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Virginia Colleges


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Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. Their program is supposedly more modern, but dancers supplement with classes at Richmond Ballet. Academics seem to be OK, too. There's been some talk on this board about it, but I did a search and came up empty.

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  • 3 weeks later...

You might want to check out JMU and Radford as well. Although I don't have firsthand experience with either, I've heard good things about both. The academics should be decent as well. It's certainly not UVA, but solid enough.

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My previous instructor's daughter currently attends JMU in their ballet program. JMU is very well known in Virginia and nationwide for it's quality education. The daughter came and taught one of our classes at my old studio and she was TOUGH. So if that is any indication of the training she's getting there, I assume it is pretty good.


Also, a girl at my current company attends Radford in their ballet program. She is just unbelievably talented and puts us all to shame when she comes in on breaks and takes classes with us. She has also helped me tremendously in private on some things. Radford also has a very good academic reputation.


Another school that has a dance program is Virginia Intermont College. I think you can concentrate in ballet or modern there. They are a private liberal arts college, small campus, in a small city (50,000). Classes there can be supplemented by coming to our company classes (our AD helped found the ballet program and taught there for 17 years). Their dance program used to be really good, but I honestly haven't heard very much about it recently.

Edited by WendyMichelle
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Guest plee-a

Sweet Briar College and Hollins College are both private colleges for girls in the western part of Virginia and I've read that they have pretty good dance programs. William and Mary also has a dance program and is a good school if you are also really interested in academics. They focus on modern dance, but their group is good.

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  • 2 weeks later...

WendyMichelle, would you PM me the name of your friend? I probably know her...


I go to Radford, and I have witnessed the product of some of the other dance programs in the state, and I can say with confidence that if it's ballet you want, Radford's got the best program in Virginia, hands down. It's probably the only one where ballet and modern have equal footing, at least as far as I can judge.


They just hired two new ballet teachers here, both graduates of the Vaganova Academy in Russia, and both excellent. All of the faculty really cares about the students, and that really impressed me. I know that I can go to any of my teachers about anything, and I think that that connection is very important. There are 4 performance opportunities every year: One is entirely modern, one is entirely ballet (alternates Nutcracker and mixed rep, every other year), one is mixed, and one is all student choreography. (Here's the department web page: http://dance.asp.radford.edu/)


Hollins and VCU are more focused on modern and Shenandoah has an excellent dance ed program, but their ballet's not so hot from what my friend (a recent graduate) tells me. Sweetbriar was at the last ACDF, and I wasn't impressed with them, to be honest. William & Mary's program is only a minor, and I want to say that JMU's is as well, but I'm not postitive about that (I have a friend there who is a former dancer and I know she's taken a few classes; I'll ask her). Christopher Newport University is taking major steps to improve the quality of its arts offerings, but I don't know much about it yet. I want to go check it out at some point, just to see. If it's not good now, I think it just needs time to build. ODU used to have a good program 10 years ago, but I don't know what it's like now. You never hear anything about them, and besides that, Norfolk is a scary place, IMO (so is Richmond). Virginia Intermont also had a good program 10 years ago, but from what I hear from people who live in Bristol, it's gone way downhill and not worth your time to look at. George Mason has a strong modern program; I don't know what their ballet is like. That's about all I know.

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Thanks! I will have to ask my brother if he knows of anyone at Radford that likes the dance program, because he goes to that school!

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  • 3 weeks later...

I would say Radford University not many people know about Radford's dance department. They are equally good in modern and ballet. We also have a really good dance education program (BS) with liscencure in teaching in the public schools. Along with BFA in both ballet and Modern and a BA. I am a senior at Radford and Radford has changed alot in the past year. We got three new teachers. two in ballet and one a modern teacher who is also head of the dance education department. Three faculty members retired two in the spring of 05 and one in the fall of 05. Also we have a new President of the school President Kyle. Either you love her or you don't. But there are alot of changes that she is making with the school in general.



This year we won ACDF mid atlantic region gala. we are going to nationals in may at the Kennedy Center. Also one of our dancers were nominated for best dancer by dance magazine. Our ballet teacher and modern teacher teach classes during the conference.


Our teachers are very supportive. I feel like I can go to them for anything.


We have a few alumni that have gone on to professional dance company one girl who graduated spring 05 is dancing with Kentucky Ballet Theater another who graduated in spring 04 is dancing with San Diego Ballet. I had a ballet teacher who graduated from Radford around 97 who danced with Ballet Theater of Maryland. I am not sure where else other alumni have danced.


Hollins is more modern based that is what one of my teachers say. They also have a fairly new grad school. What is good about hollins is the connections you will make modern wise. Also they are affiliated with ADF American Dance Festival. I believe that most of the colleges in Virginia are modern based.

Edited by dancinqueen812
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I think your best bet is researching the schools online. Calling up the schools talking to dance teachers even try to talk to students. You should also try to visit the schools that you are interested in. Here is a link about touring RU ru tours I believe there may be another open house April 22nd but I am not sure

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dancinqueen812: I just tried to PM you, but it didn't work.


Edited by moderator to remove user's name.

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dancingqueen does not yet have enough posts to qualify for PMs. At 30 posts, you can PM one another.


Until then, please remember this is NOT a chat room. It is a forum for the substantive discussion of ballet topics. We prefer that names are kept private here on BT to protect your privacy and safety. :D

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  • 2 weeks later...

Randolph-Macon Woman's College has an EXCELLENT dance program, surprisingly enough. While it is modern based, we have a strong ballet program, too.


Our head of department is Pam Risenhoover who danced with the Graham Dance Company and graduated with her BFA in Ballet from Julliard.


We have the Visiting Artist Program where we bring in choreographers and teachers such as Susan Marshall (who received a macarthur grant) and Diane Gray (ex associate director of the Graham School and ex principal dancer with the Graham company). Trisha Brown's people came down and taught a class and performed here last semester with Ms. Brown herself giving a mini lecture between pieces. Sonny Robinson from Dance Theater of Harlem came down and taught ballet, etc. Those are only the big names. Many of the visiting artists who come here are amazing and its wonderful to get a feel for different types of choreography.


For those who talked about Hollins and Sweet Briar. [Comments deleted because they were not based upon first-hand experience as required by BT policy---dancemaven].


I don't really know anything about Sweet Briar's dance program. I've seen the dance studios and they're pretty spacious and I think there's two or three of them, but I don't know anything about the caliber of the program.


All I know is that I am in love with RMWC's program and its very intense but also very inviting and nurturing.

Edited by dancemaven
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