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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Hartt School/University of Hartford

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Does the program (dance major in Performance Emphasis ) seem to go more modern rather than classical bellet?


New director, Stephen Pier, has fabulous career and looks having modern background.


And looking at Performance videos which can be browsed at Hartt web site, I think modern performances are more excellent than classical works.

Seeing the curriculum described in web site, there is only one pointe class per week every year.


I have not visited Hartt and have not seen any class or performance there, so my feeling may not precise.


Any opinion and advice will be much appreciated.

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DivaB - Is your son interested primarily in modern dance programs, as that is what the other schools you mentioned were most noted for? If you think his chances of getting in the Hartt program are a long shot, there are many, many modern programs in colleges. Is Stephen Pier taking the program in the modern dance direction? There are many dance programs that are accredited with the National Association of Schools of Dance. I didn't realize there was a separate accreditation process for Pedagogy programs. I know Butler University offers a Pedagogy degree, so I will now know to check and see if the pedagogy program is accredited separately from their overall dance program. Who confers the accreditation?


Tom - the problem we found with being at the bottom of the barrel in the dance program, is that your dancer will not get the roles that will give him/her the best exposure. In many programs, your dancer will not even be in the performing company. We were careful to choose a program in which everyone is given a chance to perform in each show. Also, I question whether the nurturing, caring-type program you are suggesting is out there? Ballet is a very competitive world, as far as getting a performing job is concerned. So perhaps the professors prepare the students for this by expecting a great deal and not spending much time on the ones that need a lot of encouragement and support. Now, it might be different in schools where the goal is not performance, but pedagogy. I'm just not sure anymore as we've just had an experience with a top ballet "caring" program that didn't seem to care if they lost a student. So in evaluating programs, I think it is imperative to be very careful in screening the programs to pick those whose ultimate goal for the students' careers is in keeping with the path your dancer wants to take. I'd actually ask the Director/Dean of the program, what type of student do they want, what is the career path of the majority of their students.

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  • 4 weeks later...

DD has officially enrolled in Hartt for study to begin this fall in performance emphasis. Our conversations with Steven Pier have been very encouraging regarding the direction in which he hopes to take the program, including interships. DD also has a friend who has studied there for two years and loves it. In addition, our interactions with others at the university, in particular with the admissions office, have been quite positive. So far, so good. Of course, attending the school is actually what counts, so I hope to keep you informed after the shool year begins.



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  • 2 weeks later...

HI - my D is still contemplating attending Hartt - she was also accepted for the performance emphasis. Can I ask whether you chose Hartt over any other conservatory programs and if so what made this one stand out for you? thank you

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Yes, she chose Hartt over a couple of others. Basically, it was the overall feeling, from the students she met there, to the studios, the staff, the focus and direction of the program. She has a freind there who is a sophomore and really likes it, so that helps. The smaller size and the feeling that this is an up and coming program as well as internship considerations all contributed to her feeling that she would enjoy her challenge there. We (her parents) support her 100% with tie decision. Feel free to email me directly if you have very specific questions.



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Great News Tom!


Up and coming classical ballet programs are so needed on the college front. While I don't know about the Hartt Ballet dept I do know that the Musical Theater dept is very well regarded and very selective. Congratulations and keep us posted!








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  • 1 month later...

DS was accepted into the Hartt Dance Program - Ballet Pedagogy! There are a total of 17 incoming Freshmen for the 2011-2012 year, with only two boys. He is thrilled - we just attended orientation where he registered for his classes. It is a very heavy course load, as it's a BFA program. He loved the feel of the campus - being part of the University of Hartford - but having the tight-knit community of the Hartt School. He adores Amy Lesko, head of the Pedagogy department, and can't wait to move in! The scholarship was a good amount, definitely a help. All-in-all we have a very happy boy!

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Any updates on Hartt? How did the year go for the freshman students out there? I've searched the thread and can't find any info on the possibility of double majoring (education/ballet - either performance or pedagogy)... any info? Thanks!

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  • 4 weeks later...

We haven't heard from any freshmen, but dd is close to someone who just completed her soph season and loved it. She (the now junior) spent some high school years at a performing arts school with Russian instructors who were demanding and very good, so she has high expectations. She has not been disappointed.


I can't swear to it, but I don't believe you can double major. From what I understand, the program is too demanding to allow a double major. But I would call or email the question to Hartt. They seem very open to contact.


Congrats DivaB on DS. We are scheduled for the last orientation the weekend before school--coming form Michigan so one trip will be combined with move in, as well. Hope to meet you then.



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Can those of you with direct experience this year tell me how generous Hartt is with talent and merit scholarship aid? DD-17 is considering applying next year.

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I was told that tlaent scholarships range from $2,000 to $20,000. The higher the dancer's ranking, the more that is offered. That's about all I know. Again, I wouldn't hesitate to call or email the university.



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  • 9 months later...

Can anyone provide an update on the dk's experience at Hartt this year? My dd was accepted but is worried the ballet program isn't strong enough. Would you say the school is more geared toward Modern? She is trying to choose between here and Point Park and wants to go to the school with the stronger ballet program. Can anyone provide us with what a detailed day is like? Do the kids have weekends free or will they be in the studio for class?

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My daughter has also been accepted and is strongly considering Hartt...can someone with experience there provide insights into strengths and weaknesses of program? How does your dk like the program? Do the kids get to " do college" outside of Hartt? Down to the wire, folks!

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]You might try contacting Tim Melady, ballet master at Nutmeg Ballet. He's also on the faculty at Hartt and knows their program very well, I see you have only one post so far; you can't use the private messaging system here till you have 30 posts. So I'm putting up my email address here for you and will take it down once you email me.


My daughter is good friends with Tim and danced with him professionally for a few years. You can call and leave a message for him at Nutmeg mentioning her name and stating the urgency of your call, you should get a response back from him. Try emailing him too. You can probably find his email on the Nutmeg Ballet website. If not, I can get it from my daughter later today. I'll give you more info when you contact me.

Edited by vagansmom
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