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Onstage Blog’s Top 30 BFA Dance Programs

Replies to: Onstage Blog’s Top 30 BFA Dance Programs

  • threegirlpileupthreegirlpileup 45 replies4 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    edited September 10
    Not all the colleges on this list offer a BFA. Duke and Barnard don't, I'm pretty sure. It seems like a lot of apples and oranges on this list...I mean, Duke has a great dance program for someone interested in scholarship and a liberal arts degree, but it is really not even in the same category as USC or NYU.
    edited September 10
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  • amom2girlsamom2girls 462 replies8 threadsRegistered User Member
    that is certainly an interesting list. I am always curious how they come up with these "best of" lists.
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  • threegirlpileupthreegirlpileup 45 replies4 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Right? I honestly kind of hate them, because they put forth the idea that there even is such a thing as a "best" dance program., or any college program. I mean, obviously some programs are better than others, but to my mind, the fit of a particular program is so much important. Not to mention that for dance specifically, the emphasis of the programs can be wildly different, and that is a huge factor for anyone looking to attend. Some of these schools are on our list, but others definitely aren't, because the focus of the program isn't a good fit.

    And where the heck is Ailey/Fordham? That seems like some pretty low-hanging fruit to have overlooked....
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  • shanniebannieshanniebannie 25 replies0 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    threegirlpileup You are spot on! I also hate these lists because there's no real context. Apples and oranges, indeed! All BFA programs are not created equal. There are GLARING OMISSIONS like Ailey/Fordham and BOCO. Also the descriptions of several of the programs are lazy, uninformed, underwhelming, and read like someone picked one aspect of the program off the website, without any real knowledge about the program. My daughter's school is on this list and the "why we love it" is a description of the dance facilities taken VERBATIM off the Dance program website tab Facilities! I would recommend using Dance Magazine's College Guide, instead of these random lists.
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  • lovetoactlovetoact 455 replies47 threadsRegistered User Member
    I am a parent of acting/musical theatre students and on that board, most people have complaints about these lists, which is understandable. In fact, in a few days when the new musical theatre list comes out on this blog, I'm sure people will be up in arms as they are every year. The title of the article has been changed to 'College Dance Programs' instead of 'BFA Dance Programs,' probably due to complaints that they weren't all BFA programs. OnStageBlog is just that, a blog and they are often printing sensationalistic blog posts that masquerade as news stories to drive clicks. Also, it's absolutely correct to say that one of the important factors is how the student fits the program and how the program meets the need, rather than whether a program is on a list.

    For those wondering how they came up with this list, while it is far from a scientific study, in the article it says that they considered cost, scholarships, quality of facilities, performance/production opportunities, and post-grad support. They also looked at diversity of students and faculty. This is the first year that they are not ranking the schools by specific number, but giving a general list.

    What I find useful about these lists are that, if someone is coming into this search for the first time, these lists usually come up in a google search. It's a good stepping-off point. I like that there's a narrative for each school of why OnStageBlog loves the school. And a prospective student can then look at the program's website, or google the school to do more research. Having done the MT and Acting searches, I found that when I started to research some schools, other schools started to appear as comparisons.

    The arts are subjective. None of these schools are cookie-cutter; all are unique in what they offer. The Dance Magazine suggestion is excellent but I just googled 'Dance Magazine Best Colleges,' and the first entry that comes up is from 2015, so for a brand-new searcher, that info isn't going to be helpful either. If this list starts kids to thinking about extending their dance training into college, I'm good with that.
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  • shanniebannieshanniebannie 25 replies0 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Love to act I would recommend Googling the Dance Magazine College Guide that’s printed every year. It costs about $40 and we found it to be more comprehensive than any of the lists.
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  • threegirlpileupthreegirlpileup 45 replies4 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    If nothing else, it’s a good reminder to vet your sources! Anyone at all can publish a “best of” list and post it—that doesn’t mean it’s a good list!
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  • amom2girlsamom2girls 462 replies8 threadsRegistered User Member
    @threegirlpileup that is certainly true. These lists are so subjective. My daughter auditioned at and was accepted to quite a few off of this list. Her final 2 was between one off of this list and the one she accepted is not on the list.

    It is ironic because some of the reasons for not accepting some were the state of the facilities, no diversity, performing opportunities, suitcase school, not enjoying the performances, etc.

    I think it is super important to visit the not just the school but the dance department. I know a lot of people try to go to Dancewave and hit a large audition and I can understand why that is appealing. However, when you audition at the school you see their facilities, meet faculty (and get a sense of the classes) meet other dancers and if you time it correctly there is usually a show on the same weekend. This knocked off quite a few programs. The final 2 merited a 2nd accepted students visit and for the one furthest away she did a weekend visit with another dancer. She realized that she really liked the dance department, the facilities and the dancers (and the university) but there was little to no diversity and she was not ok with that for 4 years.

    Each student will have different criteria that they use to make decisions, but it is difficult to do without a visit.
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