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University of Missouri @ Kansas City

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Is anyone familiar with the dance program at the University of Missouri @ Kansas City (UMKC)? :) I have searched the forums & didn't find any prior posts. I heard about their program from an SI friend I saw @ another audition. Any info would be appreciated -

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  • calamitous


  • golconda




  • tutu2you


I don't know anything specifically about the dance program, but I have a comment. Yesterday we attended a Paul Taylor 2 performance. Two on the dancers (of six) were graduates of UMKC with B.F.A. Both were great dancers...modern, so perhaps the program is geared toward modern dance.


I also know UMKC is a fine university. I had many high school friends who attended and graduated with various degrees. I spent a year in KC and loved the city! :)

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  • 4 weeks later...

Maybe one of the awesome mods could move this to Colleges & Universities forum; it may get better response there.

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  • 1 year later...

No personal experience but my dd's friend is a freshman there this year and loves it. Not much help am I but I know she is a dance major and loves it.

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My son was thinking of auditioning because he loves Jennifer Medina but I'm not sure about the entire program and he probably won't apply. A young man from his residency program is a freshman there and is very happy.

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I don't have any firsthand knowledge of the program. I do know that Jennifer Medina set a piece last year at my son's residency and one of the seniors went to UMKC because of her. He is quite happy from what my son hears to the degree that several of this year's seniors auditioned for next year. But I really don't know much else. I do know that the young man who went is quite good but I don't know about the other dancers in the program And those who auditioned this year for next year are quite good as well. But again I haven't seen the the other dancers to know the general level of the dancers in the program.

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  • 4 months later...

Our DD has decided to attend University of Missouri---Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance. She will pursue a BFA in dance and perhaps double major in French. This is a performance-oriented, balanced program in ballet and modern, with the option of concentrating on one or the other or both. However, proficiency in both is required, as well as in choreography. Dancers take ballet and modern every day. The program has placed dancers in both ballet and modern dance companies (see their website for the list...). UMKC's curriculum is perfect for my DD, as although she may very well end up being a modern dancer (right now she thinks her ideal company is Paul Taylor), she wanted to continue intensive training and performing in ballet. As for the double major, the faculty encourage this, saying that many students do this with communication, psychology, education, etc.. and that the only science double majors are really impossible (because of all the extra lab time...). It is tricky to double major in terms of scheduling, but at least the department is willing to work with the student to allow it to happen (such as switching dance classes to accomodate another academic class).


UMKC appears to have MANY performance opportunities on campus as separate dance concerts, in coordination with the music department, and in the local community with other ballet (e.g. KCB for their Nutcracker) and contemporary dance companies. For example, in March we saw an amazing dance performance to a live recital of Schoenberg's Pierrot Luniare, choreographed by faculty member Jennifer Medina, that was a part of the Conservatory's three day Schoenberg retrospective; this past weekend was the Dance Department's spring dance concert which included "Paquita"; and in May there are performances of UMKC's resident contemporary dance company. We were told that the department has gotten permission to perform "The Four Temperaments"---we are hoping this will happen next year. Also, from what we can tell, students are allowed release time for engagements outside of the school.


We are so impressed with the faculty, who not only are continuing to be active performers and choreographers,but also seem extremely supportive and nurturing. At DD's audition they made it clear that they were personally invested in helping every student fulfill his/her potential and reach career goals. The students, too, were also very friendly and encouraging, expressing interest in DD and the possibility of her attending. In fact, the whole atmosphere in the dance department appeared very special to us---and apparently also to DD's roommate from WSB last summer who will be going to UMKC this fall.


I might also add that we have been astonished with the responsiveness of the school and this includes professors from the Arts and Sciences College as well as administrative staff. Although it is a public university, I have always been able to speak or receive an email from a person right away. Moreover, the dance department told us that they want to be sure that every admitted student who wants to attend the school can do so (gets some sort of scholarship support). Even though we did not qualify for financial aid, DD received a merit scholarship--these are numerous at the school and not only allow for in-state tuition but also an extra yearly financial stipend towards tuition.


UMKC's campus is lovely with a mixture of old and new buildings and is near Country Club Plaza. The new Oak Street dorms are beautiful and apartments are opening this year for sophomores and up. The school has a reputation of being somewhat of a commuter school because of all the professional divisions, but the school is working to change this. Consequently, UMKC does not appear to be much of a party/sports type school---so this could be a minus for some people. Fortunately, there seems to be a lot to do in KC, though of course, I expect my DD to be spending her weekends working on her academics! :)


The Conservatory of Music has a very long history in Kansas City (preceding the University)and was founded in I think, 1906. The Dance department was added in the 50's and has ties to KCB. In fact, excellence in the visual and performing arts is one of the three foundational missions of UMKC (the other two are urban planning /issues, and health sciences). The Performing Arts Center on campus has something going on (music, theater) almost every day and is supposed to be getting additional space with construction starting next year. Also, the new Kansas City Kauffman Performing Arts Center will be finished soon, and of course there is the new addition to the Nelson-Atkins museum. Before visiting, we did not know the city at all, but our impression is the arts are BIG in Kansas City!


