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Lad16

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We are just starting out looking at college dance programs, DD is a sophomore. Her background has been in all styles of dance at a competitive studio on team since the age of 6 (jazz, tap, lyrical, musical theater, ballet and contemporary). This year, and will continue, to attend a pre-pro ballet school year round, concentrating on ballet and pointe and only taking contemporary classes at other studio. Also has attended summer intensives for the past 4 years (not just ballet but varied styles). My DD does not "place" consistently at comps with her solos but is one of the stronger dancers on her team and loves performing.
My questions are for those whose children are going thru or have gone thru this process of college decisions. How realistic is it for a dancer who has been trained at a competitive studio to be accepted into a college program such as NYU, Pace, Point Park and Oklahoma City? If your child attended these or other auditions did they feel prepared? If they were accepted were scholarships offered? This process seems so daunting right now and I know there is no way to predict how things will work out but hoping that any advice you can share of your experiences would help. I truly believe DD should have a handful of "safety schools" too that are not audition based, but of course she has her dream schools.
Still not decided on BA or BFA track but is leaning toward jazz or modern programs and trying to focus on the east coast.
Sorry to ramble, but any advice is greatly appreciated!
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cynmckee

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I'll let others reply on the process but from our competitive studio, one boy was accepted at PACE with a full run scholarship last year.  One was accepted into NYU with a good scholarship and a girl was accepted into Marymount Manhattan with a very good scholarship.  One boy went to England to study dance...not sure of his exact landing though.  The year before that, one got a full run at Pointe Park but only lasted a couple of year there.  We also just had a boy who had gotten a full run at NYU Tish graduate who had gone to our studio.

They all say they felt fully prepared.  But I tell you what the Marymount girl told me.  She said to be humble and work hard because there are a lot of "stars" that came in with her and because they have just expected to be handed leading roles or great placements because of their past experience...well they are becoming sorely disappointed.  It's a new life with a clean slate when you get into college, I think.
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Psmom

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My intention is to be realistic, not mean. I've never seen your dd dance so please keep that in mind. A soloist who doesn't place in competitions isn't likely to get into a top dance program. Competition dance is definitely not a factor in a college audition process but it is where your dd has spent her time learning to dance so far and that is why you should weigh her lack of success there in evaluating her prospects. She could grow a lot as a dancer over the next two years and become a candidate for a top program. Look at expanding her list of schools she's interested in visiting. The only way to get a good feel for a school is to visit and observe both classes and performances
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cynmckee

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Psmom
My intention is to be realistic, not mean. I've never seen your dd dance so please keep that in mind. A soloist who doesn't place in competitions isn't likely to get into a top dance program. Competition dance is definitely not a factor in a college audition process but it is where your dd has spent her time learning to dance so far and that is why you should weigh her lack of success there in evaluating her prospects. She could grow a lot as a dancer over the next two years and become a candidate for a top program. Look at expanding her list of schools she's interested in visiting. The only way to get a good feel for a school is to visit and observe both classes and performances


Is that true?  It has been interesting/perplexing to watch, because dd is a sophomore and is watching the seniors at her PAHS closely for what is happening for them in college auditions.  A handful of the really talented seniors are not getting offers from the college auditions.  It is a little baffling for everyone watching.  Well, it's baffling for us because the kids from our studio have not really had all that much of an issue to date.  The studio kids are getting their scholarships from NYCDA nationals.  There is all kinds of speculation about why the PAHS are not getting callbacks, but I think it is only wild speculation because no one knows...and you kind of want to know as the years are getting short.
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Lad16

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Reply with quote  #5 
I appreciate your response Psmom, I would not take it as mean. Although her strength may not be performing as a soloist she dances well in groups and is usually in the front and selected for small groups which in our studio is more selective. She has also had much success with her summer intensive auditions. Just trying to prepare her as much as possible in helping her achieve her dreams.
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Psmom

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Quote:
Originally Posted by cynmckee


Is that true?  It has been interesting/perplexing to watch, because dd is a sophomore and is watching the seniors at her PAHS closely for what is happening for them in college auditions.  A handful of the really talented seniors are not getting offers from the college auditions.  It is a little baffling for everyone watching.  Well, it's baffling for us because the kids from our studio have not really had all that much of an issue to date.  The studio kids are getting their scholarships from NYCDA nationals.  There is all kinds of speculation about why the PAHS are not getting callbacks, but I think it is only wild speculation because no one knows...and you kind of want to know as the years are getting short.


