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Ballet Talk for Dancers

College Dance Fair(s)


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I believe the College Dance Fair is billed as just that . . . a 'Fair', much like a college fair, a camp fair, etc. The classes are billed as Master Classes---not audition classes.


It is, as others have said, an opportunity to take a Master Class with the college faculty, ask questions, obtain information, mingle, etc.---just as one would do at a college fair with the added benefit of the master classes. It is nice to be able to go to one location and collect information on multiple programs at one time. No, it does not replace actual college visits or actual audition classes, but it does often help narrow the list for those you do want on-campus visit. Some of the college dance programs do not permit prospective dancers the opportunity to 'drop-in' and sample a dance class (other than the actual audition class), so this is an opportunity to sample the college dance classes one might not have otherwise.

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The NACAC Performing and Visual Arts College Fair tours all over the country, and almost all colleges with dance, music and art programs attend, so you don't have to fly too far. The 2014 schedule is up and it's free!

Go to the site and click on the Performing Arts Fair tab for the schedule and registration




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My daughter attended last year's college dance fair as a senior. Since these programs are part of a university or college and have an academic requirement as well as an audition, the schools are not able to grant acceptances on site. At least that is my understanding.


After each class my daughter took she spoke to the teacher to see if she might be a good fit for their program. Together we met with the faculty at the closing sessions and discussed their admission processes. Some programs were very forthcoming with their thoughts on acceptances to the dance programs, others less so. She narrowed down her list based on these classes and meetings. She applied to 5 of the colleges that were at the college dance fair and was accepted to 4. All with very nice scholarships (talent/merit). One school used the master class as an audition. 2 others ended up using the college dance fair class as an audition as well due to illness/weather issues.


From my point of view one of the best reasons to attend, if you can, is to develop a contact at the programs of your choice. Being able to email/call a faculty member you've met when you're stuck at an airport unable to make an audition is really helpful during those stressful times.

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Thanks for your input Lmelud. My daughter is a rising senior and we keep going back and forth on whether or not she should attend this ballet fair. It's nice to hear the teachers gave her some input on whether they thought she may be a good fit for the program. Also nice to hear that she was able to use the classes as a back up for an audition she had to miss.

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The ability to use the classes as a backup audition would certainly be one of the "pros" of attending. Also, being able to take classes with actual faculty would be another plus, since most college fairs are just a meet and greet with no classes. Being able to to assess several colleges in one trip, without having to visit several different far-flung campuses would also be nice, saving actual campus visits for the final choices. I know U of Utah and Juillard both have auditions throughout the country, but how many others offer the ability to audition without actually traveling to the school?

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  • 1 month later...

Based on last year, does anyone know if all master classes offered at the fair are ballet technique classes?

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Mainly ballet classes but some contemporary. This is a ballet college dance fair.

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  • 1 month later...

We are heading down tomorrow as well! Did you just pack casual items? We are having trouble knowing what to bring.

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Only casual items. Find us and say hi. My son is over 6 feet and we both have red hair. We should be pretty easy to spot.

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  • 2 weeks later...

jamied and sewribbons how did your kids enjoy the program ? how many master classes were they able to attend in a day ? Did you feel they were able to get a good feel for the schools they are interested in ? We are looking to do this next summer as she will be starting her Junior year.


any info would be great !



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Hi kernotmi - Sorry it took me a while to get back to you on this!


DD really enjoyed this program and we felt that it was very helpful. The program is structured so that dancers attend three master classes per day for two days - so its a total of six 90 minutes classes. There were nine (I think) programs in attendance, so dancers had to select their six choices. The choices were made in advance but we were told that changes were possible at the event. My experience was that this was not really easily done but I think could have been done in the right conditions (more on that later.) When dancers first checked in on Friday evening, they were provided with a schedule of their classes, had their photos taken, and were given a badge with a number on it. I believe that the badges were color coded according to whether they dancer was a junior or a senior. There were a lot of juniors there.


There was a reception Friday evening with the school representatives giving a brief introduction about themselves and the class they will teach. The rest of the time Friday was a typical College Fair set up - reps at their tables with their brochures, answering individual questions. Our problem was that we didn't arrive until the very end of the Friday evening session so we had no idea who the reps were or what classes they would be teaching the next day. I had assumed (never a good idea) that all the classes would be ballet.


There was one class, then an hour break for lunch (box lunches provided at the studio for all dancers). Then a second class, hour break, then the third class. After the 3rd class on Saturday, there was the same College Fair set up again. On Saturday, the hour break between 2nd and 3rd class was used for a presentation given jointly by Julliard (an admissions rep was there, but not a teacher so no Julliard class was offered that weekend) and Point Park. The presentation was not about their programs but about college programs and conservatory programs in general - what are differences, what are things to think about, what is difference between BA vs BFA as far as class credits. This session was VERY helpful and informative.


The staff at Boca Ballet were terrific - very friendly and helpful. I learned that the event was started just three years ago as a service to dancers in South Florida. They were very surprised to see people coming to their program from across the country and mentioned that the intended audience - South Florida dancers, are not a big population at the event because their studios don't allow them to attend due to the competitive nature of the studios. They said that the first year there were around 20 dancers in attendance (and so they opened it up to sophomores as well). Last year around 40 and this year, just over 70 (I think I got the numbers correct or at least close.)


My DD did not know that one of the classes she was taking was going to be modern and she attempted to switch to a different class so that she could do ballet but since the classes were starting there was no time to do so. This occurred again the 2nd day with another modern class which she wasn't able to change. In the end, it was for the best because both modern classes were great, the teachers excellent and both gave her things that she took away and continues to think of with her dancing. She found the modern class with SMU particularly amazing; she was so excited about what they had done in there; the teacher was fascinating to talk to as well - top notch!


I'd say that DD got a good "starting" feel for the schools. For us, it was a great starting point and a good source of education regarding the sorts of questions we should be asking and the ways in which programs can differ. It was also a great opportunity to "level set" - to assess DD's ability in comparison with others of the same age and with the college-level class being given by the instructor.

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We loved it. It was very helpful. The schools that I thought were going to be at the top of my son's list, got knocked off entirely. Schools that I didn't think my son would like, he loved. I also liked the fact that after the classes my son could talk to the teachers and ask if they thought he would be a good fit for their schools. It helped him to narrow his search.

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