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Ballet Talk for Dancers

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I do. We live here, so upon learning that, Judy Rice and Bill DeYoung (who taught my daughter at Joffrey Midwest) both invited my daughter to be a guest student in the department during her high school years. My daughter was only able to take them up on their offer for her junior year, as their dance classes are all during the day, so it meant piling up her freshman and sophomore schedules in order to free up the last period of the day.

 

DD's involvement with UofM's dance department was fabulous. Besides taking ballet with Judy Rice, she also made herself available for student choreography pieces and was cast in both a fall and spring piece. This exposed her to all levels of the undergraduates as well as graduate students in the department, plus the entire faculty who assembled for the showings and gave critiques. (Rather than leaving after her piece was shown, my daughter stuck around for all the pieces and took notes on the feedback.) My daughter also studied modern with Peter Sparling, another faculty member, through his studio in the community.

 

My daughter adored the teachers and their teaching styles. Movement, in their view, always had a purpose. This isn't a department that goes in for tricks and fads. The teachers are all creative dynamos and my daughter became very inspired to continue learning about choreography.

 

As you may know, the program is definitely modern based, with ballet being a major component. Unfortunately for my daughter, there isn't any decent jazz training to speak of, except what is offered to the Musical Theater majors. The department prides itself on having many students who are double majoring in other fields - as far removed as astrophysics. It's the kind of department where you are pretty much able to get out of it what you want. If you want a performing career (in modern), there are certainly graduates who have gone on to big name companies. If you want to become a lawyer, you can do that, too. With the students, themselves, going every which way, it then falls to the individual student to keep themselves on target.

 

My daughter fell in love with the college atmosphere, so although Bill DeYoung made a big pitch for my daughter to stay and start as a freshman the following year, she decided to take off for programs that offered a triple emphasis in ballet, modern and jazz. She still has a huge soft spot for UofM's dance department and misses them greatly.

 

If you have any other questions, feel free to ask and I'll do my best to answer.

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  • 4 months later...

Would you happen to know how many freshmen the dance department accepts every year? As played out in the U.S. Supreme Court -U of M is somewhat difficult to get into. Do you know the average GPA and SAT of accepted freshmen?

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As played out in the U.S. Supreme Court -U of M is somewhat difficult to get into.

I'm hoping you don't intend it, dancedreams, but that's a statement with potential to offend.

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Actually, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the old undergraduate "point" system was unconstitutional, so the effect of the ruling was mixed in a lot of ways. They ruled that the Law School's admissions process was fine, so UofM changed their undergraduate process to be more like the Law School's - with more essays. If I recall correctly, my daughter had to write a long one, a shorter one, and two separate paragraph responses. Those essays had the effect of reducing the amount of applicants, but it appears that it made that pool of applicants more motivated to attend UofM. So when UofM continued to accept the same number of people as the previous years, more students showed up out of that acceptance group, creating record-breaking entering classes for two years in a row. So, yes, I guess now the UofM is finally going to recalculate their acceptances in order to issue fewer of them, but that's not a direct result of the court's ruling.

 

In any case, most of that is besides the point when it comes to getting accepted into the School of Music at UofM, which is by audition. So when it comes to grades and scores, students mostly have to be concerned with making the minimum: a "B" average in academic courses, and an SAT of 1100 in Critical Thinking and Math, or 1650 including the new Writing component. (See the School of Music Academic Preparation & Class Profile page.) Hence, my daughter got accepted to the dance department with a lower SAT score than my son, who got wait-listed under the old point system (and who wasn't applying as a music student).

 

The Dance Department has four studios, so although I have no knowledge of the exact count of the BFA students, I suppose it's about 100, with 25 freshmen. But more students are accepted than those who actually attend. And the pool of applicants who apply to UofM is not the same as those who apply to places like NYU and Butler. I was struck by this year's bios of the dancers in their big, annual show of the large proportion of freshmen from Michigan. And I can tell you that Michigan is no Virginia when it comes to the availability of top-notch dance training.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest jackie n

Dance dreams,

 

The U of M is a great school academically and its dance dept has a wonderful rep as a modern school. AS far as getting in, the School of Music has its own process for admission, a student must have the minimum to tackle the rigors of UM's academics, but after that it is talent.

