without favoritism. Ms Elliot was an ABT soloist. The new teacher with the Royal Ballet connection looks impressive as well, but I don't have a dancer who has attended her class.


Maybe someone can post about public transportation in Palo Alto.


I can also say I've seen a Stanford student (very nice dancer) over the course of a year who maintained impressive technique with this mix of on and off campus classes under Ms. Elliot's instruction. :D This would be a good class for student's visiting to check out if they are exploring this non-dance major option.


Here's a link to the Stanford program:




on the Brown info: Ditto having seen (with my own eyes) another fine dancer who maintained her impressive technique with the Festival Ballet training option. :sweating:


on the Harvard info: An awesome set of on campus options is available this fall in addition to the options mentioned by biners last spring. A November program on the Loeb Mainstage will include an all dance program with a pice in Ballanchine style plus a variety of prestigious modern forms (Twyla Tharpe, Martha Graham, José Limon, Mark Morris, Fosse, and others) being set by impressive professional dancers working directly with the Harvard dancers. These professionals are coming to Cambridge from around the country and are spending many hours in the studio to the great benefit of the students. Add to this the participation of New York City Ballet's Heather Watts and Damien Woetzel year round and Katy Tracey coming in to set Serenade. In addition the November show will include selections from "Who Cares?" This may be a one time thing, but is an invaluable opportunity for the students (just think about the cost and difficulty of getting all these permissions!) and an example of the current direction of dance at Harvard. :P Maybe this reflects the fact that the first year class includes students who have worked professionally with New York City Ballet, Oregon Ballet Theatre, Peninsula Ballet, and an award winning pre-pro student from Dance Theatre of Harlem.




Good luck to everyone at BT4D this year with the college application process and making your

dance/higher ed decisions. :sweating::thumbsup::yes:

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This thread has some highly encouraging and useful information on it, does anyone know how much this still applies?


Some, on this thread and others, have mentioned going to Princeton University while training at ARB. Does anyone know if this refers to their pre-professional program or Trainee program? The Trainee program looks heavily concentrated during the day and integrated with the company, so I don't think so, but the website says their pre-pro training program is for high school students.

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