high school preparation for college dance

<p>My daughter, age 14, is going into her sophomore year of hs. She has been taking ballet at a local studio since age 3 and in recent years has added modern, lyrical, and jazz classes. She loves her dance classes, works very hard in them, and her teachers lavish her with praise. However, we do not live near a major city or ballet center, which makes it difficult to assess how good she really is or what she might be capable of. I suspect she may only be a big frog in our little pond, a phenomenon I've seen often with young artists and musicians. </p>

<p>My daughter is considering possibly majoring or minoring in dance in college. I know there are summer intensive programs for high school students that would, I suspect, not only permit her to improve rapidly but would give her a better sense than she can get locally of how her ability and commitment level stack up relative to talented peers. But I don't know much about particular programs or about how the audition process works. So I'm hoping that dance students, or parents of dance students, can tell me what has worked for you or your children--or what has not.</p>

<p>Thanks!</p>

<p>jingle, I am going to suggest that you look at the website ballet talk for dancers. This has a great deal of information about summer dance programs, the process for auditioning and programs that work well for different kinds of students. There is also a section on college preparation and different college programs. The site as the name suggests is basically ballet, but there are families with kids who do other dance forms.</p>

<p>My DD will be a college freshman next year in dance. She has been in a classical ballet program since 4th grade. She did a few SI programs over her years and some years auditioned and was accepted but did not attend. You are right that it is very difficult to know what studio praise or discouragement means in terms of where your kid stands in a bigger pool. I am not sure I have any more specific information to porvide.</p>

<p>Thank you for the reference, Keepingcalm! Are there SIs that you would particularly recommend (or not?)</p>

<p>jinle, my DD did Interlochen for two years prior to high school. I would say that this is not a very competitive SA but it suited DD's needs as she was also heavily involved in theatre at the time. Between her sophmore and junior year she did the Alvin Ailey summer program. This takes LOTS of students but DD did learn a great deal, not all of it about dance.
I am pretty sure there are many more that would fit your DD. Mine has auditioned and been accepted to Point Park's summer program a couple of times which is a more diverse program than many- it includes jazz and modern. this is where she is going to college, although she never went to the SIs. This might be a good one to look at next year for your DD if she has not done any before. It would give her a chance to see how she sits within a range of kinds of dance, not just classical ballet.</p>

<p>Hi Jinle,
A lot depends on what type of dance she wants to be doing--many of the programs you will read about on BT4D stress ballet or are exclusively ballet oriented. A few are more contemporary focused. Mine has attended two different, ballet programs and considered many others before making her final choices, but she is a ballet kid. Your daughter's teachers may have recommendations, because the programs vary stylistically and in intensity. They all have websites, pretty much, and many have facebook pages where you can follow what goes on during the summer, to get a flavor of what a program your daughter is interested in might be like. There is a full range of selectivity as well, as keepingcalm pointed out. As for the audition process, it can be anything from sending in photos to attending an in person audition--the information about these starts coming out in November, I think, and programs travel to a number of cities during January and February, to sending in a DVD. And note, too, that not all of the best programs are competitive to attend--for example, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet has a very highly regarded program and there is no audition at all. You might look into that one.
Editing to add, the audition process is highly instructive, and I recommend it to your daughter. She will really be able to see whether she fits with her peers, and have a class from a master teacher. You can also, if you are traveling this summer, contact a company affiliated school in a city you are visiting and ask them if they will evaluate your dancer.</p>

<p>Summer programs that are not strictly ballet:</p>

<p>Bates Dance Festival ME
Alvin Ailey programs NYC
Concord Summer Stages MA
American Dance Festival NC
San Francisco Conservatory (has ballet in am)CA
LINES Ballet (ballet but also modern) CA
U. of Arts PA</p>

<p>If you PM me, and tell me where you are, I can give you more ideas.</p>

<p>p.s. people on this site often refer others to ballet talk...let's try to make this a viable forum itself, particularly for those who are not focused on ballet :)</p>

<p>Editing to add, the audition process is highly instructive, and I recommend it to your daughter. She will really be able to see whether she fits with her peers, and have a class from a master teacher.</p>

<p>I agree wholeheartedly with this. Part of the reason we started the summer intensive process was to have a basis of comparison with other dancers her age because at the time dd danced at a less established, smaller studio with not many older dancers. Her first couple of auditions were enough to show us that while she had good potential, her training was not where it needed to be. This was before she even attended a summer intensive.</p>

<p>That said, dd is definitely a ballet dancer at heart and will soon be starting her freshman year as a ballet major. She auditioned for and was accepted to many different summer programs over the last few years, including Atlanta Ballet, Joffrey, ABT, Orlando Ballet and others. ABT's program was the most ballet intensive program she attended with usually only one class per day in something other than ballet, while the Atlanta Ballet program was split about 50/50 between ballet/other dance forms (modern, jazz, musical theatre).</p>

<p>Dd has also had friends who attended other summer programs like LINES, American Dance Festival, and Bates that were not just ballet.</p>

<p>"p.s. people on this site often refer others to ballet talk...let's try to make this a viable forum itself, particularly for those who are not focused on ballet :) "</p>

