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Oceanwalker

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Reply with quote  #1 
Hi all!

DS (graduating class 2017) is beginning to make his list of colleges he'd like to consider/tour.  I've read many threads which have been so helpful, so thank you for posting!  The process is mind boggling (and expensive), so all information here is welcomed.

We have a question re: scheduling tours of the dance dept/campus.  Is the best way to do this to call/email the head of the dance dept, asking them for a dance tour, and then scheduling an actual college tour?  Looking for any advice on the best way to do this...thank you in advance!

My other question is like so many have asked:  BA vs. BFA.  DS is academic, strong in all dance genres but favors contemporary/jazz, and likes the sound of a double major (dance and business or biology...he's just a junior).  I know this might change.  He seems to like non-urban campus better, but not opposed to urban.  We are looking at strong academic schools that have Dance as a major.  I would LOVE any feedback on the dance programs/majors at the following schools, in no particular order.  I rarely see any of these schools mentioned, and DS wants to continue dancing (with strong dance curriculum) throughout college, possibly after:

1.  Emory U (Atlanta)
2.  George Washington (DC)
3.  Duke (Durham)
4.  Vanderbilt (Nashville)
5.  UC Santa Barbara
6.  Chapman
7.  UC Berkeley
8.  UC Irvine
9.  UCLA
10.  Northwestern

DS has already visited a few "A" colleges for dance but wants to consider other schools, as well.  Thank you so much for any advice you can offer!!

Much appreciated [smile].

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diglass

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Reply with quote  #2 

Good for you for getting started on all this!  I'll try to offer some answers. I would say start with the schools website for scheduling tours. Some schools have very specific information regarding how this works and only offer tours on certain days. Others are more relaxed. If you can't set up a tour online, then contact the dance department. Some schools also allow you to observe classes. I would highly recommend observing classes where you can. 

As for the BFA vs BA we were uncertain about all that in the beginning as well. (I am open to correction from others if this is not accurate info)  
I believe (or it was our finding) that BFA programs are geared toward dancers who wish to pursue a career performing. BFA programs typically require more actual dance classes than a BA. Many BFA programs do not allow a double major. 
BA programs seem to work well for dancers who want to double major. They also require more academic courses than the BFA. 

You can look into the different majors offered at a school and determine what may interest your child most. Each program can have some very interesting sub categories or minors. After doing some research your son should start to see a trend of what he is looking for in a program. 

I'm sorry I do not have specific info regarding the schools you have listed. My D only wanted to look at schools in large cities. I have read amazing things about the program at Duke. 

If you have any questions about the "A" schools your son has looked into I may be able to help, if we looked at any of the same schools. 
Best of luck, it is one crazy process!

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tendumom

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I have a college freshman aged dancer who is starting a traineeship with a ballet company and going to college on a very part-time basis using on-line classes.  I did research some of these issues to some extent over the years. I had thought she would attend a traditional college and not major in dance, that dance would be an activity, not a vocation. I also did some research into musical theater programs as well- even crazier than ballet BFA programs! 

You rarely see these school mentioned for dance majors for a reason. The only stand out on that list to me, respective to dance, is UC Irvine. They do have  strong dance program and produce professional dancers. The others, I don't know at all with respect to dance, except that a few of dd's friends have looked at some of these schools because they were going to major in something else but were hoping to still dance. She does have friends at a few of the schools on your list, but I honestly do not think any are dance majors (I know the one at Chapman is majoring in film or something like that). Her friend at Berkeley is in the student ballet company (she was accepted as a ballet major elsewhere but I think is an engineering major there). Those stories seem typical for her friends at these schools. 

The BFA vs BA talk is one I've seen a few times, not necessarily here though. I can't remember anymore. It can be very hard, if at all, to double major in some BFA programs. A question to ask when looking at some of these programs is not just whether it is possible but how many succeed... and of those that succeed, what were the second majors and minors. I understand that some schools are more difficult than others. 

For a dancer that wants to dance professionally after college, you want a program with a track record of placing dancers. I can think of one highly thought of dance BFA program that doesn't seem to have much of a track record lately of placing dancers into paying jobs. I had this discussion with one of dd's best friends as she narrowed down her choice from the 3 excellent programs she had been accepted to. I told her to ask about the alumni in more detail... where are they now? Looking at the alumni of that one program, they were not dancing in companies or places where she would hope to dance some day. Of course, she still had to decide between the other 2 programs. Her dad was happy as the program was the most expensive and gave her the least money. [smile]  

Good luck! Once dd made the decision to go the trainee route, I found myself wishing she was just applying to college. It's actually easier because you know there are places that will accept them. Can't say the same about getting a trainee or second company spot in a ballet company, or a job in musical theater (her "back up" career... still waiting to figure out what the back up to her back up is!)

 

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Michgal

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Tendumom - can you share which college that was that doesn't currently have a good track record of alumni dancing?
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tendumom

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Well, it's not so much that more recent alumni don't dance, it's that they don't seem to be dancing in paid companies. There seems to be a lot of the "make our own company" thing with a bunch of other alumni. It's definitely a modern based program. 
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Oceanwalker

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Thanks to all for your responses!!  Great info and much appreciated.

