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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Tisch School of the Arts at New York University

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Not sure if the scores are a problem or not. My son got in and I remember 1700 as his score. However, it maybe they needed more guys that year. He also had no ap classes, but did have a couple of college level classes on his application. I'm on my 3rd college going son and it seems that there is no real rhyme or reason to the selection process. I think it has to do with the alignment of the stars when the admissions selection committee gets up in the morning of the day they decide.

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It's funny coming back to this thread and seeing myself post a comment about visiting the school last year, and now here I am...finished with my first year at Tisch dance.


The program is really what you make of it. It is indeed pretty evenly focused between ballet and modern, with more of a shift towards modern when it comes down to classes that are not directly technique (improv, comp, etc.).


A full ballet technique class is required 5 days a week followed by modern 4 days a week. On Fridays ballet class is extended. Within this you have the option of also taking pointe class and partnering either on or off pointe. Other classes required within dance credits...

1st year- dance composition, music theory, anatomy

2nd year- dance composition, music history, dance history, acting, improvisation

3rd year- dance composition


There's also a lot of opportunity to choreograph and set your own work with 5 student choreographed showings during the year.


You can choose to dance at Tisch by either 4 years (a typical degree process) or 3 years plus two, six week summer programs in which 6 different dance companies residing in New York come to work with students.


When it comes down to classes such as improv and composition, I would say yes Tisch is more of a modern dance school. But if you also want a good ballet program or want to focus on contemporary ballet after college it can still definitely be a right fit. Cherylyn, the new chair, is very much ballet focused and has her own contemporary ballet company. The rep that the 3rd years do for their main concert spans from pointe work, to classic modern, to "downtown" modern dance.


As for academics, the classes at NYU are hard in general. It's a very demanding school. But in the end like anything else it's really what you make of it. Yes, you must fit certain academic requirements to get into Tisch but I'm not sure how strict they stick to guidelines when it comes to SATs and AP courses. If you don't have fancy test scores to back you up I would say try to write a really nice essay to submit. Also, about tuition, yes Tisch is expensive. I would say that tuition and housing at NYC schools are very pricey in general and seem to fall almost even with each other...but if you're comparing the prices of NYU to a state university yes differences are great. Scholarships are limited. I don't think there is one male dancer in my class that doesn't have a decent scholarship but it's more limited for women.


Double majoring/minoring is allowed within the College of Arts and Sciences which is the general college. That crosses off fields within teaching, art, business, some sciences, etc. There are some minoring exceptions within Tisch and Stern. You can work out producing minors and some pre business courses. It all kind of depends.


Anymore questions? Feel free to ask.

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Thank you 32fouettes! My dd is going into her freshman year at Tisch and is very excited. You hit on every question I had...


Thank you and good luck!

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My daughter and I just visited Tisch/NYU at the open house this past weekend and were very impressed by both the rigor of the program and warmth of the faculty and students. What I can't quite get my head around is the fit between the conservatory program and the academics offered at the other NYU colleges, but more on that in a minute.


Here's the sample schedule described (levels are assigned by audition, not class year):





BREAK for academics between 1:30 and 3:30

more dance or dance-related classes (both partnering and pointe are offered)

Rehearsals (sometimes until 10pm)


Students rotate through instructors every 7 weeks, and between the rotations there's a week with a reduced dance schedule -- the "seventh inning stretch" (recently introduced) -- that allows everyone to catch up and recharge (great idea!). The 3-year program consists of three academic years plus two summers; during the third year students become members of the "2nd Avenue Dance Company" (along with the MFA students) and are exempted from morning dance classes -- giving them more time to finish up the academic requirements.


I'm wondering if 32fouettes (or anyone else) would comment on the value they see in being within the NYU community? Degree requirements outside the major are very minimal, and most required courses seem to be offered within Tisch itself. Does being at NYU make a positive impact on your experience? Are the academics inspiring? or do they just feel hard to manage, and hard to fit into a very intense dance schedule?


My daughter is interested in science and would like to double major (and would most likely complete the program in 4 years, not the 3 plus 2 summers). Are there functioning students able to make this work? How does the schedule break down if the program is completed in 4 years? Somehow I doubt there are fewer dance classes years 1 and 2, but perhaps there are 2 years with the "2nd ave dance company" (and reduced dance class requirements). Or would the 4th year be strictly for academics?

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First of all, I would say that the college experience at NYU, like any other school, is what you make of it. I've seen my peers use their credits on, might I say, worthless courses. Others stick to dance and take classes that really interest them. Some also double major while many try to minor in something else.


Credits beyond dance are divided as follows: 2 social sciences, 2 humanities, 2 extra course, and 1 freshman writing course entitled "Writing the Essay" which all freshman at NYU have to take unless they're a transfer student.


Evening dance department courses include dance academics: comp, improv, acting, music theory, music history, dance history, etc. The department also has an optional course called CC and D in which dancers (choreographers), set designers, music composers, and costumes designers all within Tisch collaborate to produce a dance performance.


I have decided to use my non-dance courses to double major in journalism. It will though, require me to take some extra credits. This is why a lot of students simply minor in something because you can usually fulfill these requirements with your 6 non-dance courses.


I'm going to be honest...Tisch is a conservatory setting which simply means most of your interaction is going to be within the dance department. That's what is basically required when earning a BFA. If a student is looking for more of a traditional academic balance, then maybe a BA is right for him or her.


That being said, how do I feel about the academics? So far, I have had a very positive experience. Professors here are very accommodating with your dance schedule run ins and always love having Tisch students in their classes. Trying to complete a double major, it has been very difficult to fit into my dance schedule since it's so blocked in. But NYU is a large university, so classes are offered all day long. Also, the benefit of not beginning technique until the afternoon of your third year is being able to take courses scheduled during the morning hours which are taken up the first two years by your technique classes.


