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High school profile for acceptance into top NYC dance programs


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I wondered if any students (or their parents speaking for them) who applied to, auditioned for, and were accepted into several NYC dance programs could state their dance backgrounds. The schools I'm interested in are SUNY Purchase, Ailey/Fordham, NYU's Tisch, Marymount Manhattan and Juilliard. (Also interested in PA's University of the Arts.) I'd also be interested in learning the dance backgrounds of people who were not successful. I believe that the audition is more important than the resume to these schools, but I would like to know the types of backgrounds that have led to success at getting into these schools. Thank you in advance!

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Guest Christier57

My dd did not audition for or apply to those programs, but she danced with and I know well the backgrounds of three current Juilliard students, one current SUNY Purchase student, one very recent Tisch graduate, and one current University of the Arts student. Is it okay to post what I know of them?

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This is a little bit old (8 years), but since Tisch's standards haven't changed as evidenced by some dancers I know who have recently applied, it's still valid. My daughter auditioned for and was accepted into Tisch. She trained at pre-pro ballet school from the age of 4 (creative movement, of course) through her senior year of high school. She had almost no modern, jazz or tap experience at all, but she was also an Irish dancer (didn't figure into the equation of her audition). She auditioned with her friend from the same pre-pro school. Both were accepted.


For her prepared solo, my daughter danced the turning variation from "Etudes." Her friend danced a modern piece choreographed by her own father (a renowned choreographer). In her interview, it was noted that my daughter had no modern experience, so of course she was asked if she would be open to modern dance classes and performances, to which she said yes.


She didn't accept because she got a professional job with a contemporary dance company.


Another friend from a different ballet studio (not as intensive a schedule as my daughter's) was, surprisingly to me, not accepted following her audition (not everyone auditions: only those who make the cut after their ballet and modern class). Some of her ballet technique was a little weak, but she had an amazing stage presence.


In my daughter's current professional dance company, many of the dancers have graduated from Tisch's program. Most of them had long-time intensive pre-pro ballet training. I hope this is helpful.

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Thank you, that is exactly the kind of information that I am looking for. I guess I'm just wondering if competition students, pre-pro ballet students, or some other kind of students are the ones getting accepted to these certain programs. Or is it a mix of all types? In order to be accepted to Tisch, do you have to be the best in the class in high school? Was the student you know who did not get accepted a pre-pro ballet student or a competition studio student? My DD is a sophomore in high school, in a pre-pro ballet program with a great deal of ballet technique, pointe, partnering, character, and modern, and she also takes additional Horton modern, contemporary, and tap class on her free time. I know that there are no guarantees, but I am just trying to see what other successful college applicants, as well as less successful ones, have in their dance background.

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My daughter danced from 6 to 12 at what I would call a not very serious neighborhood dance school. At 12 she moved to a still neighborhood but much more serious school that offered a pre-pro schedule..daily ballet and pointe, also offered modern and jazz. She sporadically took the jazz and modern classes and considers herself a ballet dancer. She went to summer intensives during her high school years at Boston and Miami. For those college auditions which required solos she had a contemporary piece choreographed by a teacher. She was recovering from injury so this was not on pointe. Of the schools you mentioned, she applied to Purchase and Tisch and was accepted at both (Tisch with scholarship). This was last year. Academically she was at the top of her class in a well regarded public high school and had very high test scores. During the interview she formed the impression that academics were very important to Tisch and not at all to Purchase. Hope this helps.

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Guest Christier57

Here goes, and the moderators can delete it if it shouldn't be here.


All of these girls danced at a suburban studio of a large city that has a youth performing company associated with it (membership by audition, minimum age 7th grade). The company produces a full-length show with original choreography in many styles: ballet, modern, jazz, hip hop, and occasionally tap. Sometimes story ballets, sometimes dance concerts, and a December performance with a local orchestra, which is usually Nutcracker excerpts and sometimes other holiday things. The studio has a spring recital. No competitions, but not a true pre-pro ballet school. Not dolly dinkle, either. The studio produces well-rounded dancers and very experienced performers, at least those who are in the company. It provides solid, good training in all disciplines, but not enough ballet for the most serious bunheads. The girls in the company were required to do Cecchetti through grade 5 (some completed grade 6) and had at least two other non-Cecchetti ballet classes, two pointe classes, one modern, and one jazz each week, plus rehearsals. Most took one more ballet and pointe class, and they all did tap. Hip hop only a couple. Most supplemented this training, in a variety of ways, and two moved on to other schools/training for junior and senior years.


Of the 3 girls now at Juilliard: one arranged a special schedule senior year of high school to take morning classes at a downtown studio--ballet, modern, and jazz, then school, then more class in the evening. She went to the Lines/Dominican program for one year, then transferred to Juilliard as a sophomore. The second went to North Carolina School for the Arts for junior and senior years, then to Juilliard. The third supplemented the above training by performing with a small contemporary ballet company junior and senior years. All maintained substantial academic loads and good grades at respected suburban public high schools.


The girl who is at PA University of the Arts was homeschooled and did additional performing with a small local modern company and additional daytime classes.


The girl at SUNY Purchase left the studio and her public school to attend a local private performing arts high school junior and senior years.


I now realize that the girl who just graduated from Tisch is enough older than my dds that I don't know what she did outside the youth company and studio.


Some of the SIs I know they attended are Lines, Harid, Point Park, Boston, Hubbard Street in LA, and Complexions. There are probably more that I don't remember.

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Since Tisch is part of NYU, you must apply to Tisch's dance program as well as to NYU for the academic program. They are completely separate application processes. So it's conceivable that a dancer could be accepted into Tisch, but rejected from NYU in which case they wouldn't be able to attend Tisch.


The girl who was not accepted into Tisch (she did get accepted into NYU) danced at a small, respectable ballet program whose dancers have often then gone on to SAB. But this girl stayed at the ballet school through her high school years. Although the training is excellent (my daughter used to take classes there when her own program was on hiatus), there just wasn't enough of it. She took 4 ballet classes a week and 2 pointe classes.

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I'd like to also add that both my daughter and the dancing friend from her studio who got accepted to Tisch have always been known as highly expressive, musical dancers and were very strong academic students. While the third dancer was equally expressive and musical but not as good an academic student (and still got into NYU), she didn't get accepted into Tisch since her technique wasn't as strong.

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This is incredibly helpful to me. Thank you to everyone who has answered. Is there anyone else who can contribute? I'd love to hear from you. THANKS, again!

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I don't know about previously, but last year at least there was no separate application for NYU and Tisch. The NYU application and supplement is submitted, The student specifies the program and school to which the application is being made, and the audition takes place. Following that, the decision is made, and the student either is or is not admitted to Tisch. Should one not be accepted to Tisch, there is no fallback. Application to a different NYU program is not permitted during the same application cycle. The website is very specific about this.

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