This makes sense based on what I've seen too. A lot of people on this forum are critical of the convention scene but those same choreographers that are working there also work for dance companies or even own their own company. They work for major touring artists and for Broadway shows. College dance programs value their judgement of the talent they see. A dancer who is standing out in conventions like NYCDA and is winning their competitions is getting those scholarship offers to top dance programs. I would wonder too about the PAHS of the top dancers aren't getting where they want to go. It could just be that the pool of talent schools have to choose from now is very deep and wide but the number of dancers a program has is not growing. There are just not enough spots for every qualified dancer. Summer intensives, on the other hand, seem to be huge and there's one for everybody. I think that can lead to a false sense of success too.
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dancermom128

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I would also keep in mind that you can't compare what is happening with the talented boys as opposed to the girls. All things being equal a strong male dancer is going to have more options and more scholarships than the females. Just a fact.
Also, as far as the conventions go...a lot of the faculty especially at NYCDA are also faculty members at the top college dance programs (Scott Jovovich and Suzi Taylor are at Pace, Kim Craven at Marymount). Getting in front of them on a regular basis and standing out to them is going to help your dancer I'm sure.
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Psmom

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Quote:
Originally Posted by dancermom128
I would also keep in mind that you can't compare what is happening with the talented boys as opposed to the girls. All things being equal a strong male dancer is going to have more options and more scholarships than the females. Just a fact.
Also, as far as the conventions go...a lot of the faculty especially at NYCDA are also faculty members at the top college dance programs (Scott Jovovich and Suzi Taylor are at Pace, Kim Craven at Marymount). Getting in front of them on a regular basis and standing out to them is going to help your dancer I'm sure.


We were at a college audition where the director walked into the room of assembled dancers and parents, spotted the lone male dancer auditioning, walked up to him and said welcome to ___ we are happy you're here and I'm sure you won't be surprised to know a full scholarship will accompany your acceptance. She addressed the rest of the room by saying you should have brought a boy.
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cynmckee

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Quote:
Originally Posted by dancermom128
I would also keep in mind that you can't compare what is happening with the talented boys as opposed to the girls. All things being equal a strong male dancer is going to have more options and more scholarships than the females. Just a fact.
Also, as far as the conventions go...a lot of the faculty especially at NYCDA are also faculty members at the top college dance programs (Scott Jovovich and Suzi Taylor are at Pace, Kim Craven at Marymount). Getting in front of them on a regular basis and standing out to them is going to help your dancer I'm sure.


This is what our SO says about NYCDA nationals and why we should really try and do it if at all possible.  He said there is some politics in dance and that they are more likely to give scholarships to the kids that they recognize.  Part of me cringes at that because attending that nationals is a major expense for my family.  I am not sure it makes sense...I see what he says and I go back and forth on my opinion.

And for sure the guys get offers well over girls who are even more talented then they are.  And it IS a sad fact.  The weird thing is the girl who went to Marymount didn't get her scholarship at the actual NYCDA nationals, but they remembered her when she applied, told her she didn't have to come to their audition and offered her a hefty scholarship.  She was on the fence about going to college before that offer because she thought she might just be better off just going out and auditioning/working.  She loves Marymount...everything about it.  But that girl was a consistent winner at competition.
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dancermom128

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Quote:
Originally Posted by cynmckee


This is what our SO says about NYCDA nationals and why we should really try and do it if at all possible.  He said there is some politics in dance and that they are more likely to give scholarships to the kids that they recognize.  Part of me cringes at that because attending that nationals is a major expense for my family.  I am not sure it makes sense...I see what he says and I go back and forth on my opinion.

And for sure the guys get offers well over girls who are even more talented then they are.  And it IS a sad fact.  The weird thing is the girl who went to Marymount didn't get her scholarship at the actual NYCDA nationals, but they remembered her when she applied, told her she didn't have to come to their audition and offered her a hefty scholarship.  She was on the fence about going to college before that offer because she thought she might just be better off just going out and auditioning/working.  She loves Marymount...everything about it.  But that girl was a consistent winner at competition.


