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@Marzipandreamsthey will understand. The dancers in the program were at home for half of the spring semester and from Thanksgiving until this semester started. They are used to dancers being at home. 

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Good to know, AAAsMom. Thanks!

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My d had her audition yesterday, and she said it went well. Glenn Edgerton taught the ballet class. She liked it. The information session was very informative, and we got to meet just about everybody in the department. I really liked what I heard. The relationship of the Tallchief dancers to the dance program is fascinating to me.(I'm a history teacher.) This program definitely is high on our list. The interview was with all of the department and my d thought it went well.  Fingers crossed!!

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Re: the letter of intent for Oklahoma, you won't be considered for ballet scholarships without it, so if we are sent one, we will sign as we need to know about scholarships, and it is non-binding. We really like all we have seen and heard and it is one of our topic prospects!! Merde to all dancers!!

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  • 3 weeks later...

Just got accepted to the ballet program at Oklahoma!! Yippee!! Sending in the letter of intent so d can be considered for scholarships!!

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My DD, a current junior in HS, and I did a virtual visit of OU's dance dept. and also a class observation last week of a freshman ballet class. We are planning an in person campus visit later in March.  Our tour guide was a current OU dance major.  It was very informative and gave my daughter good insight into the program.  She had done OU's virtual SI last year, so she was a bit familiar with some of the teachers. Our guide said they only perform Nutcracker every 4 years and that they don't typically do full length classical ballets each year either.  They perform more neo classical ballets and do excerpts from classical ballets.  We were a bit disappointed to hear this, as my daughter is used to performing in Nut every year and a classical full length ballet in the spring at her pre pro studio.  The OFB tab on the OU website however says they do perform full length classical ballets. Can anyone attest to their typical rep pre covid?  I'm guessing it may be partly due to the fact that they don't have many male dancers in the program?  I believe our guide said they had 6 in the total dance department.  We are wondering if the dancers feel they are getting adequete pas training and pointe work.  My daughter's goal is to perform professionally with a ballet company.  I know OU is one of the top programs for ballet performance, but it surprises me that they don't put on full length ballets every year.  

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ballettalkgrm, My DD is a current Sophomore at OU and I was able to get her to give a 1st hand answer to some of you questions and concerns, which I will share below.  Making a decision about which College program or Trainee program is right for you DD can be difficult, especially as each program has its own pluses and minuses. This year of Covid has changed many aspects of dance, and we can only hope to resume some sense of normalcy in the near future.  Best of luck you and your DD as you move through this process.

"Dear ballettalkgrm,

I am a current Sophomore ballet performance major at OU Dance. I have a lot to say in response to your post that I think will be valuable, so please read this open mindedly and in its entirety.
First of all, it is correct that OU Dance does not perform full length ballets each year. However, this is intentional to prepare us for the professional world by exposing us to as many different types of classical and neo-classical repertoire as possible. For example, this fall we had Price Suddarth from PNB set his work "Signature" on us, and while your daughter may find it disappointing that we were not working on a full length ballet, experiences like this are priceless in preparation for a professional career, not to mention the choreography was physically demanding, on pointe, and a good example of the reality of the current ballet world--- companies are performing mixed-rep shows all the time because, fortunately or unfortunately, the modern audience eye does not just want to see the classics.
However, I have worked on a lot of classical rep as well. In the summer at OU I worked on swan lake pas de trois, Giselle act III pas, and Paquita pas. My first year at OU we did Nutcracker, learned Sleeping Beauty variations in pointe class, and worked on excerpts from Don Quixote for an In Studio show. This year we began by working with the choreographer from PNB, but I am also performing Gerald Arpino's "Reflections" this spring as well as working on classical rep in repertoire class. 
On the more contemporary side, even as a ballet major, I have done a contemporary ballet pas de deux in the Young Choreographer's Showcase, participated in senior capstone works, done another contemporary ballet work in YCS this spring, and I am also currently in tech week to dance in the Opera. I personally believe that I am actually gaining more performing experience by not doing full-length productions often, as it gives me the time to work on multiple roles and pieces at once.
While OU Dance does perform full-length ballets, I think not only performing full-lengths has given me even more experience on stage. The director of the School of Dance was a professional dancer with Ballet West for many years, and he feels that it is more valuable that we as individual artists get to experience as broad of a spectrum of styles and types of choreography so that we are best prepared for the professional world of ballet.
Also, in response to your post, there are 6 men in the ballet program, but not in the School of Dance total.
I 100% feel I am getting adequate pointe training. I often rehearse on pointe, I take technique class fully on pointe two days a week, and pointe center on Fridays. Freshmen also have an hour pointe class three days a week.
Pas is the only area I do not feel I am getting adequate training in currently, but that is because of COVID (I was supposed to be taking pas this year).
I hope all of this helps! OU truly is an incredible school, and deciding to come here was the best decision I ever made."
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balletgem, thanks for your daughter's insights into dancing at O.U. ballettalkgm, I have read that some students have danced in Oklahoma City Ballet's Nutcracker if you can't get enough of Nutcracker!! Lol, after 8 years of d dancing Nutcracker and me volunteering, I welcomed this no Nutcracker year (but not the pandemic)! We are visiting O.U. on April 8th so I will let you know any insights. My daughter thought they had the most well-run audition and enjoyed being interviewed by the whole panel of professionals from O.U. (At other schools, there were fewer interviewers, and some of the audition pieces were very awkward and did not seem well thought-out.)