This is kind of a novelette...but hopefully it helps. If you have anymore questions just ask!


I'm going to say that I only know of one person choosing the 4 year option. It happens very rarely simply because the summer program is such an amazing experience and well...most people are here to dance so they would rather get in and get out while they are young. If you do four years your schedule would be the same, you just wouldn't take the summer course. I have no clue what you would do the fourth year. I've just personally never seen it done.

Edited by 32fouettes
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Thank you so much 32fouettes -- I know you're busy!


The summer programs do, indeed, sound incredibly wonderful. Her idea was to participate during the summers as well, but take the full 4 years to complete a joint BFA / BA (or BS) and take advantage of the academics available. This might be wishful and naive thinking!


As a parent, I have to wonder about spending so much in tuition for what appears, at first glance at least, like only ballet school. But I'm sure it's more than that -- I just can't put my finger on what exactly it is! I'm really interested in the philosophy behind putting a dance conservatory program within a liberal arts school. There are clearly wonderful choreographers drawn to working with Tisch students -- and clearly it attracts a certain kind of dancer.


In any case, thank you again for your thoughtful response.

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Well almost every dance degree out there is associated with a liberal arts school, unless you strictly attend a conservatory (Juilliard, Boston Conservatory, North Carolina School of the Arts, etc). But all of the other large programs are directly affiliated with a University no matter what kind of dance program you choose (Indiana University, Butler, Fordham/Ailey, Lines/Dominican, SUNY Purchase, University of Utah, the list goes on).

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32fouettes, You're absolutely right. I guess my comment was indeed a broader one and not just related to Tisch -- but given how academically competitive NYU is, the issue is simply a little pointier there, so to speak.


The Lines / Dominican BFA program is an interesting case. Given that Lines has a post-grad, dance-only program as well (the 2-year Lines Ballet Training Program), I'm really curious what the differences are between the two (other than that with one, some -- but it seems, not many -- academics are taken). Is something different expected of the dancers in the BFA program? Or does the BFA program just attract a different kind of dancer?


Similarly, I wonder if dance is approached in a different way within a college setting? Do you find your training at Tisch to be very different from your pre-professional (high school) program?


My question is really more qualitative -- and I hope not too confusing!

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BAT, your questions regarding the two Lines Ballet post-grad programs are good ones--but they need to be addressed on the threads for those programs not here on Tisch's thread. :lol:


So for more information on the LBSTP (formerly LBSET), check the thread in the Second Company, Trainee, Apprentice, and Post-Grad program forum: Lines Ballet School Training Program and for the Dominican University/Lines Ballet BFA, check in this forum.


Not to go too far off topic, but to answer you briefly, based upon DD's experiences with both (actually all) Lines' programs, we can tell you there are true differences in the two programs.

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I would say my dance experiences during high school and college are completely different. Before college, I studied at a ballet school that dealt mostly with Vaganova technique. We took modern once a week and did some contemporary work, but it was nothing compared to the amount of modern we take at Tisch. There of course, are some different approaches to dance in general between my two schools of training. I would say a huge different between Tisch and my prior training is that they take an extremely healthy approach to dance and are very injury cautious and find it very important to teach dancers how to take care of themselves in such a strenuous setting. We study a lot of release technique and many people who teach the style are very anatomically conscious. We don't just imitate movement, but learn how our bodies work and how to get them to do what they want in the most natural healthy way.


I would also say that Tisch doesn't just pop out technical dancers who can pull out any trick. They focus on making a well rounded artist who dances, choreographs, and creates in his or her own personal way. It's not about just getting dancers into big companies. There's a bigger picture there and I think that is what makes the school so different.


I'm a believer that college is not for everyone. But for me, I enjoy academics and I cannot imagine a life without dance. Tisch has helped me discover what kind of dancer I really am and how I like to move. I would never choose anything else for myself.

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32 fouettes: Would you say many of your classmates , like you, had limited exposure to modern dance before coming to Tisch? Did you do a classical solo for your audition? Thanks!

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Our class is definitely a mix of students from many different backgrounds. We have dancers who studied only ballet and had never or barely taken modern prior to NYU. We have dancers who were trained in the competition world. We have dancers who went to performing arts high schools where they learned a wide variety of dance. We even have a few exceptions who have trained mainly under styles like ballroom and Chinese dance. I think Tisch, like any school, looks from training, technique, talent, and potential. But they also look for the dancer that catches their eye, shows passion, and commitment that technique and style cannot teach.


Come to think of it, most classes that enter Tisch start out in the lowest two levels of modern which ballet is usually pretty mixed.


For my audition I did contemporary pointe solo. I know "contemporary" is pretty broad to say, so I would narrow it down by saying it was somewhere in the middle of the two ends (the ends being Balanchine neoclassical versus extremely contemporary pointework).


I would say that at Tisch, there isn't a certain style of dancer they're looking for unlike many other schools. Even though it has a large modern focus, don't strike yourself out because you're a ballerina. And even though the chair is very ballet focused and technical, don't strike yourself out if you don't think your technique is perfectly clean. I would also say that the program is what you want to turn it into. If you want to focus a little more on ballet and pointe work, that option is there with additional pointe, variation, and partnering classes. But if know you can't stand modern, remember that you have to take it four days a week, and a lot of the rep is more contemporary work. That said, I thought I wouldn't be able to handle all that modern, but here I am now absolutely loving it!

Edited by 32fouettes
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