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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Significance of BA or BFA


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I'm currently a dance major focusing on ballet and my school offers both a BA and a BFA degree track. Everyone accepted is put on the BA track and after the first year you have to apply if you're interested in the BFA. For a future career, how much do those letters really matter? I'm not aiming for a big company or anything, just somewhere I can perform for a few years and teach before I possibly go back for a master in dance therapy. Thoughts?

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For a company position -- or any dancing position--it will not matter one whit which degree (or any) you have. BAs typically have more academic hours required and BFAs have more 'performance' hours required. Either degree will also let you move on to advanced or graduate degrees. Although, as with anything, you may have pre-requisites to pick up.


As to whether one degree or the other is more desirable for an administrative or teaching career right after undergrad, someone else may be able to address.

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  • Administrators

For teaching I would say the BFA would be best, followed by an MFA. This would allow you to teach in colleges. It also gives you more performing, as dancemaven said.

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I have a BA in dance. In the late 1980s and early '90s, there were few college programs offering a BFA. I transferred from Butler University's Jordan College of Fine Arts to another program but was only able to get into a BA program. I performed quite a lot at both schools. I had to take a lot of music and music theory, kinesiology(after biology, anatomy and physiology), and study of the other fine and performing arts such as art history, theater and several writing courses. I really think a lot depends on the college. Indiana University has a stellar program in ballet, and their offering is a Bachelor of Science.

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One other thing you may want to do is sit down with your advisor and discuss your long term goals. He or she is familiar with your school's requirements and would be able to give you information about what their alums are doing with each degree.

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  • 2 years later...

To revisit this topic, I was wondering if a B.A. would allow a double major in dance + something.

B.F.A. seems like a heavy course load in dance that would not allow another academic field unless an extra year was spent at university.

Many parents on ballet talk, including myself, have concerns about not having an option if the dancer just doesn't make it in ballet or has an injury. Spending money on a college education in such a tough competitive field as ballet is difficult for the parents. This field almost didn't exist and now we have so many pre-professional programs and resources that make the girls want to pursue this for life rather than as a hobby.

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I'm not an expert on this topic, but from what I've seen of the job world, employment applications often just want to know what college degree you have. They often don't care what your particular major is. If a person is applying for a job unrelated to dance, a B.A. is a broad college degree. A B.F.A. is more narrowly defined and is the mark of a art degree which may not have as broad of an appeal in employment as a B.A.

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