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Montclair State Dance

threegirlpileupthreegirlpileup 286 replies20 threads Member
Anyone else considering Montclair State? We visited last week for the audition and to observe classes.

We barely made it up there for the audition because of the snowstorm, and it was an early morning after a late night (multiple cancelled flights). There were about 35 people there for the audition. The day started with an info session/Q&A with the head of the department and a couple of students. Some things of note: 1. BA students have to pass the same audition as BFA students, so the BA is not considered a "lesser" degree and the BA students are not second-class students. Both of their BA tracks are teaching tracks--one is certification for public school teaching, and the other a studio teaching track. Students can switch between the BA and BFA tracks fairly easily. 2. A class in pedagogy is required for all students and teaching is considered an important life/employment skill for all students. 3. Department chair seems very invested in success of students, doing things like getting dance classes approved for gen ed requirements and bringing company directors onto campus to get folks seen and hopefully employed. She also talked bout her commitment to the social and emotional health of the dancers. 4. Study abroad is generally not available for full semesters, but there are some shorter trips available. 5. They do not have auditions for their fall rep concert--all students participate in a piece with their class. Spring concert is by audition.

The audition consisted of modern class, ballet class, solos, and interviews.

In between the modern and ballet class, the senior class performed their rep piece, a classic Graham work. It was extremely impressive.

DD felt good about the audition classes. The ballet class, was, as she put it "just class"--comparable to the level of class she is currently taking. She loved the modern class.

The cuts were brutal! We were lucky because dd was already admitted via Dancewave--and even so we felt a little nervous. They cut almost half of the dancers before solos. My dd commented that most of the dancers seemed quite competent, so she was surprised that there were so many cuts, and relieved that she made it through.

We definitely felt more of a competition dancer vibe at this audition than we had at auditions in the past. When everyone was marking their pieces in the lobby, my dd looked at me and said, "Oh wow, my piece is going to be so much weirder than any of these." Thankfully she didn't have to worry about admission, so she just went for it...

There were individual interviews with different faculty members, nothing too surprising or notable there. One interesting question dd was asked was "What did you learn in class today?"

We went back the next day to observe a ballet and a modern class. They seemed challenging and everyone in class was working hard. Levels were good. Class size was on the small end (15ish). While dd observed classes, I picked the brains of a number of students who were hanging out in the hallway. Some things I picked up:
-lots of performance opportunities and chances to set/create work
-yes, a lot of competition dancers enter the program, but the program really focuses on classical modern and does not have a commercial bent at all.
-the faculty love weird, unique dancers (my dd would classify herself like this). It's less clear that there are a lot of students who like that kind of weird creative stuff
-seems like a reasonable balance of rigorous dance training and academics/college
-students leave and get employed by companies, start their own companies, or tour with broadway musicals
-musical theatre is a common minor, those classes are in the same building and easily accessible to dance majors. Dancers can opt out of the spring rep concert and audition for the spring musical if they like.
-there are lots of choreography/creative classes although a lot of the students don't seem so enthusiastic about that

Overall, our sense was that for my dd, this program was less "her people" and felt like more of a reach for her. It's definitely less warm and fuzzy than some of the other places she's looked, and the students did not rave about how much they loved it (although I do thing some of this might be partially regional, being in a northeast urban area rather than mid-size cities in the south or Midwest). HOWEVER, it also seemed like the place that she would get the best technical training and would maximize her chances for a performing career. Being able to stay involved in musical theater and the fact that they place folks in those jobs is a big draw. Also the proximity to NYC (40 minutes by train) without having to actually be in the city is a huge bonus. All in all, it's still a strong contender. And the in-state tuition for BFA students doesn't hurt!

Would love to hear others' experiences and impressions.

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Replies to: Montclair State Dance

  • bka315bka315 4 replies0 threads New Member
    My daughter was also there last week. She also made it through the cuts and was very relieved but has not yet been artistically accepted (was academically accepted). She really wants Montclair so fingers crossed. Hope we hear soon.
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  • MomL98MomL98 43 replies2 threads Junior Member
    My daughter auditioned and was accepted at Montclair last year. She loved the campus, the proximity to NYC, and the faculty. I loved the in state tuition for BFA students 😂. I was almost positive that she was going to choose that program, but in the end she went a different direction. I’m wishing both of your daughters good luck as you continue through this process!
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  • gmfalvgmfalv 245 replies4 threads Junior Member
    My D has been accepted and she is definitely considering the program! It seems like the faculty truly care about all the dancers and want them to succeed. The facilities are beautiful and my D feels the training is strong.
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  • bka315bka315 4 replies0 threads New Member
    My daughter was accepted to the dance program at Montclair State and she is strongly considering it. I know the dance program is terrific but we live in the South and I am hearing very mixed things about the campus life at Montclair. Basically that it is a commuter school and not a lot of ways to get involved. Does anyone have actual experience attending MC and an insight as to life there?
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  • Adance5678Adance5678 2 replies0 threads New Member
    Congratulations to your DD that made it into Montclair State Dance program. I was there a couple weeks ago with my D and she made it through to do her solo and interview. She was SO excited because MSU is her top choice. We just got notice that she was admitted to the MSU academically but did not get in as a dance major. She was very upset. She had her heart set on going there to dance. Now she isn’t sure if it’s her first choice school now. The other schools she applied to for dance are not as competitive, I believe, and not as intense of a program as MSU. Not sure if she can try out again. We went to visit the school SO many times and she took off school for audition and their dance day, which were all very informative. I believe the school is getting more popular for dance. The facility is beautiful and their staff is very knowledgeable. Does anyone know if they allow for a second tryout? I wish they put students on a waitlist at least but I know their program has grown. I believe their freshman class has close to 40 students where previous years only have 20. Any feedback on being able to try out again would be helpful.
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  • Adance5678Adance5678 2 replies0 threads New Member
    I should also add that I graduated from MSU in 1997 and the changes to the school are amazing. It’s a beautiful campus. Many people talk about it being a commuter school which I guess statistically more students commute but there was always things to do for students who live there. Not sure how many things now compared to what other schools do but it’s a great campus with so many students residing there. My daughter loved how close it is to NYC and they have close mass transportation in and out of city and the views of the NYC skyline is incredible. Wasn’t always visible when I went there but now it is and it’s beautiful.
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  • MomontoesMomontoes 21 replies1 threads Junior Member
    @adance5678 did your DD check her portal? My DD got her dance acceptance there and then a few days later received her academic acceptance in the mail, saying she would still have to get accepted by dance department (which she already did). So a bit confusing on how they send out notifications.
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  • Inurdrems9Inurdrems9 8 replies0 threads New Member
    My daughter auditioned in November and they did cut half of the class for solos and interview also.

