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The Illustrious Avocado

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The Illustrious Avocado


I am a high school senior and am starting my college search. I was wondering if anyone had recommendations on places to apply.

Just some information, I have a 1470 on the PSAT and a 4.54 weighted GPA. I am more of a ballet person -- I am not looking for a modern-heavy program. I am looking for universities that will allow me to double major hopefully or seriously pursue as an extracurricular. Also, I am a male ballet dancer, which provides interesting experiences to talk about in college application essays.

Some of the colleges I have on my list are Columbia (I hear they have several great, serious programs), Duke (known for their strong ballet program), and University of Utah (where I could hopefully get a substantial scholarship).

Thanks! Any information you have would help.

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The Illustrious Avocado, there are many colleges with dance programs even serious ballet.  Some things to help you in your search...

I urge you to look at the forum called Colleges/Universities with dance programs.  There are MANY colleges with dance and/or ballet programs.  They are listed in alphabetical order.  Some threads have lots of information others barely any, it will just depend on the experiences of the Ballet Talk members.  They should at least give you an idea of what is out there so you can do more research on the university websites, college confidential, YouTube, etc. 

At some universities it is difficult to do a double major with dance especially a BFA and when combining with science majors (not sure what your main focus is).  Often the university will tell you it is possible, but you will need to ask other students or look at actual schedules to get a real answer.  Dance minors are easier, but they may not give you the same access to training/performance as a major, depending on the university.  Again you would need to ask questions.

Some other colleges to consider ... I believe most if not all of the Ivies including Columbia, Princeton, Harvard, etc. have student run ballet companies or something similar. Along similar lines, USC (S. California) is very competitive for dance as well as academics (not sure about the ability to double major).  I believe Vassar has a minor but the department head is a former ABT dancer.  Other state style schools similar to Utah might be Indiana, Arizona, Oklahoma, Cincinnati, UCIrvine, South Carolina.  These are all fairly serious ballet/dance programs (some students become professionals), so they probably have varying ability to double major.  Some are more heavily ballet others are mixed with jazz/modern.  I think Amherst and UMass have a link with the 5 colleges system and there is a dance and/or ballet program there. I am sure there are many others, so I would again encourage you to look in Colleges/Universities section at the individual threads.  Good luck on the college search!

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Hello The Illustrious Avocado! Welcome to Ballet Talk for Dancers. May I encourage you to please introduce yourself in the Welcome Forum so we may learn a bit more about you and your interest in ballet.

Congratulations on your fine academic standing and goals to pursue ballet as you attain your college diploma! I am not familiar with the ballet programs at either Duke nor Columbia but they are both highly respected programs academically. While running your Search on appropriate programs that are a good fit for you, a few things you may want to consider are the strength of the ballet teaching faculty, what is their background in performing and teaching, what performing opportunities will you have once we are through COVID-19 restrictions and does the university have a record of aiding the students enrolled as dance majors obtain auditions for job placement or opportunities? 

Quite a few of the graduates at the residential high school program in which I am affiliated, do pursue an academic career either directly after high school or during their professional careers as ballet dancers. The feedback I have received generally speaking, pertains to the issue of general classroom technique. You can look into programs that have the same teaching philosophy as you are accustomed such as RAD, Balanchine, American eclectic, Cecchetti or Vaganova or you may dive into a totally unknown classroom philosophy with the hope to learn interesting new things about how to move. Only you can make this decision. Either way, I suggest you visit as many of the schools on your list and take a class or two. When COVID-19 is under better control, you might also wish to attend a College Dance Fair where quite a few university dance programs come together in one location. These "Dance Fairs" allow the students to sample classes and discuss various options without traveling to all locations. You may find these options in our College Dance Fair threads. Right now of course there is nothing planned in the near future. Perhaps they will find a way to do it virtually.

Getting a scholarship is a wonderful opportunity. Hopefully the other programs of interest will also offer you such initiative. As a male, you may have more options than you know. Ask the question of each program. This is the only way to know. 

Please do read as many individual threads as possible, but as you do so, please also remember that a program is not necessarily a good fit for everyone. What one person loves, another may question or find not for them. This is why we at BT4D do not recommend one program over another. May I suggest you discuss your university ballet options with a ballet professional you trust and respect. This person may have a better insight on what may suit your personality and needs to aid your further development in ballet and dance in general. In today's professional ballet world, you will need a strong modern dance background as well.

All the best to you on this journey!

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What are your goals? Do you want to be a professional dancer?  Continue dancing at a high level while pursuing an academic career path?  Are you looking at BFA programs or only BA programs?  If we leaned anything through the college admissions process it’s that there is a huge range of possibilities for dance study at the college level, and it’s really important to have some clarity about your goals in order to narrow down to programs that are a good fit for you.

Duke and Colombia could be great options if you’re looking for a school with excellent academics with a strong dose of dance on the side—but it’s unlikely that any BA program is going to keep you dancing at the intensity needed to keep you on track for a professional career as a ballet dancer.  I’d also keep in mind that academic admissions there are very very competitive and with your test scores would be reach schools.

I totally agree that guidance from teachers will be the most helpful as well as perusing the higher education threads here.  Some schools outside the more obvious strong ballet programs (Butler, Indiana, etc) that crossed our path were the University of South Carolina, Adelphi, and Texas Christian University.

Best of luck on your college journey!

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  • 2 weeks later...
The Illustrious Avocado

Thank you all! This is very helpful

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