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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Northern Illinois University

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Back in the 1990s, I was impressed by the small but serious dance department at Northern Illinois University. I was surprised to find so ambitious a department out in rural Illinois. They've turned out some professional dancers. Perhaps it should be included on this site.






Randall Newsom

Judith Quirk Chitwood

Paula Frasz

Karen Williamson

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  • 1 year later...

Ahh Randall..I dare anybody not to adore him :D

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  • 2 years later...

I recently attended a presentation about the dance program at Northern Illinois University, so I thought I would update the information here. This is a ballet-modern focused program that is within the College of Fine and Performing Arts, the Department of Theater and Dance. It is a non-audition program, however those interested in scholarships must audition for those at a date in February. There is a major and a minor in dance. Majors are required to take daily ballet and modern classes, and classes are offered in pointe, partnering, variations, character and jazz. Typically dancers take their academic classes before 11 in the morning and the dance classes begin at 11. The dance majors are usually in class until 5 pm and have evening and weekend rehearsals. The school has about 45 dance majors. Class size is 15-20. All students may audition for all productions. There are 4 productions each year--2 of student work and two set by faculty. The program usually stages at least one full length ballet per year. Students are evaluated each semester by a faculty panel, and a proficency review is conducted before formal admission to the major. Double majors are available and encouraged, but may take longer than 4 years to complete due to the time demands of the dance program. The previously mentioned Randall Newsome retired last year, however there is a new faculty member from San Francisco Ballet. There website is really confusing, but the department head seemed very approachable, and encouraged interested students to come and spend a day taking class.

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  • 5 years later...

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