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Ballet Talk for Dancers

California Schools?


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I would really like to go to college in California. But I am an avid ballerina and don't want to give up ballet for college.


So I was wondering if anyone could guide me in the right direction? I am right now considering aany college in California.


What school do you think would be the best in California as far as ballet/dance? I'm already looking at CALARTS, but I'm just not sure what else I should look into.


Any advice would be GREATLY appreciated!



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Hello Abby!

You are 13, right?

If I were your parents I would be encouraging you to keep your options open. 13 is rather young and many things change in a young dancer's life. I'm certainly happy that you have goals, and are beginning the process of sorting through what directions you want to go in life. Those are all really important things.


If your goal at the moment is to dance professionally, I would also encourage you to think beyond just 2 companies. There are about 200 ballet dancers competing at any 1 time for one job posiiton in any 1 company, so the odds are very low that if you limit yourself to 2 companies, a job will just be sitting there waiting for you.


Your best bet is to be certain you are getting the proper training from teachers who have been able to produce professional ballet talent recently. From there, read as much as you can about what it really takes to become a professional ballet dancer, and work really hard at becoming that. Take genetic factors into account, and audition every summer (and then go to) a reputable Summer Intensive. Make sure you are on your best behavior when there, and learn how to make connections. Choose your summer options wisely to enable you to get the best training that you need at that moment, and also start getting yourself seen by ADs.


Keep your grades up, and keep researching colleges so that you have a Plan B. Professional ballet dancers can and do take college courses while they are under contract, but the process is a slow one as the time available to a professional ballet dancer is limited, so the college process may take longer if you are one of the lucky few who ends up with the right training, drive, aspirations, low injury rate, right genetics, and the kind of talent required for this career.

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Edit: Clara 76 responded while I was typing this. I did not know that you are 13, or that you hope to pursue a professional career. Some of my post might not be entirely relevant under these circumstances :ermm:



I have studied with several current and former faculty members of CalArts, and I have a few friends who are dance majors there. They all speak highly of the program, but you should understand that ballet is not at all the focus. It is a very modern-oriented program.


Also, what are you looking for academically? I saw in another thread that you were looking at UC Berkeley which is an extremely reputable school academically. The dance department at UC Berkeley, however, is not as well established as some. At CalArts, the focus is more on your art form than on academics though they do have general education classes as well. If you are wanting to major in something academic, CalArts may not be the school for you.


A few other California Schools to look into: Cal State Long Beach, UC Irvine, and Chapman University.


If you are looking for serious professional training, LINES in San Fransisco has a bfa program in association with Dominican University where you study dance with LINES and take academic course at Dominican. I've seen a few phenomenal dancers who were produced in this program.

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Yes I am 13, but I am homeschooled. I most likeley will be staying homeschooled up until college. I need to start looking at colleges because I plan to go to college early. Probably around 16 or 17. I am turning 14 in the spring.


I will look those schools up. I really would like to major in dance becuase that is what I plan to do for the rest of my life. I need the school to have a mediocre academic program but my main focus will be dance, so that is what I am looking for in a college.



Edited by Prima*Ballerina
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Always good to get a head start on researching colleges, Prima! :) But, initially, you may be better served by first visiting the college's website and reviewing all the 'regular' information about the school and its programs. Then, you will be able to start narrowing your inquiries and focusing on specific aspects of the school's identity, culture, and programs.


A good place to start (in terms of the dance programs) is to pull up a chair and drop in and out on various threads in this particular forum (Higher Education General Discussion). Once you get an idea of the various issues to be considered that arise, such as college versus vocational training versus direct to company; college major versus college minor; BFA versus BA; ballet-focus versus balanced modern/ballet versus modern-focus, etc; double-majoring, possible or not?, etc. There really are a lot of things that will go into the mix when it comes time for making college decisions. The more you read and are aware of the issues, the better prepared you will be for determining what course of action (and what college program) is the best fit for you.


Once you have a good feel for those type issues, hop on over to the Colleges/Universitiess That Have Ballet Classes Forum and review the individual threads dedicated to the specific schools. They are listed alphabetically, so you will be able to find specific ones you already know you may be interested in easily. But, I'd encourage you to drop in and visit others that might interest you. You will learn a lot just by 'sitting in' on the conversations and exchange of information.


Once you have had a chance to familiarize yourself with the information we have collected here, please do feel free to post specific questions.


Do understand, however, that at age 13, you most likely will change your viewpoint several times between now and the actual time of college applications----and perhaps even thereafter. (And that should be considered a good thing because choices and changes will reflect your changing maturity and growth). There is a lot of growth (both physical, emotional, and social) that occurs between now and then. For example, my DD at age 20 is a sophomore dance major at a BFA program. When she was age 13, she just knew the only route she'd EVER consider would be direct from high school to company. At age 16, she was set on the same path. At age 17, she believed she needed a year of post-high school training; by that spring she thought maybe two years---but no way was college imminent. At age 18, she entered a vocational training dance program and expected to complete the two year program and audition for companies----companies that she had never known existed previously. She was no longer interested in a classical ballet company. By spring of that year, she had accepted a spot in the 4-year BFA program-----and is absolutely sure she has made the best decisions for her at each step. And yet is still refining the type of company she is aiming for.


My point is: Learn and explore as much as possible between now and then. But under no circumstances feel like you must lock yourself into any one path. Many roads lead to Rome . . . . and there is much to experience and enjoy on those paths.

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