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threegirlpileup

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My dd would really like to find a BFA program in dance performance and choreography at a school that also has strong academics.  She is very clear that she wants to go the BFA route, but she does NOT want a strict conservatory program--she wants a full, well-rounded college education.  It seems like it is challenging to find programs that offer BOTH high level dance training and excellent academics.

We have a number of schools on our radar, but would love further input.
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tendumom

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Is she sure she really wants a BFA and not a BA? 

I know dancers that have moved from BFA programs to BA programs (same college) in order to be able to fit in all the academics that they want. A BFA is not a full, well-rounded college education. It's rather pointed, as opposed to being rounded. BFA programs generally are conservatory style programs. I think it is so challenging to find both because they might not actually exist or it might not be possible to do in 4 years. 

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threegirlpileup

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She is really sure about the BFA. 

Maybe "well-rounded" isn't the best descriptor.  She just definitely wants to find a program with high-quality dance and non-dance academic classes, not just filler classes to check off requirements when she's not in the studio.
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notime

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My dd is the same. Looking for a BFA with. Strong academic program or double major potential. This is where she has applied/auditioned.

BFA: Wayne State University and University of Michigan near home. Then Pace University in NY and lastly, UCLA (her audition is next month).

BA: Chapman University in CA. Although it is a BA they have such a strong dance program and so many performance opportunities that she feels confident that she will grow as a dancer there and get the training that she needs to be successful. (Chapman is her first choice, she was accepted, but it is so expensive we are trying to figure out how to make it work).

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dancermom128

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Quote:
Originally Posted by notime
My dd is the same. Looking for a BFA with. Strong academic program or double major potential. This is where she has applied/auditioned.

BFA: Wayne State University and University of Michigan near home. Then Pace University in NY and lastly, UCLA (her audition is next month).

BA: Chapman University in CA. Although it is a BA they have such a strong dance program and so many performance opportunities that she feels confident that she will grow as a dancer there and get the training that she needs to be successful. (Chapman is her first choice, she was accepted, but it is so expensive we are trying to figure out how to make it work).



Pace is not known for strong academics. Programs to look at are NYU, Fordham, and USC.
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threegirlpileup

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Quote:
Originally Posted by dancermom128


Pace is not known for strong academics. Programs to look at are NYU, Fordham, and USC.


Thanks for your thoughts. Fordham of course looks great, but is such a long shot. NYU (even if she could get in) looks like a very focused conservatory program with little time for outside academics—is that not an accurate impression?

I didn’t say in my OP that I’m pretty sure she won’t go as far as the west coast.

One of her real passions is choreography, and we recently realized that part of supporting her growth as an artist is feeding her intellect as well as training her body.

Some places on our exploratory list are Elon; Temple; UNC-Greensboro; New School/Eugene Lang; SUNY Purchase and Brockport; Towson; Manhattan Marymount; Shenandoah; Virginia Commonwealth; James Madison.

We are not in a rush as she is a junior but planning a gap year and doing applications then.
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dancermom128

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Quote:
Originally Posted by threegirlpileup


Thanks for your thoughts. Fordham of course looks great, but is such a long shot. NYU (even if she could get in) looks like a very focused conservatory program with little time for outside academics—is that not an accurate impression?

I didn’t say in my OP that I’m pretty sure she won’t go as far as the west coast.

One of her real passions is choreography, and we recently realized that part of supporting her growth as an artist is feeding her intellect as well as training her body.

Some places on our exploratory list are Elon; Temple; UNC-Greensboro; New School/Eugene Lang; SUNY Purchase and Brockport; Towson; Manhattan Marymount; Shenandoah; Virginia Commonwealth; James Madison.

We are not in a rush as she is a junior but planning a gap year and doing applications then.


Some of these schools are not known for academics as well. SUNY Purchase is a conservatory in the truest sense. Elon has good academics but I believe only offers a BA. NYU is very much academic oriented. Marymount would not be know for strong academics. SMU would be another school to consider for strong academics.
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tiptoemom

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My daughter is a senior and at the tail end of this process.

 Fordham/Ailey: She loves the program and passed the prescreen and just completed her audition. Great academics and they allow for a dual major but it is very difficult and only works with certain majors.

