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Ballet Talk for Dancers

University of California, Irvine

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  • dancemaven


  • DegasDancer


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Ranked by whom? and based upon what critieria? I know of no 'official' ranking for the various ballet major/dance major college programs. I've never seen anything like a US News & World Report ranking like they do for colleges in general or the Newsweek High School rankings.


Everyone has their own concept of the rankings--depending on what critieria is important to them.


If anyone has ever seen a printed 'ranking' with stated criteria, please do direct us to it. :)

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I have been trying to search for some kind of US News & World Report ranking for college dance programs, but I have not found any. I'm just wondering if anyone has heard of this statement before because it does seem... a little sketchy since I know that dance programs at different universities consist of different requirements.

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Well, let's put it this way: In the scheme of dance program discussions, in all the years I've had my ears and eyes open for information on such things, I have never seen or heard UC--Irvine included in a list of programs with the likes of Juilliard, Butler, IU, SMU, TCU, Utah, or the more recent up-and-comers such as CCM, Arizona, Florida State, Point Park or others.


Doesn't mean the program isn't a 'hidden gem', but I'd say at least at this point in time, it is not a well-known star.


In the end, you really must trust yourself to know (in large part) what you are seeking and evaluate the programs that interest you against your own personal criteria for what is important to you.


Even the US News & World Reports rankings aren't definitive in terms of what school would be a good fit for any one individual students. That all depends on what you need and what you want and what is your learning style, interests, and desires.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I'm at UCI and have never heard any talk about their dance dept. rank in comparison with the well-known programs and have definitely never heard anyone say it is right behind Juilliard. Sounds like someone's opinion or speculation. I did a lot of research in checking out dance departments of schools in California when I decided to go the college route. There are a lot of schools with dance programs, but I only found two where I truly felt they were strong in ballet, I'd have good performance opportunities (have been in both shows so far, with two later in the Spring) and would keep me in line for a job after graduation. The other is in Northern Cal. attached to a small college. I'm happy to have found a "gem" in my home state that allowed me to make this work financially.


Good luck to those waiting to hear about acceptance! I heard during the third week of March last year.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Well, let's put it this way: In the scheme of dance program discussions, in all the years I've had my ears and eyes open for information on such things, I have never seen or heard UC--Irvine included in a list of programs with the likes of Juilliard, Butler, IU, SMU, TCU, Utah, or the more recent up-and-comers such as CCM, Arizona, Florida State, Point Park or others.


What college is CCM, please?


(Moderator, please move to the correct forum if appropriate, and I apologize for not knowing where to place the question.)

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  • 5 months later...

Just saw that the Boston Ballet has hired a UCI grad! Her Bio says she participated in NCI, the National Choreographer's Initiative at UCI for 3 years. I was fortunate to be able to attend this event on July 31st. What an incredible performance. They hired 16 dancers from many different companies and had two understudies that are currently two of the dance majors at UCI. Everyone did an amazing job and I have to say that I was thrilled to see two of my fellow dance majors doing such a great job! Yes, the understudies got to perform! Molly Lynch was the AD and she is one of the main reasons that I chose UCI.

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  • 6 months later...

DegasDancer or Cordelia, are you still out there?

My daughter was just accepted into the Dance major at UCI and we have similar questions to those you asked in 2009 when you were researching colleges. She is now in a similar dilemma of choosing the best fit for next fall. Would you be willing to update how your UCI experience has turned out?

Here are a few questions that we have:


Are you happy with your decision in choosing UCI? Would you make the same decision knowing what you do today about the program?


Are you happy with your dance classes and instructors? Challenged and improving? Is the program ballet oriented enough for a classically trained dancer?


Did you end up in the “dancers” dorm your first year? Would you recommend it?


How would you describe your college experience outside of the dance program? UCI is frequently categorized as a commuter school. Have you found it to be a well-rounded experience, with varying social opportunities and friends in other majors, or are you totally immersed in dance?


DD is fortunate that she has until May 1 to make the final decision – it’s a big one, and we’d appreciate any insight you could give. Thanks!

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Any UC Irvine - ballet major students out there ????


Can you also please tell us how many hours did you dance as a freshman, and later. Is pointe optional or do you have a real class - how many hours a week. What is your usual schedule



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My DD is interested in auditioning for UCI next year. I was on their site and it appears to me that they only have one audition day. Does that sound right to anyone? I didn't see any off site auditions or the option to send a video. Does anyone know?

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It was just one auditon date. If you are from CA you need to come to school. It's a crazy long day. This year they had 221 dancers.

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Its a crazy process!


First you have to apply to UC system by 11/30. Then you have additional materials that had to be submitted by early January which included resume, performance history, SI history, years of training in different style and with who....

Audition was on 1/22 - check in at 7AM. When we arrived at 6:50AM my daughter got audition number 71. No warm-up class was given, kids had studio available until 8AM to strech/warm-up on their own. It was packed, there was no space to put the bag down.

They were all in studio, and three routines were explained and marked to first 20, then additional 20 joined in and did the routine with music and teacher, then 20 more with teacher and then 20 more but teacher did show it any more. Teacher was not answering any questions (when asked), there were some TA, but not too much help. So kids were left to practice those 3 ballet combinations and called in groups of 20 after 11AM to perform.

As the ballet groups were coming back modern variations were explained, after 2nd group you had to learn it from other kids auditioning. They practiced it until after lunch and performed in front of panel of teachers in groups of 20 again

After that Jazz routine happened, only 30 minutes was given to practice. Everyone was coming out disappointed how poorly they did on variations - including my DD.

Auditions lasted until 5PM for us. I would assume that last people were done at 6ish.


There were kids out of state. I am not sure about video. I think there was a form that explained what has to be on DVD - but CA residents HAVE TO DO audition.


During morning they had a meeting for parents. They answered all the questions that group of 100 had. It looks like a very competitive program. They get aprox. 300 applications, and in fall aprox. 45 dancers come to school as dance major. Back-up option is applying as arts undeclared and then auditioning year later for ballet major again.


They do not send separate acceptance like other schools do, so you will never know if you didn't get in because your dance was terrible or you didn't have academics/SAT to get into school.


We are waiting for decision, its top 2 schools for my DD to go to.


If you need more answers, let me know and I can try to figure it out.


Good luck

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