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Ballet Talk for Dancers

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Okay, I can speak to a few of these.  My daughter is currently a freshman in the Ballet program at OU.  She loves the program. Mr. Beardon does teach class usually at least once a week and usually runs the rehearsals, unless a guest choreographer or student choreographer is doing a piece.  I believe he runs more classical performances as I have not heard of any pieces that he choreographed himself.  The connection with OK City Ballet is brand new - like within the past month.  I know the AD has come in and taught a few times, as did the AD for Tulsa Ballet.  

It's pretty busy.  This semester she's dancing at least 4 hours a day and when they did they're show, she was rehearsing almost daily.  Two of the rehearsals in the evening 6-9, and two during "company" class which is 2x per week. And then on Saturdays after class.  Right now, she's just in the Young Choreographers Showcase which is in January so the rehearsal schedule is not as intense.  I think next semester she has a bit of a break as she doesn't have a pilates class too.  

Freshmen can only audition for the company of the genre they are studying (ballet or modern).  After their freshman year, they can audition for both companies.  

Lets see... I don't think DD made a decision in March.  We visited campus in March so, I think your good to wait for other audition results.  


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Thank you Lady Elle.  Your information is very helpful.  She is yet uncertain as to which road to take, so the more information we gather, the better.  There was a nice personal note on the acceptance letter from Micheal Beardon, and I think that she really enjoyed the Master class that he taught at the College Dance fair.


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  • 2 weeks later...

My daughter was thrilled to receive an acceptance letter for ballet a few weeks ago, and this is definitely one of her top choices! We've followed this thread so closely and really appreciate everyone's insights. A few questions: 

* The housing contract opens next week. Is there a reason to rush, or will it be ok to wait? The housing choices seemed very similar to us on our campus tour.

* The acceptance letter encouraged attending June summer classes. Can anyone share more about their summer experience as an incoming freshman? Would you definitely recommend attending? And where did you live during the summer - are dorms available? 

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The students attending summer intensive do stay in the dorms.  There is no need to rush on the housing contract.  We hadn't even decided to go with OU until around April.  My daughter did not attend the summer intensive as she wanted to just stay home and work for her last summer before leaving so I can't speak to that.  I am in contact with one ballet parent who's daughter did attend, and from what she posted, she seemed to really like it.  

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Thanks Lady Elle, I was wondering about the SI as well.  My DD will still be in HS the week it begins. Her graduation and final performances go until mid June. Ive noticed that West Coast schools end later in the year.  Glad to know that although it would be good to attend, it's not required

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I think the housing issue is that there's a possibility of living in one of the newer dorms although there are very few spots that only the earliest people get.  I also think the honors college students have new options this year.  Within the Towers there are quiet floors and other ways of personalizing the experience that I think she is more likely to get if she does housing early.  But, if she is just planning to be in the Towers and doesn't have a roommate preference, it probably doesn't matter.

My daughter did the summer program as a freshman last summer and was extremely glad she did.  She was the only freshman ballet major, but there were several modern freshmen and older ballet majors.  It is typically a very small program, but she was able to make great connections to faculty and get comfortable in the facilities in a less pressured environment.  In the studio performance at the end of the program, she was able to perform in four pieces and even got to do a solo variation and a pas de trois which was a great confidence boost.  She went back to her old studio at the end of the program for an open class and several people commented at her growth in just the month she was there.

It was also a dry run for the real move in September which was nice.  She got a ballet, apprentice and modern credit out of the way, but it is expensive as an out of state student.  We were able to obtain a partial tuition waiver which helped.  They stayed in the upperclassmen dorms last summer (Headington) which was really nice but spoiled her for the freshman dorms!  One thing I will say is that you have to ask a lot of questions because they weren't great about communication ahead of time.  When you are used to the clear and consistent communication from summer intensive programs, the change to college freshmen at a state school was a bit of a challenge.  In the end, it was a GREAT experience and she is very glad she did it.

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Thank you AKM and Lady Elle for sharing details! We certainly have a lot to think about in the coming months - and likely more questions too!     

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  • 1 month later...

To Lady Elle and others presently in the program. Can you answer a few more questions and lend specific insite into the ballet program.

One thing we were not able to experience during our visit was observing an actual class and interacting with the present dancers.

How many dancers are in the class? Does she feel she is getting individual corrections? Is the atmosphere supportive? How is casting for the pieces? Are there dancers that always seem to be the leads? 

DD spoke with Michael Bearden and he seemed very approachable and invested on the phone,  but one never knows if that is just a recruiting strategy. Can you share her impressions? 

She will have some difficult decisions coming up,  but really liked the OU campus and program.  Her goal is definitely to get into a professional company.  So we want to make sure she will find a program that will help her and encourage her. 

Thank you for your help. 

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Balletgem - my DD had experience with Michael Bearden and another OU faculty member, Jan Fugit when they were both at a different university program.  They were two of her favorite instructors there and she was sorry to see them leave.  They both were very approachable and supportive.

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My daughter is a student at OU and is very happy with the program.   It is a small group (about 12ish?) of freshmen and a very supportive program, and she also gets to enjoy the "big college" atmosphere (football games, etc.) when she has time.     I would echo the comments from millvillemurphs; she really enjoys daily classes with her instructors, as well as having the opportunity to work with guest instructors.  She receives specific feedback during classes and during midterm conferences, and also feels comfortable reaching out to her instructors with questions about summer intensives, etc.   She attended the fall audition on campus and then returned in January to see the Young Choreographer's Showcase, take an official tour, talk with a current student and observe a class before making her final decision.  It was an additional expense, but worth it because she came away feeling confident with her decision.  Best of luck during this exciting time!  

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Thank you both for your input.  I will share with my DD. I think we will try to make an additional visit to observe class and do an official school tour. 

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Our DS has high regard for Michael Bearden. We have met him and get the impression that his interactions are authentic. Our DS was able to make 2 on campus visits and observe class. Very helpful. The performances are first rate. DS had just one semester with Jan  Fugit and would agree she is a valuable addition to the school. 

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I agree with the points that have already been made.  My daughter feels that she is getting a LOT of individual corrections and attention from all of the instructors.  They seem very willing to talk with her and answer specific questions about how she's doing.  They do a midterm one on one meeting with each of the dancers discussing their progress, goals and aspirations and how to help them get there.  The atmosphere among students also seems very supportive particularly for the ballet majors.  My daughter says she has never had so many friends!

My daughter attended the summer semester this past summer and had a painful infected toenail.  Michael Bearden was understanding and supportive even while he was encouraging her to tough it out.  He seems to truly care about the dancers and even had a one-on-one talk with my daughter about not worrying so much about what he thinks and just dance without being so hard on herself.  He really pegged her personality right away!

There haven't been enough performances to know how balanced casting is, but it is clear that there are a few VERY strong dancers who have many opportunities.  There are enough roles though that it seems that it gets spread around to more than just one or two.  


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Hey, sorry for the delay.  I haven't been here at all over the Holidays.  My daughter echos all of the same thoughts here.  She really loves Jan Fugit.  I can't really speak to casting.  It seems fine.  Freshmen ballet majors do not get to audition for the modern (or contemporary) company performance but are able to do both after freshman year.  I'm not sure if anyone previously mentioned this but the pair up the freshmen with "mentors" and that has been nice for my daughter.  She has had a few evening get togethers with upper classmen that she really hits it off with.

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Thank you all for your input and answers to my questions.  DD will definitely schedule another visit to observe classes, and do an official tour.  Any suggestions of things that she should ask or look at to help her with her decision.  We will probably fly in on a Thurs night with the thought of spending all day Friday and if necessary part of Saturday.


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