NYU: audition is this week. Is very much a conservatory BFA and they do not recommend a dual major. It is possible but they are structured to graduate in 3 years and fitting in a second major is difficult.

Elon: Is a BFA though they may offer a BA, not certain.  She passed the prescreen and has that audition next week. We did a 2 day tour in her junior year. She really likes the program and it is set up to carry a dual major. Good academics. She is in academically and waiting on the audition.

Rutgers: Love, loved the BFA and they allow for a second major. Audition is done and she is in academically and the BFA. Waiting on financials.

Towson: She is in academically and BFA. Loved the audition but not the program or the academics. Know other people who love it so definitely take a look.

VCU: was on our short list but did not follow through with audition. Just did not love the program, though again we know other dancers who love it.

JMU: Love the school and academics. Audition completed. They are only a BA and highly recommend a second major. Have not heard back. Audition was great but stayed for the performance and not in love with the style.

Temple: Will be last audition of the season. Did a dance day there and participated in a class. Liked the heavily modern focus. Likes Temple but thinking of their MFA down the road.

Shenandoah: Her best friend auditioned there and loves the school and the BFA. She is in and waiting on financials. 

Suny Purchase: looked at it and did not love the program and it fell off of the list.

University of Arizona is a very strong triple program. It was too far away.

It is really about visits and talking to other dancers and just doing a ton of research. Schools my daughter loved as a junior fell off of the list. Schools she was not certain about ended up as favorites. Cast a wide net so your dancer has choices and can make comparisons. Try to stay after the audition to see a performance (they often schedule for the same weekend) VERY informative.

Ballet talk for dancers has an entire list of schools with dancers and parents posting all about the programs. Very helpful.



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hopefuldancer17

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Quote:
Originally Posted by tiptoemom
My daughter is a senior and at the tail end of this process.

Towson: She is in academically and BFA. Loved the audition but not the program or the academics. Know other people who love it so definitely take a look.



Can you share a little more about what your daughter didn't like about the BFA program? Thanks.
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tiptoemom

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@hopefuldancer I think it was a lot of things missing from her checklist. She loved the woman running the program. Had a great audition and loved the teachers, but did not love the program. There was not enough dancing. There was something about how the structure their company. The other dancers did not seem to engage with the campus in the way she would like to. The campus itself seemed a bit of a commuter campus to her. Kids talked about needing cars and living off of campus (and we know that may happen eventually at any and all campuses, but she doesn't drive or have a car)

And the above observation should rule out Elon, but that campus is self contained and she loves it. I can give more input in a few weeks.

But she has overlapped at other auditions with dancers who she met that day who love the program. It is so variable depending on what all of the factors coming together. Have you all been on campus or done the audition yet? I'd love to hear your thoughts, too!
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hopefuldancer17

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Reply with quote  #11 
DD hasn't auditioned or visited yet. From what we can see, it looks like freshmen, at least, would have ballet just 3 days a week, plus a couple of pointe classes, and maybe modern twice a week. Does that seem to jive with what your dancer learned? DD is curious about the school, but it isn't her first choice. 
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threegirlpileup

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Quote:
Originally Posted by hopefuldancer17
DD hasn't auditioned or visited yet. From what we can see, it looks like freshmen, at least, would have ballet just 3 days a week, plus a couple of pointe classes, and maybe modern twice a week. Does that seem to jive with what your dancer learned? DD is curious about the school, but it isn't her first choice. 


Is this at Towson?  That definitely would be less dancing than my dd would want....
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hopefuldancer17

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@threegirlpileup, yes, at Towson. And yes, less ballet than my daughter wants, too.
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notime

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Quote:
Originally Posted by dancermom128


Pace is not known for strong academics. Programs to look at are NYU, Fordham, and USC.
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notime

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Quote:
Originally Posted by dancermom128


Pace is not known for strong academics. Programs to look at are NYU, Fordham, and USC.
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notime

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Reply with quote  #16 
Interesting opinion.

NYU and USC were not on our radar due to the type of program they have and Dance style/offerings. Both great programs, but not what she is looking for. (One of her BFFs attends TSCH, great program, just not what my DD wants from her program)

I think that the bottom line is that you need to do your research, tour the facility, talk to students And faculty if you can and make sure it’s a good fit for your daughter and your family. Everyone will have a different take and a different opinion based on their perception.
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threegirlpileup

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Quote:


I think that the bottom line is that you need to do your research, tour the facility, talk to students And faculty if you can and make sure it’s a good fit for your daughter and your family. Everyone will have a different take and a different opinion based on their perception.


