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Ballet Talk for Dancers

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Does anyone have any first hand info on the OKC dance program? My dd and I visited this school when we were visiting OU. The only mention of the program on BT4D I have seen is in the Higher Ed gen. discussion forum. My dd wants a strong ballet program, but enjoys jazz and tap. Her goal is to perform, she enjoys musical theater and she knows she will probably never be in a ballet company. I won't go into detail at this point, but though we both came away with the feeling that she would be well prepared for the career path she is looking towards, and they have 8 huge beautiful new studios, the mama in me walked away with an unsettled feeling re: the type of dancer she would become and some serious school imposed weight requirements (among several other concerns). If anyone has any info, that would be great.

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My daughter has several friends at OCU. They are all triple-threats. It is very well known for it's musical theater department and highly regarded in the top MT schools.

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This is my concern....the dance majors are weighed 3 times/year and the first semester of senior year a "graduation weight" is determined between the student and adviser. It was explained to us that if a dancer is not at their ideal weight, they won't be performing at their best and will not be employable. (Well, yeah....but....) In addition, the whole "pageant" atmosphere is a bit much.....huge bronze statue at the entrance to the campus of their 3 almuni that were Miss America's, portraits of the winners of the "Miss OCU" pageant. BUT, they provide you with a list of 30+ alumni currently on broadway and the training seems great.

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This is very disturbing. Thank you for bringing it to our attention. My daughter's friends are not "dancers" per se, but actors who dance, or singers who dance, but I will see if I can find out more.

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Thanks so much!!! My dd is quite interested in this program...her only reservation is the size (she had wanted a larger university). Though she admits it sounds a bit weird, she doesn't see any problem with the weigh ins in the context of being in shape, peak performing ability, etc.. She is petite--XXXX--and never experienced any weight issues herself. She knows about the freshmen 15, but as a typical teenager, it will never happen to her. I have grave concerns and am hoping she can be wooed away by other programs so I don't have to be the bad guy not allowing an audition. Hopefully someone can shed some light whether this is really true (though I found all this out by reading it in the on-line course catalog and asking about it at the visit....it wasn't treated off handedly by the dance dept. rep either---she gave the explanation I wrote in my second post).

 

*edited to remove a listing of weight per board policies and replaced with XXXX

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As l2daisygirl said, this school is considered one of the best in the country in musical theater. The faculty for ballet are well known and respected teachers. They mount wonderful and very professional musicals each year that are well attended by the OKC community. I've not heard any discussion about the weigh ins, but I don't like the sound of them! :clapping:

 

Those portraits up in the foyer of the auditorium are the OCU students who have been Miss Oklahoma (not Miss OCU). The school has a very long and successful pageant history, with 30+ Miss Oklahomas and 4 Miss Americas (I don't think this year's winner is yet on display in the foyer). These gals are usually music majors and sing as their talent in the competition (although Jane Ann Jayroe, the winner in the 60's, conducted an orchestra for her talent).

 

An extremely talented ballet student from my daughter's home school, associated with a pro company, attends OCU. She is also interested in musical theater and this school was a good match for her.

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  • 1 year later...

Hi all, I'm new to this forum and glad to see that there is a thread about OCU. I'm a dance performance major at OCU and will try to answer your questions about the program.

 

In response to the weight issue: yes, maintaining a healthy weight that will help one gain employment is a component of the program but it's not the focus. Everything taught at OCU has a real world application and everything we're taught is to give us the tools to go out after graduation and work consistently.

I can't express how pleased I am with the level of the training, facilities, class sizes, faculty, curriculum and performance opportunities.

The program offers undergraduate degrees in dance performance, dance management, american dance pedagogy and entertainment business as well as an MFA in Dance.

One of the greatest assets of the program is that although the ballet training is phenomenal, students also have the opportunity to study jazz, tap and musical theatre dance in addition to acting and singing.

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Thank you Roger, we hope you will continue to come on and answer questions about OCU. We have a dear friend who graduated from there a few years ago and she loved her time there.

 

Just a moderators note: For those reading about this program, you are correct in being cautious about any program that puts emphasis on weight. However, you will find that even in programs that do not put it in writing, it may still be an issue shown through casting and favor. So do your research to make sure that just because it was brought up here, and maybe was not brought up on another college thread that is means that this is the only college where it becomes an issue. Do not rule out OCU because you have only heard it happens there. Research!

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  • 2 weeks later...

I actually just received my acceptance letter to OCU as a Dance Performance major. I went to a summer intensive there and loved it. I researched many other schools and OCU seemed to be the best place for those who want to perform.

 

They have a very well rounded program with 10 levels in tap, jazz, ballet, musical theater, and pointe. They also have 3 different dance majors: Dance Performance, Dance Management, and Dance Pedagogy (teaching).

 

There is the weight issue: They weighed us at the audition and in the acceptance letter told us our recommended weight. Don't rule this school out because of that they only do this to prepare the students for the real world of dance. Everyone I know that goes there loves it and they have a long list of alumni that are actually working in the business.

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  • 6 months later...

Anyone with information on where this year's graduating class is going after leaving OCU, please share. If this placement is within a company, please also share at what level: corp, trainee, teaching, switch to contemporary,etc.

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  • 10 months later...

A word from a former OCU student...

 

The weight requirements are fairly ridiculous. I had several friends who were not allowed to graduate because they did not meet their "graduation weight." All methods of "weight management" are employed leading up to the weigh-ins that happen SIX times each school year.

 

The faculty seems nice enough...as long as you worship them. They're condescending and the leveling process reflects this. If you're not ready to stay in a high school atmosphere and lick the shoes of the facutly, then OCU might not be the right place for you.

 

The pageant atmosphere is there if you choose to participate, but if you don't, you'll hardly even notice it exists. There are the statues and the pictures, but nobody pressures you to be a part of any of it.

 

They do have several alumni that have had very successful performing careers, but the vast majority of their graduates perform in local musical theatre groups, dance on cruise ships, or end up teaching at local studios. Not that any of those are bad, but don't buy into the promise that all graduates turn out like Kristin Chenoweth.

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  • 6 years later...

As the school year winds down, I hope someone will share where the Grads or Early Leavers of Oklahoma City University Dance are going for the next phase of their lives.

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  • 5 months later...
  • 2 months later...

My DD has applied and will attend an audition this month. Would love to hear from anyone who is in the program (or has a dancer in the program).

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