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College Apps/Ballet Photos


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A question to all the veterans that have survived this incredibily challenging experience. Just wondering if the snapshots we have submitted at SI's auditions are OK, or, do I need to spend some more $$$ (in addition to airfare, hotel, rental car to get to out of state auditions) for professional ballet pictures. (Not that money matters at this point!!!)

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For college applications, we just submitted the SI photos, in the size required by the colleges. For the company auditions, the photographer who took her SI headshot took a senior picture of hers that I had taken, an SI arabesque picture I had taken, and a couple of performance pictures he had taken during shows, and put them all together on one letter size page. We took her resume and tacky glued it to the back, so it was one neat sheet.

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For my daughter's college applications we chose to have her photos done by a professional dance photographer. While I certainly do not think it necessary, to me it was worth the time and money! Obviously, the quality of the picture is not what they are looking at, but the the subject of the photo. Good Luck!

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Aren't photos == whether for college or for SI's used mainly for identification purposes? We used to worry about photos for SI's, spending a pretty penny on them in the early years. As time went on, we realized it really didn't matter, it's about how they dance at the audition.

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Thanks for everyone's input. Some of the places my dd is applying to are clearly only looking for a "snapshot" since they label it as such, another wanted an 8X10 (which would indicate to me they want a professional one), but the majority of schools term it as the generic "full length photo in ballet attire in pose of your choice"---that's where I'm undecided, but leaning towards DonHo/dance1soccer1's opinions. Aside from the expense, time is a factor. I know this too shall pass, but I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed between university apps, audition apps, videotapes of assorted varieties, travel arrangements, start of school, Nuts audition, blah blah blah. (Getting a bit off topic here). This all makes my non-dancing son's college search/early acceptance seem so easy!!!

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I have a differing view. I don't think the photos have to necessarily be professionally photographed, however, with the highly competitive nature of entrance into some of the ballet colleges. I do consider that the dancer needs to do a more professional package than what is acceptable for many SI's. In my opinion, the stakes are higher and thus the attention to detail should be higher.


With that said, there are many ways to provide a professional looking photo without the expense of a professional photographer. There are many variances of "snapshots", so I don't want to leave a blanket no without consideration of how quality that home done snapshot is.

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Can someone tell me what ballet colleges are asking for photos? Maybe I'm not looking at the same schools that you all are? :(


My dd isn't applying to all of theses, but I made an Excel spreadsheet with requirements for several schools during the initial internet search. The schools wanting a picture of some sort are: SMU, Univ OK, TCU, Univ AZ, SUNY Purchase, Univ Cincinnati, Marymount Manhattan, Point Park, Julliard, Indiana Univ. I don't think Butler and Univ S. FL want one.

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We did our own photos, taken with a digital. One school wanted a headshot and we used one of dd's "alternate" senior picture poses. (It was with a boa, not a drape.)


DD had a nice resume, too.


While you want a neat looking result, you don't need to go to the expense of a pro photographer. DD's ballet buddies took the digital pics for her.


We made a grid for the schools, with the requirements checked off, important dates entered, etc. Made it much easier to be organized.


Worked great and she had a choice of fine programs to attend this year. In reality, the audition is more important than the photos, but jumping through all the respective college's hoops is expected. Good luck!

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Guest balletandsynchro

Most of the Universities my DD applied to required a dance photo, and many of those wanted a photo in 1st Arabesque. Double check your sizes of photos - as I recall, Butler wanted a 5x7, and another wanted an 8x10! A couple of schools wanted a headshot too. My DD had professional photos, but that was because she is a model for a new photographer who is building her portfolio. Taradriver is right - make a list of all the requirements, deadlines, and what needs to be brought to the audition, as opposed to submitted with the application. Several Universities require separate applications for the Dance/Music department that have different requirements than the general University application for admission. :devil:

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Okay, I guess I'm not catching everything on the websites. :devil: I did read that Indiana wants the 8x10 head shot and arabesque pictures. Seems a litte overboard to me, but what do I know?

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I am not in a college setting reading and looking through applications, but...


I would think that you could take one photo, 8X10, and simply xerox it to send to other colleges. If they want a smaller size perhaps you could simply reduce it on the computer. I would think they just want to see a picture for identification, reference, and a very general assessment of potential. I wouldn't think that it would be necessary to send a "glossy" photo for each application. I have sent xeroxes of my head shot for job applications and usually people thought it was a really good idea.


Good luck to all!

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You can also step up the professionalism of your photo by making sure it is in a ballet studio (preferably against the blankest wall possible) and by switching from color to black and white (which is an option on most digital photo printers these days).

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  • 2 years later...

This is a little bit old of a thread and I am wondering about new opnions.

DD is applying to schools now, but won't audition until next semester so we have time.

DD has lots of headshots but they are all black and white. The general rule in theathre is now they should be in color, so I first question - are dnace headshots OK in black and white? Also, how old is too old. DD's pics from last year were, ehh. Pics from 3 years ago were great. Other than hair style, I don't think they look to different - if they look like her, do you thnk 3 years old is too old?

Then finally, for the tendu and arebeques (sorry about the spelling) should we get these done profesionally or will a good digital photo taken by a competent amatuer do?

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Hi Calamitous,

Black and white is fine and arabesque works well. My dd's were professionally done (through residency) but certainly not better then amateur photos that the students used to take of one another at her dance studio for summer intensive auditions. Since you still have plenty of time I'm sure you will be able to get a good fresh shot rather then using the older ones but if all else fails...use it if it still works.

With your dd's training and resume she will undoubtedly be asked to audition to all her choices!!!






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