That's a great story to hear about the Marymount girl. We are doing NYCDA nationals this summer instead of the Dance Awards and the main reason is the college auditions. Don't get me wrong I would absolutely LOVE DD to get a scholarship there but the main thing I'm hoping is for her to have a chance to be seen by her top choices. And the hope is if they don't give you money there that maybe they remember you when you go to the school to actually audition! So that gives me hope. Her top 2 choices will be at NYCDA. 
And wow...I just read that they didn't even make that girl come in to audition. That's amazing. My guess is they only have so much they can give at Nationals 
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jujusmom

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Reply with quote  #11 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dancermom128


Don't get me wrong I would absolutely LOVE DD to get a scholarship there but the main thing I'm hoping is for her to have a chance to be seen by her top choices. And the hope is if they don't give you money there that maybe they remember you when you go to the school to actually audition!  


This is exactly why we are planning the same thing for next year!  Good luck!

And yes, you can't compare what boys receive to what girls receive.  I tell my daughter all the time, she's a girl... literally a dime a dozen in the dance world [smile]
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JojosDanceMom

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Reply with quote  #12 
I think the question "how realistic is it for a dancer who has been trained at a competitive studio to be accepted" is not really the correct question.  It's about the level of training.  It's entirely possible for a competition dancer to get into the top schools.  DD's friends from the comp world are all in top dance programs now.  DD's current studio is only about 12 years old, so they have only had a handful of graduates thus far... but from those graduates they have 1 attending Dean, 3 going to Marymount, and 1 theater student going to AMDA.  The studio she was in previously has been open for about 36 years and, to the best of my knowledge, has had no students go on to a dance college.

DD has been primarily in competition studios since she was 2 (she did have a good deal of training within a ballet school with several years of supplemental ballet and a couple of years strictly at the ballet school when she was 11 and 12).  She auditioned at Point Park, Alvin Ailey Professional program, and Marymount and was accepted to all with excellent scholarships... and she received a scholarship for Pace from NYCDA nationals in July.

Had she not switched studios last year I seriously doubt she would have gotten any of these offers.  The new studio gave her that extra something that made all the difference.  So, in my opinion, it's not about the "competitive studio" aspect, it's just about the studio's ability to train a dancer to the level needed to get into one of these programs.  That said, it also falls on the parents to do some researching on finding out what schools are out there, what they're looking for, their requirements academically, and to make sure their dancer who wants to go to college for dance is a well trained as she can be.  [smile]
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tapstermom

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I think my advice would be to also look at as many programs as possible.  They are some really nice, smaller schools that might be worth the look. Their price tag might be better as well.  A friend of my daughter's audition at several schools, she was accepted at them all, but the reality of it was she couldn't pay the tuition --most of these schools were $56,00 a year and the small money they offered didn't help    She choose a nice Midwestern school, close to some of her family and has enjoyed it so far(she is ending her freshman year.)  Good luck, and I think you are smart to start now.   You can start touring schools to get a good feel and maybe decided between a few schools.
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pinnellmom

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Our studio is quite competitive and the dancers I feel are well- trained.  Many, many of our dancers have gotten into top schools, some who never even got a scholarship or placed at a competition.  Some of these schools are Point Park and Oklahoma City.  Many of our dancers go on to major in dance and are now working professionally.  I don't believe that scoring well at a competition is going to be what every dance college is looking for in a dancer.
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JojosDanceMom

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Quote:
Originally Posted by pinnellmom
Our studio is quite competitive and the dancers I feel are well- trained.  Many, many of our dancers have gotten into top schools, some who never even got a scholarship or placed at a competition.  Some of these schools are Point Park and Oklahoma City.  Many of our dancers go on to major in dance and are now working professionally.  I don't believe that scoring well at a competition is going to be what every dance college is looking for in a dancer.


