What should I consider when choosing a College Dance Program?
- Type of Degree (BFA or BA?): Do you want a specialized conservatory style program that focuses on the training needed for a professional career? Then look at BFE programs. Do you want to have more career options after you graduate? Then look at BA degrees where you will be required to take more general libral arts classes and may be allowed to double major or even double degree with another subject.
- Types of courses offered: Consider whether or not the program invites you to explore your own artistry and creativity. Some programs require choreography courses as part of the major, others have no requirements. Make sure to find out about the choreographic experiences that you will get at the school.
- Disciplines focused on: What disciplines are offered? Generally, Ballet and contemporary dance are the main focus of programs, but if you are interested in jazz or tap, make sure that there are a variety of levels and classes offered in those areas.
- Performance opportunities: Will you have the opportunity to perform each semester or is it only the upper classes. Find out how competitive the auditions for school performances are. Are there opportunities for student choreographed and directed performances? Can you work with artists in other areas of the schools, such as musicians or visual artists?
- Faculty: Who is teaching? Will you be learning with assistants or the professors. Read the bios and learn about the background of your future instructors because they will be the ones who help you with your future connections.
- Visiting Artists: Look at the kinds of artists and professors that the school brings onto campus. Is there a choreographer that’s connected to a dance company that you love? Are there names that you recognize? The type of artist a university dance program invites as a guest shows what the school prioritizes what experiences it wants its students to be exposed to. It’s also a great way to increase your network.
- Program Alumni: Research what alumni have graduated from the program and what they’re doing now. This will help you understand the reputation of a school and where the networking connections are for future internships, dance intensives and eventually professional career. How does the school support their alumni?
- Access to wellness: It is extremely important to have access to physical therapy and other services related to health and fitness. Find out where you would go if you had an injury.
- The college experience: Consider the kind of college experience that you want outside of dance. Are you looking for a small campus or to be part of a large university? Urban or suburban setting?
You will be receiving a lot of advice from all the teachers and mentors in your life, but follow your gut feeling to find a program that reflects you and the type of dancer you want to be.