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Dominican University/Lines Ballet: BFA Program

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Yes, thank you so much bananafeet :dry:


Seems like the BFA is at least as good as the trainee program in terms of job placement both within LINES and outside of it.


This is such an intriguing program - as adveritsed - it is rather unique. Also quite selective I assume. Anyone have an idea about how many audition & how have been accepted over the last 4 years of this program?


My dd loves the muscular, intense, freedom she sees in the LINES dancers and aspires to the same - she likes too that they are often on pointe - truely contemporary ballet! Unfortuantely the SI would not be possible for her this summer - maybe one of their Discovery workshops will come to our town?!!

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Also worth mentioning that obtaining Gyrotonic/Gyrokinesis certification as part of the program is possible. The only part of the certification process not included as part of school costs is the 2 wk foundation course, which BFAs have the option to take at a discounted rate during one of the breaks. A nice extra thing to have upon graduation.


Not sure of the number of people who audition, but do know that it grows each year as more people find out about it.

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I have asked the director that information, i.e., how many audition. As I recall, she told me it was about 200 for a class of 15-18. But as Banana Feet said, the number of auditioners is growing as the program becomes more known, but the maximum class size will remain the same. She also said that the students that audition for the LINES BFA are typically looking at Ailey/Fordham, NYU-Tisch, and Juilliard, along with Lines/Dominican This set of programs seems to appeal to the same students.

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Is there a minimum height requirement for the BFA program? I have been told that there is a minimum height requirement of 5'7" for the company and wondered if this was true of the BFA program as well.

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There is no height requirement for the BFA program. Keep in mind, the school program has a broader mission (to train dancers) than a company's audition (to find dancers that fit into the current company's line-up).

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  • 5 weeks later...

My dd has been accepted to this program for next fall. I can't say she fell in love with the college when we visited, but she is very drawn to the training at Lines. Bananafeet, or anyone with experience with the program, I wonder if you could comment on the structure of the program. Are the dancers grouped according to academic year for dance classes? When the classes are held in San Rafael, who teaches? For that matter, who teaches at the lines studios? Do the instructors vary? How are the dance students evaluated for grading purposes? Do most people double major? When we were there on an admittedly very rainy weekend, it looked very empty at Dominican. Is it mainly a commuter school? Do danceres feel involved with the school, or somewhat disconnected from it? Any information would be appreciated, feel free to PM me if you would rather.

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quill, I can't answer all of your questions, but I can answer some of them:


Are the dancers grouped according to academic year for dance classes?

Primarily, by academic year. This year, both the Junior and Senior class are quite small (7-8 dancers each), so some of their classes are combined---which they like. The freshmen and sophomore classes are separate. On Fridays, all four classes are together for ballet, I believe.


You didn't ask, but I will also say that the choreography for performances are also grouped by class---with the exception of the "Senior Choroegraphy" pieces. Each senior is required to choreograph and cast a piece. The casting in these pieces does cross class lines.


When the classes are held in San Rafael, who teaches? For that matter, who teaches at the lines studios?

I don't believe there is a separate faculty for one place or the other. It just depends on what the schedule works out as to which faculty members come out to Marin when. (but it is possible I've missed the correlation, but I've never noted one).


Do the instructors vary?

Yes. There is a core set of ballet faculty (Marina Hotchkiss, Marya Kerr, Greg Dawson) and then a set of faculty that is used in a sort of rotation, depending on the year, semester, discipline. Then there are guest faculty that come in for shorter periods. To a parent, it's a bit confusing, but I believe the dancers may have a sense of pattern.


How are the dance students evaluated for grading purposes?

That's one I can't answer. I've never really asked, I guess.


Do most people double major?

I would say 'no'. I may be wrong, but I don't think so. The reason is that the university is very small. The dancers are in dance classes from 9 a.m. to 1 or 2 p.m. Some of those days (increasingly from freshman to senior year) they will be in SF for their dance classes. The commute back from SF to Marin is anywhere from 30-60 minutes depending on traffic and transportation mode. So, realistically, the dancers are hard pressed to take any non-dance course that is scheduled before 3 p.m. on the days they are 'in the city'.


Because of that logistical fact, the dancers are limited in the courses that are available to them. Effectively, they are precluded from taking the science/lab courses, for instance, because those are scheduled in the morning usually or early afternoon. Most of the classes the dancers are able to take are within the 'Pathways' division, i.e., the adult education division.


