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Ballet Talk for Dancers


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Cclw, there are options....There are a few companies that have partnerships with nearby colleges and might help your DD to move toward a degree while she gets training.  Richmond Ballet and Nashville Ballet spring to mind.  I don't know much about the programs other than I remember reading something about them having partnerships to help dancers get degrees.  And I'm sure there are others out there.  Also, try not to let your DD exclude colleges with BFAs.  The BFAs usually provide more dancing hours and a few offer double major possibilities.  You can also look for colleges that have ties with nearby professional companies via professors.  These schools sometimes audition university students for positions in the company(ies) and get master classes and other benefits from the professional company.  University of Oklahoma and possibly Cincinnati and Utah are examples here. There are more in the contemporary ballet and modern area like Fordham and Dominican, though I am not sure how easy it is to double major at these.  La Roche College is smaller but has ties to a local contemporary ballet company and offers a BA instead.  Some of the students are trainees with the company.  But I'm not sure if the BA will offer enough dancing hours for your DD.    All of these suggestions will require a lot of research but it might be worth it.  Your DD will still need to be super focused to avoid all of the distractions of college, but it can be done.

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Amie, thank you! I guess I should have said that she definitely wants to graduate with a degree other than a BFA, so I suppose a BFA in combination with another liberal arts degree would be fine. Your suggestions are extremely helpful.

I've pored over the section here on colleges with dance programs, but that was a year ago, before this year's audition season, which has been encouraging so far.  At that point I was looking at all the most academically rigorous colleges with some dance available--like Columbia University and Barnard College. We may have to rethink the priorities.  

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cclw, take a look at Duke and USC.  My DD also wants to attend college as a non-dance major, so we spent a lot of time researching colleges with dance programs/classes available to non-majors.  While we weren't able to visit Duke, we did meet with an admissions person (on tour) and she lit up when she found out my daughter dances.  She made it very clear that duke LOVES their ballerina biologists, etc.  She emphasized that they had a number of double major students.

USC classes are also available to non-majors.  Admissions told me that non-majors don't take classes with bfa majors, but that ballet and other dance classes (with same faculty as majors take from) are available to both dance minor and non minor/major students without audition (other than for placement). 

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Thanks so much, dancemom02.  I also want to put SMU on her list, where I read somewhere that they actively encourage people to double major with dance as one of the majors. Is your daughter a junior or a senior? 

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  • 3 years later...

I came here to add (in 2022) that I know a female classical ballet dancer who graduated from a highly competitive southern based U.S. university with a degree in nutrition.  She did not dance seriously during her college years, but upon graduation found that she didn't want to pursue an internship in nutrition, but go back to dance.  After graduating (aged 22), she put the nutrition career on hold, and instead auditioned for a small, regional, classical ballet company.  She was accepted as a trainee at the company, (and had to "pay" to train), but within the season was promoted and just signed a contract for next year as a company member.

So yes, it is possible to go to college and then dance professionally (in some capacity). 

I will point out, however, that this female dancer had excellent, long-term training throughout her childhood (from a well respected pre-pro school) and has a very good physical facility (with very good feet and the more Balanchine body type). Obviously, her situation may be different than your DK's situation.

In addition, this small, regional company does not pay her a living wage, she has to support herself through an outside job, and live with roommates.  Again, your family finances, and ability (or willingness) to support your DK after college may be different than hers. 

However, all those caveats aside, she is happy and thrilled to be back to performing and being a professional artist, with a science-based college degree to "fall back on" should she wish to pursue that route at a later date.   As has been said before, many roads lead to Rome, and this choice of path is extremely individualized.  

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On 2/6/2019 at 3:35 PM, dancemom02 said:

and USC

University of South Carolina OR University of Southern California? 

I've heard good things about South Carolina. Maybe, not top tier school, but good overall program.

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On 3/21/2022 at 12:29 PM, DanceDaddy said:

University of South Carolina OR University of Southern California? 

I've heard good things about South Carolina. Maybe, not top tier school, but good overall program.

@DanceDaddy, it was University of Southern California.

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