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Ballet Talk for Dancers

University of California, Irvine

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Thank you everyone.  DD (and her parents) are trying to weigh all the options, and this gives us a few things to consider.

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  • 4 weeks later...
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To help future DKs interested in UCI...

DDs audition experience:

Registration started early 7:30 am.  We arrived at 7:35 and there was a line.  Numbers were given out in order of who is in line; first person got number 1, second person got number 2. There were about 130 people in DDs audition, split in three groups and  warmed up with short but thorough ballet barre.   Recombined and then split into 2 groups afterward based on the number (1-65 and 66-130).  DD was in first group of about 60+ dancers.  The group of 60 or so was taught 3 ballet combos (adagio, petit allegro, grand allegro).  The group was split further into 3 medium groups of about 20+.  They had time to practice the combos and then one group at a time were called into another studio with a panel of judges.   These groups were split further into about 7 or so for center work and about 4 or so for across the floor.  They did the combos once.  Then they were taught 2 modern combos (one across the floor, one center), they got practice, and were judged.  Repeat for 1 long jazz combo.  They had an hour lunch somewhere in there too.  Schedule time to finish was around 4/4:30, but they were running early.  The teachers were trying to really get done, so DD's large group did not get much practice time for the jazz combo.  She was done at 2:30

Parents were told during the parent meeting that the judges circled a number 1-4 during each genre of dance and the scores were totaled.  The judges were looking for a certain number (which they didn't tell us) for acceptance.  Also they would make exceptions if a dancer got all 4s in one genre but didn't do well in the others, the dancer would still be accepted based on their strength in the one genre.

DD's number was in the upper 50s and she said this was an advantage for her.  She was in the first large group of 60+, but the third group within this one.  This gave her extra time to practice before being judged which was especially useful for the jazz portion.  Since she was among the first 60 or so dancers, she was done earlier too.  However, it might be difficult to time getting just the right number, especially if you don't know exactly how many dancers are auditioning and how they are being separated.  But DD recommends not being one of the first 25.

UCI program (what I remember from the parent meeting):

  • This is a three pronged program in ballet, jazz, and modern.  All students are expected to be proficient in all three forms, but do not need to take all three every trimester. 
  • The BFA is either performance or choreography, but students said it is easy to major in both.
  • About a quarter to a third of the students were also majoring in another field (political science, French, psychology were some mentioned)
  • Must be accepted to both the dance department and the university.
  • They aim for about 30-35 dancers in each year.
  • Performance opportunities in undergrad shows and with grad student choreography.
  • Merit scholarships are NOT given until the dancer is in the program.  The staff says they want to see how the students are at the university before deciding who gets a scholarship.  They are usually given for dedication, determination, etc.

Campus observations - my self tour:

  • Large, beautiful, safe, bike friendly.  Pedestrian/bike bridges connect various parts of the campus that are separated by busy streets.
  • There is a large theater on campus, several libraries, and small eateries scattered around (many closed on weekends).
  • Arts complex is slightly separated from other academic area.  There were dorms right next to the arts complex.  The other academics are about a 10  minute walk away.
  • There is a new outdoor mall with lots of food choices, mini Target, and other stores.  This is open to the public too.
  • Main portion of campus had a very large circular park in the middle, with paths connecting opposite sides. 
  • Campus was mostly quiet on the Saturday we were there, with the exception of the mall area, which was moderately busy.  There were a few students walking and biking around or sitting in random outdoor seating areas around campus.   One small group of students was playing drums in the park area.  Also many of the smaller cafés were closed.  The weather was beautiful, sunny and low 60s in January (okay maybe it was a bit cold for Californians walking around with winter jackets :D.)  I expected to see more students for such a large campus, not sure where they all were.


DD has decided not to go to UCI, but this is mostly due to the out of state tuition and lack of scholarship availability.  She thought the program itself was excellent, and enjoyed the audition.




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Have you heard from the dance dept regarding acceptance?  My dd was accepted to the university but I don't think she's heard from the dance dept yet.

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The major was in the acceptance DD got back in February.  If your DD was accepted to the dance department it will say in the acceptance letter that she was accepted as a dance major.  However, if it says she was accepted as a math, biology, political science, business, etc major, then she was not accepted to the dance department.

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And I suppose it would say "undeclared" if she was accepted to the university but not the dance program.  I'll have her check that.  I'm just curious if she was accepted to the dance dept. 

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Interesting, the letter did not have any information about her major at all.  It didn't state undeclared either.  She went to her account online and it showed her major as dance.  So just in case others might be waiting for an acceptance letter for dance, you won't get a separate letter but it should be online in your dks account.

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  • 2 years later...

I'm curious what percentage of dancers who audition are accepted?  Does anyone have that info?  TIA!

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Ibanitt, from my memory they specifically did not mention a percentage that they would accept.  When they total the scores from the audition, they have a cut off number (I got the impression that number is basically the same year to year), though they make allowances for students who are exceptional in one dance genre.   I'm not sure what happens if there is an especially talented group of dancers or sparsely talented group of dancers auditioning that year, but they implied it didn't matter to them, the cut off number was set.

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Ibanitt...that was our impression this last year when my DK auditioned.  It is not a small number but it is a small number of those that audition--we were surprised at how many people were there.  Ultimately, DK decided to continue training intensively outside of college but what I would say is that the whole department and college at Irvine was really helpful all the way through the process of having to make that decision and we would go through the audition process again for what Irvine offers both in and beyond dance.

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  • 2 months later...

Thank you!  My daughter auditions via zoom on Saturday, so we are keeping our fingers and toes crossed!

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