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Guest Rachel88

I'm a Senior this year, and have been looking into colleges with a strong ballet emphasis in their dance progams. The University of Oklahoma has been on my list for some time now, but I was wondering if there were anyone out there who had any first hand experiance, or knowledge, of what their program is like. Thanks so much for any and all your help!



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Rachel: I attended the University of Oklahoma and was a Ballet Pedagogy major in the School of Fine Arts. I understand that the Dance program has now been elevated to the School of Dance under the direction of Mary Margaret Holt. Unfortunately, I was there such a long time ago, that I'm afraid that my information about the program would be sorely outdated and of little use to you. I can tell you that, since I still live in Oklahoma, that the ballet program at the school has an excellent reputation. I was there when Ms. Holt first arrived and I found her to be an excellent teacher in addition to the already outstanding faculty of the school at the time - Miguel Terekhov, Yvonne Choteau, and our own Victoria Leigh from the Ballet Talk boards. If they have contintued to maintain their standards, then I believe that OU could be an excellent choice to add to the schools you are considering. I hope that you will take the opportunity to visit OU and talk with Ms. Holt about your future. I'm sorry I can't be of more help to you, but I know the OU website and the School of Dance websites will offer you more information about the admissions/audition process.



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The big question to ask is how many of their grads, in the last ten years or so, have gone on to pro careers? I don't have current data, but the last time I checked, the grad stats, at that time, were not showing progression to pro classical companies. :wub:


If you are not looking to use the program as a springboard to a pro career, then I cannot say enough about the school, the academics and campus life. OU has developed a fine reputation for academics. The University of Oklahoma is #1 per capita among public universities in the number of freshman National Merit Scholars enrolled, and in the top 10 of all public and private institutions in the entire country. :)


The School of Dance is part of the College of Fine Arts. There are two performing venues, that are state of the art as well. I'm a grad of OU (not in dance) as are all the members of my family, from my parents down to the nieces and nephews that have already reached college age. Boomer Sooner! :lol:

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We all know that the ratio of ballet dancers going to college and being hired professionally afterwards is usually pretty slim. I would say the best college for dancers wanting to become professional would be Indiana University. From my experience, having numerous friends attend Indiana University, the directors of the program in most cases will help individual dancers set up auditions for companies their Senior year of college. They also help the dancers chose which companies would most suit them. I also believe that North Carolina Dance Theatre has an affiliation with a college in Charlotte which allows dancers to attend college classes in addition to dancing as trainees or apprentices with the company. (They may have discontinued this program) As for Oklahoma University, i'm not too sure.

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NCDT's affiliation is with the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. However, we need to keep these threads specific to the college at hand. Please post what you know about other programs (UNC and Indiana) on their own threads, so that others can find all the information in one place.


While I know it is hard not to compare and contrast, these threads are set up to address each college's program individually. :D


premaballerina, I certainly do realize that the number of students who go on to pro careers is smaller for college programs than it is from HS residency schools. However, I think that this is still a valid indicator of the quality of the program, for those who are looking at a degree from that school as a springboard to a career. For those who are considering a school for a teaching degree or as a double major or something other than a pro career, then this particular criteria is not going to be as important.


Do some more research on college programs. I think you will find that there are programs, in addition to Indiana, that have had some success in getting their grads work. :D

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Thanks for the suggestion! And sorry if I offended anyone by voicing my opinion...just trying to help! :offtopic:

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I am a 1997 graduate of the University of Oklahoma dance department (as it was called then!). I subsequently went on to sign a corps de ballet contract with Cincinnati Ballet, and after 3 years signed a Senior corps de ballet contract with Ballet West. Fellow grads have gone on to dance with Pacific Northwest Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet, Houston Ballet, Texas Ballet Theatre, ODC San Francisco, Tulsa Ballet, Miami City Ballet, and more. The quality of training and the performance opportunities at OU were exceptional, and I honestly can say that without my 4 years there I would never have been able to dance professionally. I can't recommend the program enough. Since I graduated, the School of Dance has continued to grow, both in numbers and in space. A brand new state of the art dance building has opened on campus this year.

Please do not rule out the University of Oklahoma School of Dance as a "springboard to a professional career." Without my training at OU, I couldn't have gone as far as I did in my professional career...and I am sure that many other grads would say the same thing.

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crytz76, thank you so much for the information about your career after graduating from OU and also those of fellow grads. Are all those you mentioned dancers who were contemporaries of yours in the program?


Can you tell us about the assistance that was given by the school to seniors who were looking for a job, please? Did any ADs come to the school? Were you allowed to miss classes to travel for auditions? Was there assistance with resumes, photos, etc.?


It would be great if you could fill out the questionnaire in the sticky at the top of this forum and share more of your knowledge about OU's program! Boomer Sooner and welcome to Ballet Talk! :clapping:

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Guest Rachel88

Wow! You don't get time to check the message board for a couple weeks and look at what you miss!!! :blushing:


Thanks so much for all of your input, especially crytz76! It was great to hear about the companies dancers have gotten into after dancing at OU, it's really helped me a lot! :P

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I just auditioned for OU Monday, the first audition of the year. There were 31 of us, including about five boys I think. Donn Edwards gave us about an hour and a half of ballet (no combinations were overly challenging, but a good class) and then the boys did two combinations alone, and we had about fifteen minutes of pointe. Again, nothing more difficult than a double pirouette. I can answer any questions about the audition, we had a tour and I learned a lot (like the fact that their courses are team-taught) so if you're curious, just ask. I don't want to ramble about my experience if no one's interested. :shhh: I just received my acceptance letter into the University yesterday, but I don't know too much about their academics. It was almost insultingly easy to get in so I'm almost afraid my education wouldn't match up to my ballet experience if I went there. Can anyone prove me wrong?


Again, ask me questions if you have them. I love to talk. :wink:

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The University of Oklahoma is #1 per capita among public universities in the number of freshman National Merit Scholars enrolled, and in the top 10 of all public and private institutions in the entire country. OU is home to nearly 700 currently enrolled National Merit Scholars.


I took that from the OU website. Not a bad credential, in terms of the academic quality of the students enrolled. Do a bit more research on the school. Check out the number of Rhodes scholars, look at the faculty for the school you are interested in, consider the rankings given to the grad schools in the various colleges in national listings. I think you will find that the academics at OU are first rate.


Boomer Sooner :shhh:

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Apple...when I was at OU, I was enrolled in the Honors program, which opens you up to Honors level classes, which are more challenging, smaller in size, and more in-depth than the regular general education classes. I also added a second major in my junior year (Letters) and there were several other dance majors who were pursuing second areas of study. When it comes down to it, your academic experience will be what you make it, depending on what general ed courses you choose to enroll in, whether you enroll in the Honors program, whether you take upper-level courses as electives, etc. I guarantee you will find that a challenging academic environment exists at OU, and that the dance program is first-rate.

Was your audition held in the new building? I am anxious to hear what it is like!

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Was your audition held in the new building? I am anxious to hear what it is like!


Yes, it was in the new building! It was sooo nice. I loved the studio the audition was held in, it'll be used for informal performances so it has a full set of lights on the ceiling, which is pretty neat. I'm not sure what exactly is new but it's all quite nice. Outside that studio (where the audition was) there's a barre set up along the windows. I stretched there before the audition and it was cool to look out on campus, and have that little area outside the classroom. Overall, very very nice facilities. :wink:

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