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Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly known as Ryerson University)

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Anyone have any valuable on Ryerson university's dance program?

Their audition layout, the degree of difficulty, the focus (ballet, contemporary, etc)



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  • Amie


  • postsecondarydance


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  • kittymomm


I have never auditioned for nor attended Ryerson's dance program, but I know people who have, including a good friend of mine.


The students spend roughly equal time in ballet, jazz and modern classes. Unless things have changed in the past few years, there are no dedicated pointe classes, but women may be able to wear pointe shoes in their regular ballet classes; permissions may or may not be required, I don't know. I also believe there are no dedicated "special" classes, like partnering, character, variations, etc. Ryerson is a university, so there are other program requirements both within the theatre school and in general studies.


There are two shows each year -- Dances in the fall (November) and Choreographic Works in the spring (March). Dances is a collection of 4-5 works (modern, jazz) choreographed by professionals, sometimes new works and sometimes re-mountings, and performed almost exclusively by 3rd- and 4th-year students. Choreographic Works is comprised of pieces choreographed by students. The choreographers cast their own pieces, so this is more open to lower-level students. The choreographers (usually upper-year students) tend to cast more advanced students too, but this is not a rule.


The students I know of have found work in modern/jazz/contemporary companies, on cruise ships, doing "industrial" work (events, etc.), teaching, etc. I personally do not know of any Ryerson students who have found performing work in classical ballet.


Someone else may be able to speak to the audition process and the level of difficulty as compared to other programs. If you're interested in the program, though, you should go see Dances next month if it's at all possible for you.

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  • Administrators

Both of my daughters have friends who have attended or are attending this program. Some have enjoyed it more than others, as is the case with almost anything else.


The last time I spoke to one of these friends, he told me that he was learning a lot about behind the scenes work as well, and really enjoyed that.


I am not sure what the graduates we know have done, will ask my daughters and see what I can find out.



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  • 7 years later...

Any new information about Ryerson's BFA in dance?  Daily schedule?  Performance opportunities?  Choreographic opportunities?  Ability to minor in other areas?  Overall experience?

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  • 5 weeks later...

Hoping that the second time is a charm asking for information on this program.  DD's acceptance has a deadline this week...would love to know more about this university before she commits. 

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DD has made her decision, and we put down a deposit on Ryerson.  I'm a bit nervous as I have no reviews from my trusted source here at BT4D,.  But based on the audition, campus tour, videos, alumni, and Canadian word of mouth, we are taking a leap of faith.  DD is beyond excited and I am tired and relieved that there is finally a decision.

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Congratulations!  We look forward to your reports and review of the program. :)

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  • Administrators

congratulations Amie!  I'm sure your daughter will enjoy Ryerson, and Toronto!  My daughters do know some people who have graduated from the program, however the information isn't overly current so I didn't post.  I don't have any information about class scheduling and so forth.



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Thanks mom2, I did see your earlier post.  I will post about DD's experiences in the coming years.  This was the one audition I had to miss because or a work commitment, but we are going up to look at housing next month, so I will post some first hand information then.  I will also post DD's thoughts on her audition experience.

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  • 4 months later...

NOTE:  I was unable to go with DD to the audition, so most of this is from DD or what I researched.   I did tour the university later but did not see anyone from the dance dept.


  • BFA program aimed at developing a versatile dancer, “with daily classes in ballet, jazz, modern and contemporary dance.”  Students have 2 technique classes everyday (ballet 5 days, jazz 2, modern 2, improve 1)
  • About 120 dancers in the program total for all 4 years. However, first year is 40ish and other classes significantly less (20-25).  
  • This does not appear to be a ballet focused program but a more all around dancer type, but it does have strong ballet foundation.
  • No formal departmental performance opportunities for first year students.
  • Newly constructed dance studios. (I did not see them but DD said they were VERY nice.)
  • Choreographic opportunities for students in later years.
  • Non-studio classes taken with other performance dept. students (theatre, production).  Classes include music, performance history, production, staging, marketing, etc.
  • Outside guest artists are brought in to choreograph (mostly for the upper year students).
  • Busy dance course schedule will not give time for a dual degree.
  • Graduates appear to gravitate toward more modern based companies (mostly Canadian) becoming both dancers and choreographers.  There are others moving toward more commercial dance, Broadway, starting their own companies/dance projects, and teaching.

Audition day (description from DD):

  • Registration before audition, arrive at least 20 minutes early with requested forms, etc. Current dancers finishing their classes were friendly wishing everyone good luck, etc.
  • Typical ballet class but shorter just over an hour.  There was a wide range of levels when DD auditioned.  Teacher encouraged students to ask questions and corrections given according to what students needed for their level.  No pointe.  Short break after ballet for water and to change clothes if desired.
  • Jazz class next, about 45 minutes.  (more a traditional style, not competition or Broadway).  DD felt they were looking for musicality and rhythm here, telling dancers to accent certain parts of music, etc.   
  • Right after was a modern class about 30-40 minutes – a few combos across the floor and a phrase in the center.  Improv was incorporated within the phase work.  Also, they were asked to dance the phrase again and again at various tempos.  
  • Some parts of the audition were filmed for later review.
  • After some deliberations, they explained that they would call back dancers for solos only if they were undecided about their decision (DD did not do a solo and was accepted).  About 7 dancers were asked to do solos (contemporary style).  DD said basically the dancers who she thought were amazing or not good at all were not called to do solos.  Dancers only strong in one style or who had not stood out were ones most likely to be asked to do solos.
  • After solos there was a short interview with the panel of professors.  All dancers did this.  Questions were about high school grades, other schools she applied to, connections to the surrounding area, why Ryerson is a good choice, etc.   