    We received her acceptances (academic and artistic) from the portal 1 week later. Then the mail about 4 days after that.

    She is seriously considering this program. Although, she was just accepted into another top program today, and still has 1 more audition to go. I can’t wait until it’s all over. My nerves can’t take anymore!



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  • MomontoesMomontoes 21 replies1 threads Junior Member
    @Inurdrems9 it is definitely a phenomenal program! As much as I hate to say it now, it was probably more towards the bottom of my DD’s list. She wants to be in NYC. But as we’ve moved along in this process, Montclair has moved to the top for both of us. The performance we saw was phenomenal, the classes we watched were amazing, the teachers supportive, and we saw some students standing in a circle before a performance revving each other up and encouraging each other. Some of the programs that get top ranking are not really producing working dancers. And although my DD’s academics support her admittance to programs such as NYU and Fordham, Montclair has most definitely become a top contender. This is such a learning process, and as you said - I want it to be over!! Lol
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  • Inurdrems9Inurdrems9 8 replies0 threads New Member
    @Momontoes I think the program is great, so does she! We went a couple years ago and attended the Dance day there. She really liked it. We both felt the teachers were so supportive of the students (feels like her home studio). She also loved the fact she could go into NYC (when she has time) to explore or take classes there.

    I thought the audition process is tough, but I feel like the decision process will be just as tough, if not tougher.
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  • threegirlpileupthreegirlpileup 286 replies20 threads Member
    @Momontoes did your dd apply to the honors college? Has she heard anything back?
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  • MomontoesMomontoes 21 replies1 threads Junior Member
    @threegirlpileup hi! My DD didn’t apply to the honors college, honestly because we weren’t aware of it when she first sent her application in. She received the Montclair National Academic Scholarship which is basically the same thing everyone gets for the BFA program (in state tuition).
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  • threegirlpileupthreegirlpileup 286 replies20 threads Member
    @Momontoes yes my dd got that as well...we were hoping for some merit aid that wouldn't just duplicate what she was already getting from the dance department....but apparently that's the biggest award they give out for OOS students.
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  • MomontoesMomontoes 21 replies1 threads Junior Member
    @threegirlpileup I remember them talking about the program at the Q&A during the audition. I think I remember them saying a good amount of Dance BFA students are in the program. Is it doable with a BFA schedule? Let me know if you remember any details. Though DD has the qualifications, we might be too late to apply for it anyway..
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  • threegirlpileupthreegirlpileup 286 replies20 threads Member
    I honestly don't remember that many details but they definitely said that a number of BFA students are in the honors program. I know that one thing that appealed to my dd was that it seems like for honors students, the gen-ed requirements can be replaced with honors seminars as an alternative.

    My dd just applied at the same time as she did her regular application, but I don't think there was a specific deadline, so hopefully there's still time for your dd to apply.
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  • threegirlpileupthreegirlpileup 286 replies20 threads Member
    My dd is very seriously considering Montclair State and would love to connect with any current or prospective students—if any of your kids would be interested in being in touch, PM me and I’ll give you her instagram info. 😊
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  • Massmom72Massmom72 32 replies1 threads Junior Member
    was at Montclair audition yesterday. We felt that the campus seemed a bit empty, and a few of the dancers did confirm that it is generally a commuter campus, but that most of the dancers stay there on weekends and that other students usually hang out with dancers if they remained there on weekends as well. Dancers seemed very close. The directors did not seem to be concerned about rigorous academics from high school. The focus was truly on the dancing, and developing their students as professionals and dance educators. At first we paused on hearing this, as D has really worked hard academically. But then, we saw the seniors perform. Wow! Just so beautiful. D made it through the cuts, but the program is very competitive. We will see. Definitely some amazing dancers there, but with one of them already receiving acceptance at NYU, I'm thinking that they are definitely lining up backup plans.
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  • gmfalvgmfalv 245 replies4 threads Junior Member
    @Massmom72 i noticed you said someone already received NYU acceptance- the only way that would be true is if they did ED, in which case they shouldn't be out auditioning for other programs? NYU RD decisions don't come out until the end of March.
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  • Massmom72Massmom72 32 replies1 threads Junior Member
    interesting! Unless my daughter misunderstood and she was accepted academically? But she seemed sure it was the dance program
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  • gmfalvgmfalv 245 replies4 threads Junior Member
    @Massmom72 maybe she was accepted ED and is declining for financial reasons? only reason you can decline ED-- NYU doesn't have rolling admissions so everyone else for RD will hear at the end of audition season
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