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Ballet Talk for Dancers

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My counselor at school listed Amherst has having a good dance/ballet program. I was just wondering if anyone had anymore information about it and whether it acutally has a good program.

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Amherst is part of the Five College Dance Program which includes Mt.Holyoke, Smith, Hampshire, and UMassAmherst. It does have a good reputation. It's a program of ballet, modern and jazz where you can dance at each of the different schools. Each program differs somewhat (I recall Smith is more modern focused) but you can check their website for specific info. DD was accepted to UMassAmherst (a bit easier to get into the college than say, Smith-another point to check into).

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I'm glad to hear that. The Five College system really appeals to me academically and it's great to know they have good dance too. Does anyone know if any of the schools have good Balanchine trained faculty?

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I'm a 2003 Amherst grad who had (and still is) involved in the dance community at Amherst College and I can tell you that I was thoroughly miserable during my four years there because there is no dance program there. Rather, what they offer in their curriculum as "Theatre and Dance" should more aptly be called "Theatre" or "Theatre and some (form of) Dance."


If you are interested in colleges that offer a strong(er) dance program as well as a comparable liberal arts education, you are truly better off looking into Mt. Holyoke and Smith Colleges or UMass at Amherst (all are part of the 5-College Consortium).


Here are links to the faculty at:

Mt. Holyoke: http://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/dance/faculty_profiles.html

Smith: http://www.smith.edu/dance/faculty.php

UMass: http://www.umass.edu/dance/faculty.html


I think Mt. Holyoke arguably offers the better ballet-focused program. I do know that the ABT Studio Company guested with them in 2004. Julie Kent of ABT also taught a master class at one of the three colleges in the past couple of years; I'm afraid my memory fails me on this last item...

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Guest Dancer1236

As a current Amherst student, I agree that Amherst College itself doesn't offer a wide range of classes, especially for serious dancers. However, the Five College Dance Program is fabulous and, if you make up your mind to get out there and explore as much dance as you can during your freshman year, you will benefit greatly. Personally, I feel that the drawback to being a dance major in the Five College Program is that you may have to sacrifice the experiences you would gain by taking most or all of your classes at one of the Five Colleges; you'll have to take classes at all five, meaning lots of time in the car/PVTA bus and little time to get to know your own school.


The performances offered in the area, presented by outside groups, faculty, and student-run groups, are abundant, various, and on the whole, excellent!


I have taken technique classes since I started at Amherst, and every class is exciting and has taught me a lot. Don't give up on the Five Colleges, especially if you want a modern dance experience! As snuzan said, check out MHC (ballet-/modern-focused), Smith (same as MHC), and UMass-Amherst (jazz-/modern-focused) as well as Amherst and Hampshire, which both offer modern classes on a regular basis.


The Theatre and Dance major at AC offers a very broad approach to both Theatre and Dance. Though not a major myself (and kicking myself for it), I am very familiar with the department and some of its majors. The program has many requirements at first, but within those required courses, you are allowed to explore whatever area of theatre or dance truly interests you. It allows for a lot of freedom and exploration, especially during your senior year. If you are self-motivated and willing to take risks, this is a great program for you.


Check out www.fivecolleges.edu/sites/dance/ for more info! Hope this helped.

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  • 2 months later...

i was looking at the websites for each of the five colleges after having seen this (i was thinking about applying to hampshire but now i'm thinking i would like mt holyoke better) and i can across an admissions section of the Smith website that said auditions were required for entry into the dance dept. does anyone know if this is also the case for mt holyoke?

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  • 2 years later...

I'm sure it varies from school to school, but in general how large would you say the class sizes are in the Five College Dance Department?

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Does anyone know if someone who may be thinking of majoring in some sort of science at one of these colleges can take ballet several times a week even though they're not a dance major?

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I visited the five colleges last week and was told that yes, non-dance majors may take dance. However, this often involves a bus ride--for example, if you want ballet, and you're at Amherst, most likely you'll take the class at Holyoke, which is a bus ride away. Mt. Holyoke did say that there are many double majors, dance and something else. So basically, they're open to it, but you'll have to squeeze it in schedule-wise, which might take some doing. Amherst has no core requirements, so it might be about the most flexible for fitting dance around another major.

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  • 8 months later...

HI. I can vouch for Mt. Holyoke. Charles & Rose Flachs and his wife are colleagues of mine. I danced with Charles in Washington Ballet, Ballet met (different years) and Cincinnati Ballet. Charles has a Masters from CCM U of Cincinnati where I am a grad as well. He is a Vagnoava instructor, who's chief pedagogues are John White and Margarite de SAA. I danced with his wife in CBC and she has trained with the same. They also have their own private ballet school in nearby Holyoke. I am not sure, but because all 5 colleges share duties, the ballet for all five is handled by their dept.

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  • 7 years later...

Any new information on these schools? My daughter is considering the 5 college dance program and would like more info on how the dance programs are to make a choice. She would like a ballet emphasis 

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