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University dance programs with a emphasis on ballet


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Hello everyone!

I'm looking for a suitable university dance program with an emphasis on ballet. but i have to mention that I'm not a pro, im an adult dancer(im 18) and have just gone en pointe. Do you know any dance program that i can get into?

Edited by Biscuit Ballerina
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Welcome Biscuit Ballerina, there are actually some colleges that do not require auditions for entrance into their programs.  Three I can think of off hand are Duke, Barnard, and Skidmore.  Vassar has a minor only program too (with an ex ABT principal dancer as department head).  I do not have any real knowledge about these dance programs other than they do not require an audition for entrance, so you will want to do your own research by reading their individual thread here on Ballet Talk, looking at their college/program websites, and maybe looking at some of their performance and/or class footage on YouTube or other sites.  College confidential is another good online resource.  I am sure there are many more colleges that have dance programs without auditions or that may not be super selective.  Most of the college programs are listed in alphabetical order here, so they are easy to sort through.  You could start with colleges that you are already interested in?  are familiar with? are located near you? etc.  I wish you the best of luck!

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Thanks for your reply!

I have a few colleges in mind to do research on but im not sure if I'm qualified enough to pass their auditions, are there any certain level of ballet that they may require? Or Cause Im not a total beginner :( but as you said maybe i have to look for a less selective program🙁  I'm also looking for universities in europe!

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Each college is different with what they want in a dancer, and only the admissions people know what that is.  If you read the individual threads for each college, that should give you an idea of their selectivity and possibly what they want to see in their prospective students.  Generally speaking, the highly selective programs get hundreds or thousands of applicants and will expect to see dancers with extensive ballet training.  While there is no harm in applying to these schools if the application fee isn't an issue, they are similar to Ivy League Universities, in that they are a reach for everyone and a guarantee for no one.  Therefore, it would be important to apply to some schools that are less selective or do not require an audition.  I also recommend browsing through the Higher Education General Discussion forum.  There might be some threads you would find interesting about auditioning, applications, etc.

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Are you hoping to find a BFA program?  Or a BA program?  The best known BFA programs are very competitive and for advanced students.

Mount Holyoke is one place that has a strong ballet program in a non-audition school.  But when I say "strong" I mean in the context of a liberal arts education, not a professional training program.

There are a number of programs that have a dual ballet and modern focus, depending on your background and interest.  A couple that come to mind are Towson and Adelphi.  They are both audition-only BFA programs.  University of South Carolina has a well-regarded ballet program but I'm not sure how competitive it is.

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I've been following this chain closely and am eager to find a list of competitive programs, regardless of audition. We will be researching universities in another year for our DD and have a lot to learn.

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The best advice I can give anyone looking at colleges is to figure out what you or your DK goals and preferences are first and look for the colleges that will best fit what they want and need.  Do NOT get caught up looking for the most selective or competitive schools.  I made this mistake the first year of looking for SIs for my DD and crazily started that way looking at colleges.  Fortunately my wise DD reminded me that those universities did not necessarily have what she wanted and/or needed.  Some more advice if you are looking for someone whose goals include becoming a professional dancer...Aside from the usual online searches, recommendations from teachers, and research on sites like Ballet Talk, we found that professional dancers' bios were very helpful.  When DD saw a company or specific performance she felt was representative of her future goals, she read the bios to see if they went to college and where they attended.  Many of the well known colleges were represented, but there were also some little known gems that we discovered. 

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  • 7 months later...

How is the college search going? I'm in a similar situation, although as a community college transfer student. My dream schools are University of Utah and University of Arizona. 