Regarding the bolded.  I don't think the previous posts talking about placing in comps where saying that it's what colleges are looking for.  I wouldn't even recommend putting comp placement on a college application/dance resume.  I think what was meant was that it's somewhat of an indicator of a dancer's level of training.  A picture of where a dancer is amongst their peers.  I mean, it's a very loose indicator, but without something as concrete as a GPA to look at, it's a least some measure of a dancer's level of training.

If you consistently place at a wide variety of comps then chances are you have something that stands out and gets noticed.  If you never place or get selected from auditions then you'll probably have some work to do when it comes to getting into a top college.  And if it's up in the air how you'll do from one comp to another, then you may find the same to be true at the auditions.  Again, not an exact measure, but something for a dancer to consider when determining their readiness for college auditions.

Let's face it, the dancers you're competing/auditioning against at comps are likely the same ones you'll be against at a regional college audition tour site... DD saw people she knew from comps/conventions at every single college audition.
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heidi459

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Quote:
Originally Posted by pinnellmom
Our studio is quite competitive and the dancers I feel are well- trained.  Many, many of our dancers have gotten into top schools, some who never even got a scholarship or placed at a competition.  Some of these schools are Point Park and Oklahoma City.  Many of our dancers go on to major in dance and are now working professionally.  I don't believe that scoring well at a competition is going to be what every dance college is looking for in a dancer.


Although my own dd is not active in the college search (making me far from an expert on this subject) I'm finding it hard to believe that a dancer who doesn't generally score well throughout their comp career is likely to have what it takes to make it as a professional performer.  Sure, you don't have to be a winner but you should at least be getting recognized in some capacity... whether it be via top adjudications, scholarships, meaningful special awards, etc .  And it's not so much a matter of a college "looking" for that in a dancer... it's more what that says about a dancer's overall level of talent.  

All that said... I also think that there are so many schools out there w/programs in dance nowadays that it's really not that hard for a less than exceptional dancer to be accepted somewhere. Sometimes even to a school that have a reasonably good reputation.  I've seen it happen firsthand.
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ballerinamom13

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Reply with quote  #17 
My dd did not go the college route (hopefully, she will when she's done dancing) and she stopped doing competitions when she was 12 (except for a few ballet comps), so I cannot really add much to the discussion, but I do know this...Every single friend with kids that have gotten into good college dance programs have excellent technique and that comes from ballet.  I think if the studios are strong in technique, it's noticed at competitions and translates into placing.  Placing translates to offers from good schools. 

My view is - if you don't have good technique, you aren't going very far.  One of my friend's sons was a very good competition dancer 8 or 9 years ago and he was at a studio with good technique and good ballet. He actually asked Travis Wall how he could get better and his answer was - find the best technique you can find and go for it.  He and my dd attended SAB that summer together. He is now a professional ballet dancer with a Canadian company.  The same thing happened to a couple girls at my dd's last competition studio - they left before their senior year to concentrate on ballet and they are both still working professionally (not in ballet companies - commercially). 

I know I sound like a broken record to the people that have been on this board for a long time, but I'm saying it again. Ballet, ballet, ballet.  Ok - off the soap box.
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nowmomto3

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IMO the number one important aspect of college dance auditions and their programs is BALLET TECHNIQUE!  Regardless of the program, for the most part, or even the dancers strengths, ballet technique is the first thing they see at the audition.

I have seen it first-hand.  My D is now a freshman in college, so we went through the college audition process just last year.  She was accepted to all of the programs she auditioned for including Point Park, UArts and Pace.  She saw really strong competition dancers not get into some of these programs and the only difference she came up with was their ballet technique.  Of course, there is no way to really know what the program is looking for but with a solid foundation, at least you are heading in the right direction!

I agree with @heidi459! There are so many dance programs out there and I really believe that you don't have to be a "top" dancer to get into most of them.

I think performing in the dance world is a whole different ball game, college is just one way to prepare them for it!



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brightblue

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Reply with quote  #19 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ballerinamom13

I know I sound like a broken record to the people that have been on this board for a long time, but I'm saying it again. Ballet, ballet, ballet.  Ok - off the soap box.


I don't think you can say it enough. Because if your comp studio isn't really strong in ballet/technique they sure as heck aren't going to be the ones letting you know.