<p>But it is silly to 're-invent the wheel', so to speak. So, to the extent Ballet Talk for Dancers provides extensive information on particular programs, with first-hand experiences and information, it is silly not to let folks know that resource exists and to take advantage (and contribute to) of it.</p>

<p>Now, granted, Ballet Talk for Dancers does not retain or collect information on less-ballet focused programs or interests, like modern, jazz, tap, or musical theatre, etc., so this Forum has a great opportunity to provide a much needed resource bank in those areas. </p>

<p>Hopefully, folks that do go through the auditions, information sessions and information gathering, and application process will share their first-hand experiences. So far, there seems to be more supposition of what may or may not be relevant to the various programs being shared than actual experiences. As more folks find this Dance Major Forum and go through the various schools' processes, there will be even better information shared. :)</p>

<p>In our experience, the two forums supplemented each other beautifully. BT4D provides the kind of in-depth information about ballet instruction at college (and elsewhere, of course) that CC provides about all aspects of the college search and admission process. I don't expect CC to be the touchstone for information about the level of ballet instruction at a particular school, or what a possible career path might be for a dancer who isn't at a top BFA school. That info might turn up here, of course, and it's wonderful when it does; but BT4D has been doing its thing for a long time and has many posts to peruse about intensely ballet-related subjects.</p>

<p>And I wouldn't ask about SAT scores, essays, core academic curricula, expectations for APs, etc., anywhere but here. In fact, my feeling is that BT4D discourages speculation about who'll get into what programs, which seems to be the topic of half the posts on CC. :) </p>

<p>I must say that I much prefer the more laid-back posting guidelines here. BT4D has every right to limit posters on certain topics to those with personal experience at certain schools or SIs, for instance. But CC has many posters who write quite knowledgeably and insightfully about schools they/their children haven't themselves attended, and I'm grateful they have the opportunity here.</p>

<p>BT4D has a lot of information on various ballet summer intensives, so since the OP asked about summer programs it made sense to refer him/her there rather than wait for someone with SI experience to happen across this topic (which doesn't even mention SIs in the title). But they definitely don't have a lot of information on summer programs for other dance forms, and they discourage comparisons such as "Which SI is better--ABT or Joffrey or SAB?" or "Which program is easier to get into?" Ditto for their college information. So it is definitely nice to get info from both forums.</p>

<p>Now, back to the OT... Jingle asked about the audition process, and I thought I had included that info in my edited post yesterday. Oops! In our experience, every audition dd has attended has consisted of a master class, usually but not always with a faculty member from the program she's auditioning for. All have application forms, and many require additional items such as photos (usually a 1st arabesque photo, sometimes a headshot or other full-body dance photo), a recommendation from a dance teacher, etc. The audition class followed the format of a regular technique class -- starting with barre, then centre and across the floor work. Some programs will end with 15 minutes or so of pointe work. Some programs will give acceptances/rejections immediately following the class; most send letters or emails within a couple of weeks. Hope this helps!</p>

<p>jingle, the audition process for Summer Intensives is as WhoAMI2U described, quite succinctly.</p>

<p>The SI (summer intensive) audition 'circuit' ramps up in early January, goes furiously through February, and tends to slow down in March. The best places to find the actual audition sites and dates are either POINTE Magazine (Nov or Dec issue ?), the individual programs' websites (kinda hard to do if you don't know which programs you want . . . ), BT4D, and ads in dance related magazines.</p>

<p>The POINTE magazine edition will list pretty much all the programs and give a little (some more, some less) information about the basics, like what the program is about, how many weeks, audition required or not (not all require auditions), expected level of dancer, sometimes the tuition fee (not always), whether housing is provided (not all programs have it), etc.</p>

<p>Then the various programs will place ads in the dance magazines listing the audition schedule, i.e., which cities on which dates, so that you can plan accordingly. Some programs go to quite a few cities, some go to only a few. There are particular cities that are 'hot spots' and many programs will hit those. So, unless you are in say, NYC, Boston, San Francisco, Chicago, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, etc., you will need to decide how far and how many you are willing to travel to for the auditions.</p>

<p>The application forms are quite basic: name, date of birth, address, home studio, years of training, type of dance training, teacher's names, performance opportunities, height, weight. I would just make up a 'cheat sheet' for my DD to use when she was filling out the forms. I have helped at the registration table at auditions and will say that no need to get all worried about the information to put. Truly, the auditioner will NOT base an acceptance on where a child has been training and with whom. That information is used when they see a child who is either beyond or below their expectations for the age and years of training to see if the auditioned can discern whether the dancer has been exposed to proper training. </p>

<p>In the early years, say up to and including age 14, the auditioners review the dancers based primarily on potential. Beginning about age 15, they start looking at the dancers more in terms of actual skills and technique expectations for being 'on-track' for company-readiness (which is not to say they expect the dancers to be company ready at that time---but they do expect to see them 'on-track'.)</p>

<p>Now, all this is in regards to ballet SIs. As to what the auditioners look for or what the practice is for non-ballet SIs, I can't speak to. I haven't a clue.</p>

<p>thanks, everybody! This is all very helpful information.</p>