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On 2/12/2021 at 5:57 PM, Amie said:

The best advice I can give anyone looking at colleges is to figure out what you or your DK goals and preferences are first and look for the colleges that will best fit what they want and need.  Do NOT get caught up looking for the most selective or competitive schools.  I made this mistake the first year of looking for SIs for my DD and crazily started that way looking at colleges.  Fortunately my wise DD reminded me that those universities did not necessarily have what she wanted and/or needed.  Some more advice if you are looking for someone whose goals include becoming a professional dancer...Aside from the usual online searches, recommendations from teachers, and research on sites like Ballet Talk, we found that professional dancers' bios were very helpful.  When DD saw a company or specific performance she felt was representative of her future goals, she read the bios to see if they went to college and where they attended.  Many of the well known colleges were represented, but there were also some little known gems that we discovered. 

Which schools did you find in your search? I would be interested to know

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TinyDancer, we found A LOT of schools in our search, too many to list them all (plus it was a few years ago and the memory has faded a bit). There are truly many, many good programs out there, but none of them are a good fit for everyone.  The trick is narrowing it down to YOUR personal preferences.  If I narrowed that list for you, it would be unfair to you, since what my DD wanted/needed would most likely not line up with your own wants/needs.  Here are some things to think about....

the size of the dance program - There are advantages to both small, medium, and large programs.  For example small programs provide more personalized attention but may not offer all of the opportunities that larger programs do.  Some people thrive from the challenge in a larger class while others just feel lost.  What is most important to you?

the dance content of the program - how often do students have ballet, modern, jazz, partnering, street styles, African, etc.  Honestly no program has time for it ALL, so what is most important to you?  Also, not all programs require pointe work, is that something that is important to you, or would you rather toss the pointe shoes aside?

other content of the program - choreography, production, acting, history, music, film, pedagogy, kinesiology, etc.  These can all be components of a dance program.  Are any important to you?  Would you be aggravated if you had to take any of these courses? 

performances - how often? what kinds? outside opportunities? - Too many performances can be stressful, but too few can leave dancers wanting more.  Everyone has their own limits.  Other things to consider about performances - are outside choreographers brought in to choreograph new works on the students? are there full length ballets performed? are students able to present their own choreography?  What is important to you?

location - small town, medium town, big city - In a small town all you can do is go to class and rehearse, which can definitely be a positive or a negative.  A big city can be distracting but auditions and international company performances are more accessible.  Is one or more of these important to you? 

faculty - Some faculty have connections with companies, some famous for their own dancing, teaching, choreographing, some you may find you connect with when you take their class. 

And the university itself - size, location, accessibility from home, academics, tuition amount, food, diversity, housing, climate, politics, clubs, resources/support systems, and now Covid restrictions might be a consideration.

Of course you can start looking before you know exactly what you want.  It is nice to get a feel for what is out there, and that can actually help you decide what is important to you.  Explore the various threads about each of the colleges and look them up online (and even on YouTube, and other social media)  I am sure there are other threads on here with other aspects of colleges and dance programs to think about and advice on ways to narrow it all down.  I believe there are also threads with suggestions for more specific college searches focused on regional areas, academic requirements, popular/unpopular, etc.  Try looking through the "Higher Education General Discussion" forum.  If you have any specific questions, I'd be happy to answer them, but know that YOU are the best one to really focus the search and make the decisions.

 

 

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Amie - Appreciate that. But, do you recall any "hidden gems" that might mot be the big name but for your situation you thought might be a good program?

For example: I've heard South Carolina and Mercyhurst mentioned in the past.

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There is a thread that I commented on a few years ago, in the Higher Education General Discussion.  (I found it and linked it below)  Please keep in mind that my DD was not looking for a program that was heavy in ballet.  She wanted to keep up her ballet technique, but her heart was moved by modern dance, so her list might have reflected this.  Also, some schools that DD initially thought would meet her needs got eliminated after a visit, audition, or further digging.  I would also encourage everyone who visits a college to post about that visit on the individual threads.  A visit or even conversation with a dance representative, can provide so much information that is not on websites or through word of mouth.  And as you might have noticed, some of the university threads are lacking of much needed first hand information.  Please be kind and help out those who follow you in searching for colleges in the coming years.

https://dancers.invisionzone.com/topic/64970-encouragement-to-look-outside-the-obviouspopular-college-program/

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