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Ballet Talk for Dancers

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I haven't been here in a while... :D Anyway, I am in need of some help!! I'm in the process of beginning to sort through colleges, and am checking out as many as possible. My question is, how is the ballet at Boston University?? I'm really interested in the school as far as academics and programs, and it seems like it would be a perfect fit for me, EXCEPT that the ballet program is making me pause. I looked it up online and from the descriptions it doesn't sound very promising. I was wondering if Miss Leigh, Major Johnson or anyone else here knows anything about the program at BU or the faculty... Margot Parsons is the advanced ballet teacher; technique is offered 3 days a week and pointe is offered the other two. Also, if their dance program doesn't turn out to be too strong, do you think it would be feasible to dance independent of the university, with other schools in the city? Boston is a big center for dance, or at least that's the impression I've gotten...so I'm wondering what other options I might have in the area. Boston Ballet probably wouldn't work out because it's a full time program and I don't know if going to college and dancing with the BB's school would work...although I guess I still should look into it. ANYWAY....sorry this is so long winded. I would REALLY REALLY appreciate any help and info. about this!!! Thank you very much!!! :rolleyes:

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Katie, are you planning on majoring in dance when you go to a University? If so, I would look at other programs. If you are majoring in something else, and want to continue dancing, then a city like Boston should be a viable place to be.

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I am obviously a mom and not a dancer and as such I realize that I am not supposed to post here. However, I thought I could give an answer that would be helpful. Boston Ballet is not a "full-time" program. The top level is 7-i and is about 18-20 hours a week. Classes begin after-school. Students in the program come from public and private schools all over the Boston area with varying school hours and many commute long distances. As such is the case, there is no early release program. Several of the dancers in the the program are currently attending local universities including, I believe, Boston University.

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Yes, thank you very much, unsoccermom!! That is very helpful information. I went to the Boston Ballet's website after reading that and emailed them asking about college students in their program. Do you happen to know anything about the program, such as the main differences between the "i" levels and the regular levels? (Apart from the time involved--I already checked that on the website.) Also, do you happen to know any other Boston area schools in particular that are good? Sorry I'm asking so many questions...thanks a lot for your replies!! Any info. about Boston area schools is welcome.


Also, the university told me that most of the students in the advanced ballet class are students who have studied seriously but are pursuing other interests at Boston, which is pretty much what I assumed after reading Miss Leigh's reply. That's why I'm looking into other schools... Do either of you happen to know any other Boston area schools in particular that are good?? Sorry I'm asking so many questions...thanks a lot for your replies! :(

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There are two programs at Boston Ballet. There is a recreational dance program which is referred to as the main dance division. The pre-professional track program is called the intensive division. Classes for the lower level intensive division and all main dance levels are held at the Boston studio and two suburban satellite studios. The upper level intensive classes including 6-i and 7-i are held only at their Boston studio. Enrollment in the intensive division is by invitation/audition only. The main dance levels are open enrollment, but this division is not very advanced and does not provide enough class time for an advanced dancer. Many of the upper level intensive (i) students have gone up through the program and have danced at Boston Ballet for many years. Some of these dancers have graduated from high school and have gone onto colleges locally, but have continued to study ballet in the intensive dance division. Also, it seems that each year a few post-grad students attend the the Summer Dance Program and stay on for the year.


There is a large number of open adult classes in the Boston area. Boston Ballet has daily open classes in the morning and evening open classes M-F. There are, also, open classes at Jose Mateo's Ballet Theatre of Boston in Harvard Square which is a short T (subway) ride from Boston. There are open modern and ballet classes at the Green Street Studios and the Dance Complex both in Cambridge near Central Square.


I know of only one strong dance program at a college in Boston and that would be the Boston Conservatory. It is a well-known modern dance program, but they, also, have ballet classes.


I guess it depends upon what you are looking for .... if your plan is to train for a professional career in dance and attend a university in Boston at the same time, the the Boston Conservatory would likely be your only option. If you wanted to test the waters a bit more and go to college at the same time, then auditioning for Boston Ballet's intensive division might make sense. This option would probably not be a long-term one. If you just want to take classes without plans to dance professionally, there are more than enough open classes throughout the Boston area. There are other college dance programs in New England and these were discussed in a thread on the parent's board.

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  • 2 weeks later...

You should also look into Jose Mateo's Ballet Theatre (JMBT): 617-354-7467. Its website might work: www.ballettheatre.org. It's the second largest professional ballet company in New England. Even at that, it's MUCH smaller than Boston Ballet, and more flexible in what it can offer individuals in unique situations. JMBT has trained dancers to a professional level for whom, for one reason or another, the standardized programs at a place such as Boston Ballet were not appropriate.


I have yet to meet a ballet dancer who graduated from the Boston Conservatory and thought it was a good experience. The academics there, I'm told, are rather poor. I know someone who studied at Boston University while studying with and dancing for JMBT; she is now a principle in the company.


Just remember that the more you study ballet, the more progress you'll make; however, it will jeapordize your academics.


Boston in general is NOT a huge center for dance. It's actually very hard to promote dance in Boston. However, I think very highly of Mateo and what he is accomplishing. Recent reviews of the company's just-finished Fall Season in the Boston Globe and Herald can give more information. The company will soon produce its annual 30-performance Nutcracker.

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Thank you for the information, unsoccermom and citibob. That is really useful for me, and I'll definitely look into Jose Mateo's Ballet Theatre--it sounds like a really interesting option worth considering if I decide to go to Boston. Right now, the problem is that I'm not exactly sure if I want to major in ballet performance or if I want to major in something else while continuing to study ballet. No matter what, I know I'll be dancing, but some days I can't imagine doing anything else with my life--and then some days I can't imagine giving up my other options--English, writing, journalism, and clarinet are other things I'm interested in. So...I guess I have to make that decision before I can really decide anything. But thanks again for the info.!! :)

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  • 4 years later...

BC is actually much further outside the city than BU, so if you are relying on public transportation, it would be a lot more difficult to find time to get in to the Boston Ballet studios, and almost impossible to go all the way into Cambridge. I'm not sure what it would be like with a car.

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Boston College is, however, a reasonable distance from Boston Ballet's metrowest studio location (BC being in Chestnut Hill and the metrowest studio being in Newtonville). Unsoccer-mom posted back in 2002 that the highest intensive division classes are only held at the Boston studios and this may still be the case. A student interested in Boston Ballet would need to attend a placement audition in order to know where classes are available to them based upon their level recommendation.


thedancingj is correct that, if a student is placed in a level only held in Boston (again, things may or may not have changed since 2002), public transportation into Boston from Chestnut Hill would take time as would traveling by car (traffic through Brookline is heavy beginning 3:30-4 pm and the turnpike traffic into Boston from that area is equally heavy at that same time).


Conclusively, BU is closer to Boston Ballet's downtown studios, Jose Mateo, Green Street, Dance Complex, etc. BC, being in a much more residential area, may be more difficult to deal with in terms of proximity to ballet classes.

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  • 2 years later...
  • 6 years later...

Anyone had experience submitting an arts supplement for dance to BU who is not majoring or minoring in it? All we can find is the College of Fine Arts Supplement guidelines, not a general supplement through Common App.

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