I totally agree! That’s why I’m asking! Our list is long enough that we can’t realistically visit all—so I appreciate impressions, understanding of course that they are subjective. I’ve already learned new stuff from this thread and had some of my previous impressions reinforced.
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threegirlpileup

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Quote:
Originally Posted by notime
Interesting opinion.

NYU and USC were not on our radar due to the type of program they have and Dance style/offerings. Both great programs, but not what she is looking for. (One of her BFFs attends TSCH, great program, just not what my DD wants from her program)

n.


If you want to share, what kind of program is your dd looking for, and where are you looking?
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threegirlpileup

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Quote:
Originally Posted by hopefuldancer17
@threegirlpileup, yes, at Towson. And yes, less ballet than my daughter wants, too.


Good to know, thanks! She takes ballet 4x a week at least and I can’t see her cutting back when she gets to college.
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heidi459

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Quote:
Originally Posted by threegirlpileup
Good to know, thanks! She takes ballet 4x a week at least and I can’t see her cutting back when she gets to college.


My dd's not doing the college thing so I have little to add here... but this recent turn in the discussion brings me back to much of what we've heard from her friends/friends' moms who have/are going this route.  How many of them have been disappointed by the intensity of the training/quality of the instruction offered at some colleges.  Just something to think about beyond the number of classes offered per week, I guess.  Not that I have any idea how you can accurately assess that since one person's 'great' can be another person's 'ugh'.  It's all in what you're used to, I suppose.  But definitely something to think about.  Good luck to all those in the midst of the process.  I get stressed out just listening to some of my dancemom friends  lol.
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tiptoemom

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@hopefuldancer17, yes, the schedule you posted is what I remember them talking about. The teachers gave a great audition and have good credentials. The schedule was not what my daughter was looking for. Some of this information you can find by posting on boards like this and sometimes you won't know until you go. 

We could not visit every school. We would block time during the audition to also tour the school and watch a performance. And sometimes your dancer will hate something at one school and love the same thing at another.
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Kayleemom9

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Does a BFA give a dancer better job opportunities than a BA?
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threegirlpileup

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kayleemom9
Does a BFA give a dancer better job opportunities than a BA?


My dd has been repeatedly told that if she wants to teach (she does), a BFA is a much better credential.  That being said, I'm sure there are BA and BFA programs that are exceptions to that rule.

One of my dd's beloved teachers was really encouraging us today to look at Sarah Lawrence, which offers an MFA but the undergrad degree is a BA (as are all degrees from that college).
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Kayleemom9

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Reply with quote  #24 
At my schools you have to be a working dancer to teach. Our dance teachers work in manhattan. Only some have a BFA

Our ballet teacher has ABT to level 7 and Bolshoi certification to teach.
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tendumom

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Quote:
Does a BFA give a dancer better job opportunities than a BA?


For a performing career, the degree does not matter.  Dd's friend who switched from BFA to a BA is hitting the audition circuit this year as a senior. She is explaining in her cover letters why she made the switch. In her case, it was to be able to fit in the necessary academic courses for a second major. Her second major isn't even something in STEM (the areas that I would have thought would be too hard to fit with a ballet degree). 

For teaching, I am not sure that it would matter either, thought that would depend very much on where one was wanting to teach.  All of dd's ballet teachers were working dancers at some point with the exception of one who graduated from a BFA program but decided nor to pursue a performance career. If you want to teach at the college level, I would think BFA would be much more valuable, however, I do see teachers in some programs with no degree at all, but they did come from very high level performance careers with major companies. 

All of it gives me agita! LOL! As I am typing this, I am thinking once again about how many dancers there are out there pursuing dance careers of all sorts compared to the number of positions available in the field whether performing or educating. 

Like Heidi459 above, my dd did not go this route. I followed it closely in case she changed her mind and continue to follow her friends and my friends' dancers on their own crazy paths! Such a nerve wracking field! Even once they are in a company, contracts are year to year, so the stress never really ends. Good luck to all!

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