Edited by Marzipandreams
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balletgem, thank you so much for your DD's in-depth and very thoughtful response to my questions.  It is good to hear that even though the department may not be performing full length classical ballets every year, she feels she is  still getting a portion of that training through rep classes.  I agree that well rounded exposure/performance opportunities are key in making a dancer more marketable professionally so kudos to Mr. Bearden for his direction.  If your DD could answer a few more questions, I'd appreciate it. 

-Can she confirm that ballet technique is taught M-F for 1.5 hours a day for Fresh-Seniors and is pointe 2 x a week Soph-Senior years? I know you said it is 3x week for Freshmen. 

-Are there any classes on Saturdays?

-It's also my understanding that very few OU students get selected to perform with OKC Ballet.  I believe our tour guide said only 2 were selected this year.  I don't think they audition for Nutcracker, I think they get selected, but I could be wrong. 

-Is the department encouraging of dancers auditioning for professional trainee/apprentice spots during the school year?  Are they willing to work with the dancer to allow him/her to work on their degree remotely?  

Thank you so much!

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ballettalkgrm, Here are my DD's answers to your follow up questions. I will add that prior to Covid restrictions, Director Bearden brought in several different guest teachers from various ballet companies to teach on Saturdays.  This was a wonderful opportunity for the students to be exposed to the companies, both to be seen as well as to get a sense of the style of that company.  I know for some it also led to an invitation to audition for Trainee/Second Company positions. This year they have had a few Zoom Master Classes with different guest instructors.  I will also add that when they are rehearsing for a performance, there are rehearsals schedules M-Thurs 6-9pm in addition to Sat, the dancer may be there all or part of that time depending on what pieces they are cast in.
-Technique is an hour and 50 minutes MWF and an hour and 20 mins T/R for all levels.
-For all levels technique is all on pointe T/R.
-Only freshmen take pointe class, which is 50 mins MWF. 
-Ballet levels that don't take pointe class often do pointe on Fridays as well, however this is up to teacher discretion.
-There are technique classes on Saturdays when rehearsals are scheduled, which is more often than not.
-I am fortunate to have been selected as a Joint Studio Company member with OKCB. Students are chosen by the artistic director from OKCB with input from OU Staff. Last year, Mr. Mills did not come and do an audition at OU due to COVID, so OU faculty sent video footage from our performances of students they selected for Mr. Mills to look at. Usually, Mr. Mills would come to OU and teach an audition class.
-There were two sophomore girls, one senior girl, and one senior boy who were OKCB joint studio company members this year. 
-The faculty obviously encourages students to complete their degree before leaving OU. However, there was a girl the year before me who left after her freshman year to attend a trainee program. As far as I know, it is not possible to get a dance degree remotely.
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balletgem, thank you and your daughter again for all the great information.  It's very helpful.

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  • 5 weeks later...

ballettalkgrm: How was your visit to O.U.? We go in a week. Just wondering. . . .

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@Marzipandreamsthe OU visit went well.  My daughter liked the campus and said she could see herself there.  Hopefully, next year they'll be able to see her there too.  LOL.... The campus is medium sized and seems pretty compact.  Many of the buildings are of a British architectual design which made for a pretty campus. We had taken a virtual tour of the studios/dance department a few weeks prior and the spaces seem well lit and a good size.  Everyone was very friendly.  Norman seems like a nice city with lots of restaurants and places for students to hang out near campus.  Oklahoma City is about 20 miles away, so if you want to take in museums and a larger city it's very close by.  My daughter will be attending OKC Ballet's summer intensive this summer and likes the fact that OU and OKC Ballet have a relationship.

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