So You Want to Be a Dance Major?

 

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                     Image from Wikimedia Commons

So you want to be a dance major?  You want to pirouette, arabesque, and battement your way to a college degree?  You want to work on your technique, audition, and rehearse weekly, all while keeping up with rigorous academic courses?

Then you’re in luck, because I’ve been in your LaDucas, and I can give some advice on how to successfully navigate your time as a dance major!  I also talked to three of my fellow dance majors, sophomore Brittany D, senior Kathryn Y, and sophomore Casey B, who give their own advice on how to thrive in your first year. 

PREPARING FOR YOUR AUDITION:

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             Image from Wikimedia Commons

 

Senior year for an aspiring dance major can be very intimidating. While many of your friends are accepted to their schools of choice solely based on their grade point average, you have to face an additional challenge- the audition.

Types of auditions vary by school, but in my experience, most schools conduct a class that includes combinations in ballet, jazz, and modern.   The length of the audition class will depend on which school you’re auditioning for-I’ve attended an audition that lasted an hour and a half, and also one that lasted three hours!          

Additionally, some schools will ask for you to perform a short solo that showcases your strengths. Make sure you read each school’s audition criteria carefully, and call or e-mail someone in charge if you have any questions! It’s better to arrive prepared than to have missed something because you did not ask.   Always remember to adhere to the dress code, or you’ll stick out in a bad way.

One important thing to remember is that you may not make it into your top choice of school, but that doesn’t mean your college career is over!   Sophomore dance major Brittany D. explains, “Everything comes down to fate.”   Brittany was not accepted into what she felt was her top choice of school, but feels that her current school is actually the right fit for her. “I’m happy here,” she said. “Looking back, I think it’s fate that I didn’t get in, because I don’t think I’d be happy there.”

While it’s disheartening and scary to be rejected from a school that you really want to attend, try to remember that one rejection is not the end of your dance career! It may mean that the school is not right for you. Keep trying, and audition for as many schools as possible to avoid being “stuck.”

What if you aren’t rejected from your dream school, but you aren’t immediately accepted either? This means you are “wait-listed.” This happened to sophomore Casey B.  “I auditioned [at my current school] and I got wait listed, so I auditioned for five or six other schools,” she said. “I found out I was accepted and cancelled all my other auditions.”

 

STARTING YOUR FRESHMAN YEAR:

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                          Image from Wikimedia Commons

 

So you’ve made it into your dream school, your ballet shoes are packed, and you’re ready for your first day! Now what?

Freshman year is an extremely exciting and confusing time. It can be hard to transition from high school to college life, especially whenever you transition from an academic to a more artistic schedule.   While you may feel like three or four dance classes a day is overwhelming, the amount of dancing is actually a pretty easy transition, especially since this is what you want to do! Make sure to take care of yourself, try to choose healthy dining hall options, and get enough sleep. You may not be able to go out as much of your non dance major friends, but when you’re in 8AM ballet class on a Friday morning, you’ll be glad you elected to stay in on Thursday!

 

IF AT FIRST YOU DON’T SUCCEED:

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                   Image from Wikimedia Commons

 

Sometimes it’s easy to feel lost freshman year, especially if your schedule was created for you, or if you are not being cast in pieces that you would like to perform. Senior dance major Kathryn Y. has one word of advice- “Perseverance.” It’s important to find a good group of friends for support, and to find ways to keep positive during this year. Just like your senior year of high school, this year can be scary, but not being cast your freshman year will not determine your fate!

My advice? Focus on you! Set three or four goals for yourself at the beginning of the year, and try to accomplish those in class. That way, you won’t be relying on the politics of the school to make you feel successful.

“Just remember why you wanted to do this, and when something good happens, try to hold on to that feeling for as long as possible, so when something bad happens you can remember the good times,” said Brittany.

 

SOCIAL LIFE:

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        Image from Wikimedia Commons

 

While it’s important to be dedicated to your craft, it’s important to have a social life as well! “Get out of your room when you don’t have rehearsal!” Kathryn advised. If you spend each night in your room, you won’t have a good time. Find a group of friends and go explore the town where you are living! Many schools have lots of fun on-campus activities to explore.

While it’s important to have friends in your major, it can also be a good idea to make a few friends outside of your dance “bubble.” They can be helpful to escape the politics of your particular major.

THE FINALE:

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             Image from Wikimedia Commons

My best advice for freshman year is to remember why you chose to be a dance major- you love to dance!   Keep your head up, and just keep dancing! At the end of your four years, you will have grown so much, as a dancer and as a person. For all you future freshman, merde on your first year!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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