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Conservatory-type programs


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In trying to have a good list of colleges to investigate, I would find it so helpful to loosely identify which dance programs could be classified as more conservatory-type programs. It seems like I've seen lots of threads listing schools with especially good academic programs in addition to dance, but I'd love to see a thread identifying those schools where the emphasis is more like that of a conservatory (i.e. more hours of dance class, comparatively less emphasis on academics).


Here are schools I'd put in this category but I know there are many more, right? And please correct me when I've included a school that should not be on this list!



SUNY Purchase

Univ of the Arts

Point Park


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Lots of schools have BFA programs. Dance magazine has a great publication you might like, that lists all dance programs. "Creative Colleges" and Peterson's Guide to Performing Arts Schools" (not sure of the title) are also very helpful books. The list I compiled with all of these resources had about 20 schools. If I can find it, I'll post it!

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University of Arizona, Marymount Manhattan, University of OK, University of Cincinnati, TCU, Butler


lhc, are you certain about these being Conservatory type programs? I know they all have dance departments, but unless things have changed in the last few year U of OK and TCU were not Conservatory programs. I don't know about Arizona and Marymount, or Cincinnati. Dancemaven has said that she does think that Butler is, either.


My understanding of Conservatory, which may not be right and I am open to correction, is that the program is a lot more dance than academics, and a lot more dance than other programs can offer because of the academics.

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I don't believe Butler considers itself is a 'conservatory-type' program.


Though Butler doesn't directly say "conservatory" in it's website, if you look at the curriculum for a dance performance major, there are only an average of 2 classes/semester (sometimes only 1, sometimes 3) that are not dance/music related. This is very similar to the curriculum at the schools I listed and at SMU, SUNY--I haven't visited the other programs mentioned.


Sorry Ms Leigh, you were posting as I was---as I said in my prior post, when visiting all these schools they were all referred to as "conservatory type".

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Thank you for that information, lhc. I guess some of them have changed their concept of their program. :D

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Pursuant to lhc1109's definition of a conservatory program, pretty much all of the serious BFA dance programs would fall under a 'conservatory' designation. But, I really think that definition is too broad based upon everything I've ever read about the nature of a 'conservatory' program.


It is my understanding that a true conservatory program, like Juilliard, for example, has virtually no academic component, but rather is totally devoted to performance classes with perhaps some adjunct training in other performance disciplines. It is first and foremost, a vocationally directed curriculum. I have a contemporary who left Juilliard specifically because she decided she did want an academic component.


BFA programs, in contrast, do have a considerable amount of total credit hours devoted to the student's chosen art discipline, but there are still academic liberal art requirements that exist totally outside the chosen art fields. A BS or BA program has even more academic liberal art requirements and less chosen art discipline credit hours.


My understanding of the differences in these three types of programs comports with the definitions given in Peterson's Professional Degree Programs in the Visual and Performing Arts : (I can't get the link to work, so google "Peterson's Professional Degree Programs in the Visual and Performing Arts", click on one of the links that takes you to the book, and scroll down to Page 11).


Conservatory Program: >75% total credit hours in professional art training

BFA Program : up to 70% total credit hours in the specified art form

BA or BS Program : 25-35% total credit hours in the specified art form


I know what Butler's program looks like and what the students are expected to do during those four years. Juilliard is a MUCH different program than Butler--both in its structure and its expectations.


Butler's program is definitely a BFA program. I really don't see it qualifying as a conservatory program in the vein of a Juilliard.


Now, the other programs at issue, :D But, from my limited research when DD was considering programs, I don't think many are set up as conservatory-type programs as defined like Peterson's defines a conservatory program. Perhaps Tisch, Pointe Park, SUNY Purchase, and IU's ballet program.

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I thought the programs I listed fit the description of the original post---less academic time, more emphasis on dance/performance. They aren't true "conservatory" programs, but are all touted as BFA programs in a "conservatory setting", hence my response to the "conservatory-type program" title of this thread.

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I'm a dance major at Southern Methodist University. The typical dancer course load usually entails 3 or four dance classes a day and dance academics like dance history, notation, musical theory, etc. Usually dance majors can only squeeze in one non dance academic every semester, sometimes two. On top of this we typically have rehearsals every weeknight that last from anywhere between 2 and 6 hours depending on your casting. I know it's not technically considered a conservatory, but I would say it comes pretty close!

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