It is extremely difficult to double major for no reason other than simple logistics of physical presence and availability of courses. Many do have a minor in another area, which is fairly easy to do, but also has some limitations. Many, for example, are psych minors, but are unable to complete it as a major because of the clinical requirements. An English major would probably be doable. There have been a few who have attempted a biology (or similar) major along with the dance, but so much of the course load had to be done via online courses that it was quite a tricky endeavor.


When we were there on an admittedly very rainy weekend, it looked very empty at Dominican. Is it mainly a commuter school?

Each time I have visited campus, my impression has been similar to yours----except it was always beautiful weather. :wink: The campus does feel rather empty to me and I seldom see many students, but as it is a rather small student body, I guess that is how it would feel.


I believe my DD had decided that the majority of non-dance majors come from Northern California, so a good portion of them do seem to go home on weekends. The dance majors, on the other hand, come from all over the country, so they are not as likely to leave often or easily.


Do danceres feel inved with the school, or somewhat disconnected from it.

The dancers have a very different school-day schedule and experience than the other students. The dancers' schedules begin at 9 a.m. each morning (actually earlier on days they travel to the city for 9 a.m. class) and can go until 9 or 10 p.m. some evenings depending on their academic class schedule. For most of their academic classes, the dancers are in classes more with adult students than with the typical university students. So, I think there is a disconnect for the dancers as regards their non-dance peer group. However, I'm not sure the dancers really feel they are missing out in that regard. And it may be an individual response that would be quite different depending on whom you asked.

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When my DD auditioned there, she was worried about the level of academics, and didn't feel that it was very strong along those lines. However, had LINES accepted her, she would have been greatly tempted. What is your DDs thoughts on the academics. Has she found them challenging enough? I'm just curious as we went round and round about this.

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As a parent who felt (feels) very strongly about academics and having a DD who is/was a very, very strong academic student, I would be less than honest if I brushed tutu2you's question aside. It would simply be one more 'elephant in the room'. So, given that the program is now in its 5th year and will be coming up for accreditation, I think it is only fair to honestly state my perception of that issue.


In a nutshell: No, I do not think the University, as a whole, provides the level of academics we wanted for our DD or what she wanted for herself. When we investigated the school, the University (not the dance) folks specifically told us that as it was a new program for them, one that they were very excited about, they were willing to work individually and hard with the dancers to let them do as much as possible in terms of double majoring, etc. Honestly, I have to say I feel the University folks have fallen far short of those promises.


DD has found particular professors and courses that she has found enlightening, interesting, and stimulating and once she finds these professors, she tends to exhaust all courses offered by them. But, on the whole, her father and I are not impressed.


DD selected this school exclusively for the dance program. It was the only one that she wanted and she was willing to 'deal with' everything else about the college. Other dance programs simply did not intrigue her or interest her once she found this one.

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Thanks, dancemaven. You have confirmed our impression, but like your DD, her own goal for the college was to be in the Alonzo King LINES BFA program. The one thing that did worry her was the commute. Having spend four years with close to a three hour commute to school and dance, the thought of four more years with that much driving/down time did not appeal. Hope your DD is enjoying the dance that is offered and is flourishing.

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Thank you so much for your very informative posts. We're having a hard time getting comfortable with the academics at many dance programs, but especially this one (the transit time adds another constraint to scheduling). Like yours, our dd is a gifted academic student and it is very important to her to have the academics be meaningful--it doesn't have to be the greatest college in the world but she would like the availability of rigorous classes in her areas of interest--sciences. It's perplexing now that we are considering the decision actually, rather than hypothetically. The willingness of you and others who have shared privately to give the benefit of your experience is so, so helpful. Like so many aspects of this process, I guess we need to wait until all the options are presented and then decide. At least college programs all have the same decision dates, unlike SIs, so we are not dealing with conflicting deadlines.


Can you say anything else about the type of accreditation this BFA program is eligible for?

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I don't know exactly where they stand in the process, but it is my understanding that it is the accreditation that the dance programs at the college level want. Again, I don't really know the specifics, but it is my understanding that they are nearing that point where the accreditation committee (or whomever) will begin the 'visits'. I don't even know what that governing body is and I certainly don't know a thing about the criteria needed. But the program does have to have been in existence for a certain length of time before they can even begin the process.


I'm sure Marina Hotchkiss would be happy to answer those questions.

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  • 9 months later...

There are hefty academic scholarships to be had at Dominican if you're a good student, fyi.


But, can you get an "academic" scholarship if you are a dance major?

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Yes, you can get an academic scholarship as a dance major. My daughter was offered roughly half tuition, if I recall correctly--they have a calculator on the Dominican website that you feed your grade and test score information into and it estimates what the offer will be. We found that to be accurate.

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