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Ballet Talk for Dancers

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In searching for colleges with dance majors, Old Dominion University is one that came up on our web search. Does anyone have any information or experience with their program? The degree program is a B.A. Theatre/Dance with a Dance emphasis.

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I attended ODU from 2002 to 2004 as a Dance Education Major. I was coming from a pre-pro ballet school and I felt that the program did not offer enough ballet, especially pointe. So it depends what you are looking for. The program was definitely more focused on modern. I did feel that the professors were giving good classes, but the hours of ballet were just not enough to keep up a pre-pro level of technique. I did enjoy the program and I really liked the ODU campus and some parts of Norfolk are lovely. I ended up transferring to a university closer to my home where I could keep up my ballet training.

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Thank you for your feedback! My daughter is interested in a ballet-based program, and even though we've scheduled a campus visit it probably won't meet her requirements.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I just wanted to follow up and say that my daughter went to the Old Dominion open house yesterday, and she was impressed with the school. It is a large school, and she said that it is obvious that it is a public school in that there are a lot of opportunities and resources available that might not otherwise be available at a private school. Even with a student population of 16,000 undergrads she said that the campus itself felt very comfortable, even though if you needed to walk from one side of the campus to the other it was a long hike :) . The school stressed that they focus on helping each student get what they want out of their education at ODU - they will work with the student to tailor classes and programs to the student's particular interests. Campus safety seemed to be tight, dorms were typical college dorms. A dear friend of mine gave me the name and number of her niece who is a junior at ODU whose roommate is a dance major, and they met with my daughter after the tour at a place off campus to answer questions and give a student's unrehearsed point of view. The dance major is very happy with the program and told my daughter that there is a pretty equal emphasis on ballet and modern, and she loves her ballet teacher. Both girls really liked ODU for its ability to see students as individuals with unique interests and talents despite the school's large size. My daughter was not able to see a dance class because this was an open house for the entire school, but I think she would like to visit again and get a feel for the rigor of the program.


We have a visit to Mercyhurst in two weeks, and I'm anxious to see how their program compares. My daughter has only seen Mercyhurst through their website and is very impressed with what she has seen, particularly with the seemingly strong ballet program. We are also looking at Butler soon....

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4Shamrocks - When dancers say they are happy in a university program, we were always careful to see what their long-term goals were for their dance career. If the goal is ballet performance, not all schools are geared toward that. Then others like to turn out good dance educators, some modern dancers. We found it critical in evaluating the programs to see where they alumni have gone in their careers, what types of jobs they hold, which companies have hired them, etc. All the colleges to which my DD applied had that information readily available.

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Thanks for the insight, tutu2you. The dance major that my daughter spoke with plans to move to New York post graduation and pursue dance there. Unfortunately she wasn't more specific. This is only college number two that we have visited, so the whole process is fairly new - we are still learning what questions to ask and what to look for.

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4Shamrocks - We also spent months looking through the dance bios on company websites. We were interested in finding out which universities had been attended by the dancers with degrees. While there is nothing scientific about it, we were able to make some generalizations about which colleges tended to turn out dancers with the technical and performance skills to make it into a company. Though, every dancer's path does appear to be different, and each person has to find a college with which they are comfortable since they will be living there.

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  • 2 years later...

ODU once upon a time had a great ballet program. That is no longer the case. There is a great pre-professional school down the street your DK could attend.

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