We are very excited that DD has found a great program that is a wonderful 'fit' for her, and feel so lucky that in addition, the campus, dorms, and city are truly fantastic!

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  • 1 year later...

Ok, my DD has just completed her freshman year at the UMKC Conservatory pursuing a BFA (modern and ballet) and so I thought I'd report to everyone (hopefully she will do so as well) about how it has gone.


In a nutshell---DD has had a fantastic year! She feels that her instruction has been outstanding and she has improved so very much! She says that the program is demanding, but at the same time nurturing. She has said that the teaching has been some of the finest she has ever encountered (DD came from a very well respected pre-professional school and attended SI's such as WSB, and PBT) . There have been many performance opportunities for all the students (not reliant upon seniority), both formal (faculty choreographed concerts, KCB, etc...) and informal ( community dance performances at the Nelson-Atkins museum or for childrens groups...). Visiting master classes this year have included Battleworks, Elie Lazar (Montgomery Ballet and Joffrey Ensemble), and Deeply Rooted. I had the opportunity to see the spring faculty concert a couple of weeks ago and can attest to the overall high caliber of dancing for that program (a mix of classic and contemporary ballet and modern) and the wonderful faculty choreography.


As for recent news for the conservatory---the dance department received accreditation from the NASD last year. They have apparently hired Ronn Tice (formerly a dancer at RWB and ABT) for next year as an additional faculty member to specifically work with the men's classes. DD reported to me (moderators, please delete if this is considered hearsay) that the new Dean of the Conservatory has a goal of keeping the dance department small (40 women and 20 men) and this has affected the acceptances for next year (the department currently has about 80 students). In other words, the program is becoming more selective than in the past. This trend is also explicitly stated in the dance department's internet site (http://conservatory.umkc.edu/dance/p_of_study.asp).


DD loves living in KC and also enjoys her campus and academic classes very much. The school has a reputation for being kind of a commuter school, but there are enough undergrads living on campus to make the living situation seem like a small liberal arts private school. Many of the dancers are not local and live on campus, so they are a very close-knit group. The dance and arts scene in KC is quite vibrant and appears to be well-supported, and DD has enjoyed being a part of the arts community.


Re: any downside, my DD entered the school expecting that she would be able to double major---but that looks to be virtually impossible without adding an extra year. She wanted her second major to be in a foreign language and the classes completely overlap with her dance classes. This issue might not be a problem with other majors, but for her and us, this has been probably the only disappointment thus far.


Personally, I can't overstate how amazed and happy we have been with DD's first year. When DD entered UMKC, she did so thinking that her future was only in modern dance and her enthusiasm for the "ballet world" was waning. However, the instruction and attention she has received has completely changed both her ability and outlook---the ballet faculty immediately pinpointed one alignment issue which DD successfully addressed, and so at age 18 years, her ballet facility has now skyrocketed. Now she is expecting to complete a dual modern and ballet concentration. From our perspective, the faculty have been true to their promise to help students reach their highest potential. Moreover, the faculty and students are all so very supportive of each other---as I mentioned in my earlier post, cut-throat behavior is not tolerated. In my opinion, this is a very special program, indeed!

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Thank you golconda for your amazing review of your DD's college program. It sounds like your DK has found another of the gems of college programs out there that not many know about. We appreciate your willingness to share your perspective of the program.

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Yes, thanks so much golconda! Being in close proximity to this program, I've heard good things about it and I'm glad to hear you confirm them! Keep us posted as your daughter continues. I enjoyed hearing about the performing opportunities and guest choreographers too. My daughter also attended the Spring Faculty concert, as an assignment for one of her BFA classes at KU! :thumbsup:

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  • 2 months later...

I attended the Kansas City Ballet Summer Intensive where Paula Weber, the chair of the dance department, taught classes. She is a wonderful person and is very caring. I loved her classes and improved immensely in her classes; because of having her this summer I have applied for the program for this upcoming fall (if room allows)! She is a jewel for UMKC to have!


I do have one question that maybe Golconda can answer: is it at all possible to take classes at the Kansas City Ballet School in the evenings with the dance schedule at UMKC?

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Hi Jessicanicole, I just finished my freshman year as a dance major at UMKC. To answer your question it is possible to take class at KCBS in the evening if you wish. I did on a few occasions but generally you will be dancing a quite a bit and once rehearsals kick in for the concerts and Senior recitals you may not have time to be taking too many extra classes. Also, I just wanted to add that I love Paula Weber as well!

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  • 3 months later...

Where are the latest graduates from UMKC presently dancing? What percentage of the class received company offers last year? Anyone auditioning this year for Fall 2010 entrance?

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