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heidi459

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Originally Posted by brightblue


I don't think you can say it enough. Because if your comp studio isn't really strong in ballet/technique they sure as heck aren't going to be the ones letting you know.



This is just so crazy true but so hard to get people to understand.  To really know what makes strong ballet training you almost have to get out of your comp studio and observe what goes on at those strong serious ballet programs.  It can be like night and day.  We experienced it ourselves.  Dd's old comp studio's ballet instruction is believed to be perhaps just shy of what you'd get at a "real" ballet school by those who go there but in reality it's so very far off the mark.  We had one hell of a wake up call, believe me.
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Bizybee

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I do not have a dancer ready to go to college yet (she will go to a performing arts High School in the fall).  She was at a competition studio for 4 years, usually but not always placing Overall, and always placing in her category.  She has since moved to a pre-professional Ballet studio where most of the dancers do not go to many competition other than YAGP.  I have seen dd's technique improve by leaps and bounds, yet she has only placed a few times in her category or in Overalls.  She did age up into the teen category so that may account for not placing these past two years.  She was accepted into 3 of the 4 l summer programs she auditioned for she was waitlisted  Alonzo King Lines.  Sometimes I think that "flash" and "tricks" win out over technique at some of the competitions.  Please don't take my opinion as a rule as it is simply my opinion.  I will say that I think good technique will take a dancer further than flash and tricks.  Again my opinion.
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4boysmom

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Psmom


We were at a college audition where the director walked into the room of assembled dancers and parents, spotted the lone male dancer auditioning, walked up to him and said welcome to ___ we are happy you're here and I'm sure you won't be surprised to know a full scholarship will accompany your acceptance. She addressed the rest of the room by saying you should have brought a boy.


Thank the heavens I will be bringing a boy then!
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cynmckee

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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4boysmom
Thank the heavens I will be bringing a boy then!


Truly!  Not even kidding!
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cynmckee

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bizybee
I do not have a dancer ready to go to college yet (she will go to a performing arts High School in the fall).  She was at a competition studio for 4 years, usually but not always placing Overall, and always placing in her category.  She has since moved to a pre-professional Ballet studio where most of the dancers do not go to many competition other than YAGP.  I have seen dd's technique improve by leaps and bounds, yet she has only placed a few times in her category or in Overalls.  She did age up into the teen category so that may account for not placing these past two years.  She was accepted into 3 of the 4 l summer programs she auditioned for she was waitlisted  Alonzo King Lines.  Sometimes I think that "flash" and "tricks" win out over technique at some of the competitions.  Please don't take my opinion as a rule as it is simply my opinion.  I will say that I think good technique will take a dancer further than flash and tricks.  Again my opinion.


Kind of feel like that might occasionally true for the minis and maybe the juniors.  For the most part, for the conventions we go to, the kids that place first deserve to win or at least place high.  There may be only fractions of a point between 1st and 10th but the kids who are pulling first have decent technique or they wouldn't have won. 
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mom2rb

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Reply with quote  #25 
Quote:
Originally Posted by nowmomto3

IMO the number one important aspect of college dance auditions and their programs is BALLET TECHNIQUE!  Regardless of the program, for the most part, or even the dancers strengths, ballet technique is the first thing they see at the audition.

I have seen it first-hand.  My D is now a freshman in college, so we went through the college audition process just last year.  She was accepted to all of the programs she auditioned for including Point Park, UArts and Pace.  She saw really strong competition dancers not get into some of these programs and the only difference she came up with was their ballet technique.  Of course, there is no way to really know what the program is looking for but with a solid foundation, at least you are heading in the right direction!

I agree with @heidi459! There are so many dance programs out there and I really believe that you don't have to be a "top" dancer to get into most of them.

I think performing in the dance world is a whole different ball game, college is just one way to prepare them for it!





Every college that had a ballet class as part of the audition, DS got into with a scholarship. The one school that had a Jazz class and solo only, he didn't even get in to the program. He gets nervous, but once the bare work starts, his technique takes over.

I wish that I knew what school gave a boy a full ride. DS has a great scholarship to a great school, but no school gave him a full ride, and definitely not right when he walked in the door.  

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