More about auditions and acceptance: Auditions are capped at 20 dancers and dates fill up quickly.  They will open up additional dates as the first and second set of dates fill up.  The year DD auditioned, the first set was in February, second set in March, and then last set went through to the end of April.  I think there were about 10 dates total this year?  They also accept DVDs if you are far, but they prefer to see dancers in person.  Be aware that the Canadian university acceptance deadline is June 1 not May 1. DD got her acceptance mid/late April.  They might have a couple of waves of acceptances or rolling acceptances; DD was given a little under 2 weeks to respond to the acceptance and she was accepted before the last set of auditions was finished.

Campus:  Ryerson is a city campus in the middle of Toronto, Ontario.  There are large city buildings all around but university has created a couple of zones that give a real campus feel.  There are a bunch of newish buildings including the Student Learning Centre, the new home of the dance department.  Studios are only a couple of years old in the basement of the building. There is also an underground recreation facility with dance studios and another sports facilities in the old Maple Leaf arena. The campus was very vibrant and active.  There were multiple grocery stores, restaurants, and even Eaton Centre (very large mall) all within walking distance of Ryerson. Housing is difficult to obtain but priority goes to freshman and students coming from a long distance.  I toured the 2 older dorms (the 3rd, HOEM was not completed or open for tours).  These dorms, though noticeably old, were also large in comparison to other college dorms I’ve seen.   Most were single rooms (some within suites or apartments) with only a handful of large doubles.

Tuition/Scholarships (in Canadian Dollars):  For Canadians tuition is much less than American schools around 8,000 CAD.  For international students tuition is around 25,000 CAD (less than many US schools).   Room and board is around 15,000-20,000 CAD.  There are more scholarships available for Canadians than international students. Highest scholarship for anyone is 10,000 CAD yearly for 4 years but only about 12 are given throughout the whole university.

My opinion: This program is for the dancer who wants a diverse, multi-focused dance curriculum at a university in a major city.  It would not be a good fit for dancers who are looking for a program focused on ballet.  It is also not good for someone looking to do a dual degree or double major.  However, although the heavy load of performance and dance courses can appear to be a negative since it does not leave room for much else, those who want to focus on all things dance (technique, production, marketing, choreography, pedagogy, and more) may see it as a positive.

In the end, DD loved the audition, the teachers, the university, and the city.  The program’s versatility was what she was looking for. Being in the heart of such a busy city was very appealing; with anything you want (including dance performances!) just a walk or subway ride away.  The current students that DD saw were dancing like she wants to and sees herself being able to dance.  The interview and audition experience with the professors cemented her wish to attend the university.

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  • 11 months later...

Hi Amie, wondering if you might be able to give an update on your daughter's experience at Ryerson?  we are considering this program for our daughter, she's doing their pre-conservatory summer intensive this summer.  Interested to find out what kind of dance program it is.  She is adamant she does  not want a "concert performance" program which is what her current residential high school program is like.  would love to hear some first hand experience if you have time to share!!

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I'm not sure exactly of your daughter's goals are (looking performance but not concert dance?  looking not to perform maybe teach or choreograph?), but here is some general information. 

The short answer is yes, this is a performance based program and I think it concentrates on concert dance.  More specifics....Not as many performances as some programs especially at some universities in the US, but still performances are an important part of the program....  no performances 1st year, 1 performance (multiple showings) 2nd year, 2 performances (multiple showings) 3rd year, and 3 performances (multiples showings) 4th year.  Performances are more geared toward concert dance than say commercial or Broadway styles.  Dance classes are in ballet, modern, and jazz.  However, the students do have shared classes with the theater performance students like history, music (singing) and Creative Performance Studies (they create a variety of performance pieces together, incorporating acting, dancing, singing, anything they feel like) and they will take an acting class in 3rd year.  Still dance is the primary focus not theater.  Performances also contain opportunities for students to choreograph as well as perform.  The teachers will also notify dancers of random outside opportunities for dancers - this has included choreography, performances, modeling, music video, light walking, etc. 

In 3rd and 4th year, students also take "elective" classes where they choose classes in related topics like teaching, performance, marketing, communications, etc.  So, if your DD is looking to go this direction but also continue dancing, it might work as long as she enjoys and commits fully to performing and the classes that are a focus of the program.  Lastly, choreography also seems to be another big part of the program if that interests your DD.

You can look online for more information about the specific courses that the dancers take to give you a better idea:







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  • 5 months later...

Hi Amie,

How long after the audition did your daughter get her acceptance?  April seems like a long time to wait!  Do you know how many from your daughter's first year actually had to do their solo?  It seems to be a mix from previous years but as you have current experience I was hoping you might know.  My DD auditioned last week and they said definite accepted and definite not accepted would hear fairly soon.  Anyone on their waitlist would probably not hear until closer to May.  DD was asked to do her solo (9 out of 19 did) so she is worried of course.  She is sitting on an SFU acceptance but Ryerson is her first choice by far.  SFU was great as she auditioned on Friday and was called on Tuesday to let he know she had a conditional acceptance (just pending grades which is not an issue).

Anyhow, thanks in advance for any info!

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  • mom2 changed the title to Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly known as Ryerson University)

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