 

My DD spent 2 weeks at a summer program and fell in love with the staff and program. She applied to both LSA and School of Music as a dual enroll (2 separate degrees). While she was accepted to LSA (biochemistry) she was not accepted into the dance program. It is true that the past 2 years the university has over extended themselves with admissions and the result is that this year the school has had a record making # of applications and therefore the SMALLEST acceptance rate in the history of the university (I believe around 45%). I spoke to one of the dance professors, she told me they have had an unusual high number of highly qualified dancers this year and coupled with space issues, they were accepting only 15 students as compared to their normal 25, this program is highly competitive!

 

She was accepted to a smaller program also in Michigan, but has her heart set on Ann Arbor. My DD has decided to attend UofM, she was offered a full tuition academic scholarship, and to continue studying dance through a local studio, then re-audition next year. We're crossing our fingers.

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  • 2 years later...

Does anyone have any recent information about this program. I know they have a new chair of the dance program. Looking for information about the admission process...how many students apply, what the acceptance rate is, can you double major and how difficult is this, how competitive are the dancers. thanks for any information you can provide.

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I believe the focus of the program is mostly MODERN. Classical ballet is taught (Judy Rice being one of the teachers) but up until this year, main focus has been modern. Just call the dance department and talk to them. :):yes::cool2:

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I am currently working with two of the male dancer's in the U of M dance program; they are performing in our Nutcracker production. Yes, the program is definitely focused on modern. These two young men both have ballet as their primary background(one competed at the Jackson competition last year and attended JKO School). I know for certain that the program does not offer a men's ballet technique class, but they do require ballet technique to be taken over the course of study.

 

I, too, would contact the department. The campus is lovely, and Ann Arbor has a lot of cultural offerings.

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  • 2 years later...

I was wondering if anyone had any recent information on the University of Michigan's dance department. It seems that many of these posts are from a while ago. I understand that it is mostly modern based, but I was wondering if anyone had anything else to offer. How hard is it to get into the program, do students like the program, etc.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I do not have any first hand experience but we do know someone who spent a year there recently as a freshman and was very happy. She had her heart set on Juilliard but did not get in as a freshman. After her year at UofM, she auditioned again at Juilliard and was accepted for her sophmore year. I know how difficult it is to get into Juilliard so I can only think that UofM helped her achieve her goals. Good luck!

Edited by dancemaven
edited to remove complete quote of immediately preceding post.--
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This just in:

 

"The School of Music, Theatre & Dance is proud to announce that our Senior Dance Class will be traveling to New York City to perform at the Baryshnikov Arts Center for a Senior Showcase."

 

May 6-7 at 7:30 pm.

 

More details can be found here and here (including links to the students' bios).

 

(I continue to support UofM's Department of Dance since they did so much for my daughter, so I receive email updates.)

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  • 9 months later...

Hi everyone. My DD, high school senior, was recently accepted to SMTD dance program as well as LSA hoping to dual degree in dance and communication studies at U Mich. She definitely wants to double major where ever she goes. Even though she has always had NYU Tisch as her top choice she is now torn. She absolutely loved the Michigan campus and faculty when we were there for the audition. We won't have an answer from NYU for over a month but her audition last weekend did go very well with much positive feedback during her interview. On the chance she is accepted to Tisch I am looking for opinions on U Mich SMTD vs NYU Tisch. She would double major in Journalism at NYU which her interviewer told her she would be able to do. Thanks for any advice!

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Momalisa, Welcome to BT4D! Glad you found us and we look forward to your participation here. May I suggest that you take a little time to read through our Rules and Policies, as we do work a little differently here than many other boards. It will help you get a feel for how we do things and acquaint you with policies such as, on BT4D we do NOT permit or make direct comparisons of specific programs or make recommendation of one program over another. Rather, we collect, share, and provide empirical information based upon first-hand experiences about the various programs. We leave it to each individual dancer, family and the dancer's teachers to evaluate the various program in light of the empirical information given their personal circumstances, training, goals, etc.

 

We do have dedicated threads on Tisch-NYU, as well as the University of MIchigan program. Exactly how much information will depend on how many of our members have attended or researched either program and reported back to us.

 

This Forum (College programs) is arranged alphabetically, so it will be easy for you to find the programs you and your DD are interested in. As you read the dedicated threads, please do feel free to post additional specific questions about the program on its dedicated thread.

 

Happy reading and Merde on your DD's college search. :)

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