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Ballet Talk for Dancers

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My dd will be auditioning next weekend. ¬†Just praying she doesn't get this really bad cold that has had me and her dad down for the oast week! ūüôŹūüŹĽ congrats on your daughters college decisions!

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  • glissade_jete

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  • 2 weeks later...

For those of you who have dk's in this program now, or have recently graduated or even those who have committed to going into OU ballet program next year, I would love to know what other programs you turned down to go to OU and why you choose OU over the others,

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LadyElle, it is BT4D policy to not compare college programs‚ÄĒsame policy as for SIs. ¬†These are individual decisions and choices.

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Ladyelle, I encourage your DK to request to talk with a current sophomore to get some perspective on his/her decision. Our DS has been very happy with his choice. We had the opportunity to meet the new Director of the School of Dance last fall. We liked him and think he will bring great organizational strength. 

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Because I was a student there under the "old guard," some of the things that drew me to OU would be outdated at this point, but here are some of my reasons for why I ultimately chose OU over other selective programs which are still relevant today:

I LOVED the campus and I LOVED the dance facilities and the theatres (there are two different theatres you mainly perform in, one of which is a BEAUTIFUL newer venue). While there are older studios used as well, the main dance building, which is shared with the opera department, is gorgeous and prominently displayed on camus. To me, it showed that OU really valued the performing arts. I also loved the fact that OU is in a college town while being a very quick drive away from Oklahoma City. To me, that was the best of both worlds.

The university president (although about to retire) was a big supporter of the performing arts majors and loved running into the dancers on campus. The current Dean of the College of Fine Arts is the former, longstanding director of the School of Dance, so if anything, the dancers now are even more supported than they were when I was there.

I enjoyed being able to be classically focused in my training, rather than being required to take a lot of other genres beyond the required modern classes. That being said, you can take other genres if you want. During my time, dancers often took extra modern classes, and some were even able to fit dance classes from the musical theatre department into their schedules, such as tap and jazz.

For a public university, OU has a large percentage of National Merit Scholars on campus, which made me feel great about joining their Honors College. It was important for me to feel academically inspired. In fact, I worked with a professor who was formerly on faculty at Yale to write my honors thesis before graduation. As an Honors College student, I had the perk of having my advisor automatically be the Director of the School of Dance. The School of Dance holds their Honors College dancers in high esteem.

OU is very supportive of dancers working toward professional careers, and the faculty supports them after they graduate, as does the social media for the School of Dance. The dancers don't just "disappear" from the eyes of the School of Dance after they leave. This seems like it would be obvious, but there were other top programs I auditioned for who very explicitly stated that due to the competitive nature of the field, a professional performing career in a ballet company after graduation would not be likely.

Seniority is not a factor in casting. There are other programs out there where dancers shouldn't necessarily expect to perform much their freshman year. Freshman can and will be called to rehearsals for soloist roles or any other part.

Obviously, everyone has different priorities but those are some of the things that sealed the deal for me.

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I have two perspectives on OU: as a parent of a current ballet performance major; as a professional in the ballet world for 29 years.

glissade_jete’s assesment of the program is consistent with my daughters views as a current freshman.

As a parent: My daughter loves the program. She remains challenged and has commented that her¬†training has continued. Meaning the staff ‚Äúteaches‚ÄĚ a lesson and doesn‚Äôt just ‚Äúgive‚ÄĚ class. She also feels guidance and mentoring outside ¬†of the training which is wonderful. The staff has a personal¬†interest in those students who have an interest in the craft. She has enjoyed the dorm and dining hall. The schedule can be long depending on casting but, that is why she is there.¬†

As a professional: I am in the unique position of having a dear friend on staff, and an additional colleague as well. (As a result of those friendships I may appear to have a bias, however, if I felt differently, I wouldn’t send my daughter there!) They are both vested in training healthy dancers as well as healthy adults! The program has a good balance of technical training and performance training. It is a highly selective program...I believe they accepted less than 20 freshman last year. 

Without going into a comparison of specific programs I will say this: my daughter had several different programs to choose from. They ranged from company affiliated trainee positions and other universities. Why OU...she and I felt it was the best opportunity for her training to continue to grow with equal focus on classroom training and performance. It was the best fit for her.

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Gcwhitewater - thank you.  I really appreciate your perspective.  Great information.  DD really wants a program that continues her training so this sounds like a great fit in that regard.

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Had DD gotten into OU I think it would have been hard for her to not go there. She loved everything about it when she visited and auditioned. Alas, the program did not love her back.

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I also want to add that I loved the fact that the program is so small. The entire ballet program is the size of single graduating classes at other schools. When I was there, we always had roughly 40 ballet majors total, men and women combined. It made it feel like a legitimate company, as opposed to a program where there are many, many more dancers. It also gives rise to a true family feeling amongst the dancers because everyone knows everyone else so closely.

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Yes and I hope it stays small.  With the big national tour they had this year I wonder if they are trying to grow the program. 

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They are not trying to grow the program! They enjoy the intimacy of a smaller program. The extended tour this year is to reach more students and be even more selective than they already are. :wink:

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ūüė© well, I hope my dd has the opportunity to consider this program! ¬†She felt good about the audition and they seemed to like her. ¬†Fingers crossed, prayers lifted!!

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