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Help- Writing resumes for college dance


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I am trying to help my DD rewrite her original dance resume because her high school guidance counselor did not like her first one. She said it was too much of just listing classes, performances, summer programs, etc, and wanted it a more interesting format. We can not find samples of dance resumes of kids who are looking at programs for college, only resumes for dancers that want to be professionals. Can anyone point us in the right direction - not too much time left.

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From what I can tell she wants it more professional looking, not just listing her classes and the time commitment for each class and listing her summer intensives, say how she was chosen and instead of listing performance experience, go into more detail about the role - just sounds very involved and hard to format it. I think for colleges they would want to see all the time commitment you have put into dance and at the same time achieved good grades, but according to the counselor I guess it has to look more like a professional resume???

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Is her dance resume different from her regular resume? If it is, most colleges with dance programs have an art supplement section. It is precisely for this reason, so that your dance materials will be sent to the department who can assess it best, rather than the admissions department. We are sending an all inclusive resume (other activities) to the admissions department and including my dd dance resume in the art supplement material. Don't know if that is right, but that is what we are doing. :innocent:

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Hi, charlotte1755 -


It sounds like you're on the right track, and the suggestion by jsn to have a separate dance resume will work well. There is too much information to try to combine an academic resume with a dance resume. When my daughter applied to colleges, her dance resume had sections for Dance Training, Summer Intensives, Performing Experience, Scholarships, and Dance Teaching Experience. At the top, she had her name, address, phone #, e-mail address, and sometimes would add her DOB and SS# if the college required that to be written on all pages submitted to them. All the sections listed the years only(not specific dates) for each entry, starting with the most recent and going back. She listed performances with the year first, then the title of the ballet or piece, then the choreographer, then the role, then the company or school. Sometimes she would add where it was performed (if it was in a professional theatre) or notes such as lead, soloist, or corps role. She listed faculty members for each school and summer program (which was nice if you could give their company connection), and also mentioned if she had danced in performances during the summer. Another nice thing to include on a resume is if some of the Nutcracker shows or other performances were school shows for children. I know many students mentioned this to show involvement with the community through dance. Hope this helps....



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She actually has done an academic resume and a dance resume. Some of the colleges she is applying to want just a dance resume for scholarship reasons. I wish there was a place to go on the internet where you can see sample dance resumes from students that are not professional dancers, just ballet dancers that have risen up in the ranks thru their school of dance. It is hard to define I guess, so she will just have to redo it and hopefully the counselor accept it.

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Hi Charlotte,


Unless your daughter attends a performing arts high school, I wouldn't put too much weight on what the high school guidance counselor wants to see. Have your daughter do one in an "interesting format" for practice, but in applying to six college dance programs over two years, my daughter used a resume that was full of lists.


I started a similar thread on November 16, 2003: Performance resume. Incorporating the advice I got, here, my daughter adapted her older SI resumes and came up with the following format* for her college resumes (indent lists as needed under headings):


Name [centered]


street address [................................] email:

city, state zip [..................................] DOB:

home phone [...................................] (other - for example: "BFA Dance," ID #, Fall 2007, etc)


Training History (List of all teachers enclosed.)


* Dance [listed most to least years; switch order as needed]

Ballet - x years (schools and studios)

Tap - x years (schools and studios)

Jazz - x years (schools and studios)

Modern - x years (school and studios)


Summer Intensives:


Student Dance Companies:


* Vocal and Instrumental Music:


* Acting Experience:




Performing Experience:


[format; most recent performance, first; DON'T PAD - highlights only]

role [eg. "Snow Queen" or "Soloist"/ "Corps"]: Title of Piece (Choreographer), Organization; Month year.


[so it should look like this:]

Snow Queen, Flower: The Nutcracker (Dolores Dinkovitch), Gloria Groves Ballet Theatre; December 2003.


Choreographic Experience:

[obviously, include only as necessary]



[meaning academic high schools]



* stuff in [brackets] are just explanations and should not be printed. [.....] imply separation of right-justified column


With narrow margins (.8 left and right and .7 top and bottom) and a compact font, my daughter managed to fit everything onto two pages. But, in addition, my daughter's "Dance Teachers" listing is also two pages, in which she used this format:


Name [centered]

Dance Teachers [centered]


Academic Year Teachers:

[most recent, first; arrange styles as on resume]



Teacher's or teachers' names 9/200x-present School/Studio (city)


[continue with other styles]


Summer Intensive Teachers:


Program (year)

Name A, Name B, Name C, [etc in a paragraph style, inserting (style) as needed]


Master Classes/ Open Classes:




Any document with more than one page should have a footer that includes:


Student's Last Name [.......................................] Page x of x




Adapt according to the school's specifications or as you see fit. Hope that helps.

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Yes that does help - thanks!! Resume writing is just not my thing or hers - like you say I guess you have to adapt it to whatever school you are applying to. I just figured for high school they would be interesting in seeing how much time she commits to dance and still gets good grades. The counselor needs it when she has to write recommendations for whatever colleges she is applying to. What a process and then there is the video she has to do also!!

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Actually, Charlotte, you are right...they do want to see how much time she puts into her activities on top of school. The admissions people are interested in the hours per week spent on activities (the commitment and "passion"), the dance department is more concerned with the level of ability and the dance training and experiences your dd has had. That is really the essence of the difference in the resumes.

Good luck! We are right in the middle of that ourselves!

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I remember we had to make a separate sheet with the hours spent for each school activity for all four years of high school, and North Carolina School of the Arts also wanted a detailed list of each type of dance (ballet, jazz, etc.), years studied, classroom time per week, and faculty. The good thing is that once all these lists are done, all you have to do is hit print, and on the application write "See Attached Sheets"!

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If you have never competed, would you just leave out the "honors" section? Likewise with choreography? Also can you list scholarship offers or only those actually taken? In a dance resume, does it matter how far back you go with performance roles,etc. In a regular high school activity resume they only want 9th grade and beyond.

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DD is going through the experience right now. I do not think your average high school guidance counselor has any idea of what a dance department wants to see. I'd have no problem with Pierette's suggested resume - at all. Dance departments want to know dance specifics, admissions wants other things as well as an idea of the commitment, passion, etc., for dance. DD is doing 2.


Gosh, I am not liking this college admissions thing at all . . .

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A good resume is a good resume. We did both a dance focused one and an academic focused one so that each department/company was covered. On the academic one the activities and honors place was filled with dance activities spelled out more to reflect the time spent dedicated to an activity much like a band member would list the accomplishments for band or football.


For the dance focused resume, the roles/choreography were more spelled out and the schooling minimized to show her academic standing, a few honors, showing a well rounded student both dance wise and academically. But the dance roles were filled out in more detail.


It worked well for us that way and was only a few clicks on the mouse to make them different in the beginning. Most people only want to see what roles have done in high school. But do list your years of study and where.


For the dance resume try here: dance resume There is a link to a good website there but only for the dance related one.

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