DS has more a jazz/contemporary focus and has already seen Pace, Marymount Manhattan and NYU.  Now time to start looking at the others.  I've never seen any info with respect to Duke's dance program, but we did spend time today researching Chapman and it seems they have a solid dance program...hoping to get more info on the other schools I listed above, as most credit themselves as having dance as a major.  It is very interesting to research the different dance programs on the individual college websites.  Some colleges really promote themselves, their programs, their students/graduated students and beyond...and some schools don't promote as heavily on their site.  We have researched on youtube as well...looking for any and all info for the list of schools I mentioned above won't be so easy without contacting the schools themselves.

I need to buy the Dance Magazine College book, wishing they had it loaded online for instant access, lol!  


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diglass

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My D, a college freshman,  applied to all three schools mentioned above. We had the best of intentions, but never toured the dance dept at 2 of them. Audition conflicts, snow storms, and commitments at home sometimes took over. Pace was not what she was looking for at all. Let me know if you have any questions about those schools. There are 2 other sites that may be helpful to you. College Confidential and Ballet talk 4 dancers. I don't remember where I found the info about Duke. I believe they are associated with The American Dance Festival which creates many amazing opportunities for them. 


tendumom  your last comment made me giggle. During my D's college audition season there were actually times that I almost wished she was trying the ballet trainee route. I felt like there must be far more ballet companies out there than modern/contemporary college programs!
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ballerinamom13

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Reply with quote  #8 
When I was at UC Santa Barbara (granted - awhile ago), I don't think they had much of a dance department and the ballet company in SB is very small and very underpaid.
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Shaylenek

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Reply with quote  #9 
I would suggest finding out when the dance department has an event or show that you could watch and schedule your general campus visit to allow for you to see the work the department is doing.  It was very illuminating for us.  This does mean that the department may be too busy for a lot of direct contact during that same visit but if you are just seeing schools right now in order to narrow the list he wants to apply to and schedule auditions for, seeing them dance seems to be more important right now.  They will give your family full attention at the audition and department specific questions can be answered there.  

BA - generally about 30% of the credits will be in dance classes which allow for a more flexible schedule to get a second major done but at most schools they still have ample performance opportunities and the same basic requirements.  
BFA - at least 40% of the credits will be in dance classes.  Some upper-level opportunities are reserved for the BFA kids.  Each school approaches BFA doubles differently and that is truly worth a phone call to each department he is interested in to see what they allow.  ASK SPECIFICALLY how many of the current BFA students are actually pursuing a second major.  That is very interesting because if the kids in the department are really doing it - you know they are going to support his efforts.

If you are looking in North Carolina anyway I actually strongly suggest Elon University.  I was just there for DDs first performance and was greatly impressed.  Academically the school is top tier and they bend over to allow their arts students to double major.  Admission is very competitive both academically and artistically (there are 12 freshman in her BFA program - 2 already dropped) but guys obviously have so many options.  As one of the top musical theatre schools in the country, they have a large crossover of arts kids in the jazz and tap classes.  They have many currently working on Broadway and in the cruise industry.  One recent alum just got a contract at Radio City Musical Hall with the Rockettes after 2 years with them in Nashville.  Elon is also one of the top schools in travel abroad options.  Dance for the camera in LA, African dance in Ghana and ballet in Florence Italy are some of the options.    


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LasMa

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Regarding tours -- Have your S (not you) email or call the Admissions Department first.  They'll know how it's done, and who to contact in the Dance Department.

The privates are probably going to be a lot more accommodating, and give more personal attention.  For the publics, you may need to content yourselves with seeing performances if possible, at least at this early stage.
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judie

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The question that was posted got me to thinking...what DO they want to do...other than work for a company if they are majoring in dance?  Most of the girls I know of that want to go to school for dance have no clue other than to teach dance later on.  If they really want to be in a contemporary program, wouldn't it be best to skip directly into trying to get into a traineeship rather than try to be placed after four years in college?


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diglass

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Reply with quote  #12 
@judie

My D, who does want to dance for a contemporary company, is going the college route for 2 reasons. One, to gain experience in modern/contemporary training that she did not have access to at home. Two, based on the research we have done, companies are hiring more college grads than high school grads.     It was often stated, during college tours, that dance students may start school thinking, that they want to perform with a company and then fall in love with something else, like choreography. Many college programs have some great options for minors as well that can lay a foundation for a back up plan later. 
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tendumom

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Reply with quote  #13 
Quote:
f they really want to be in a contemporary program, wouldn't it be best to skip directly into trying to get into a traineeship rather than try to be placed after four years in college?


Some do go this route. Their trainee years often end up being close to the same time period one would be in college. And, those in contemporary companies that I know personally who did not go to college for dance, actually did the ballet thing before with time in top levels of big name schools, trainee programs, etc. 

This is dd's goal, though her aim is a ballet company. She is doing college primarily online
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