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School Buzz: UNCSA Teams Up With ABT

UNCSA Teams Up With ABT

Wish you could get the world-class training of the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at American Ballet Theatre without the hustle and bustle of NYC? Now you can. This fall, the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) School of Dance becomes JKO’s exclusive affiliate school. UNCSA School of Dance will begin to use ABT’s National Training Curriculum in its preparatory, high school and collegiate divisions.

As part of the agreement, all UNCSA ballet faculty will be trained and certified in the ABT curriculum, and the students will be offered regular master classes from ABT staff and faculty. ABT executive director Rachel S. Moore will advise UNCSA and she says the partnership effectively makes UNCSA like a second campus for JKO. “Every student from both schools will also be monitored and evaluated for potential membership in the studio company, the primary feeder into ABT,” Moore says.

Pace’s New Commercial Dance Major

Calling all comp kids! This fall, Pace University in NYC is launching a new commercial dance program designed to train dancers who want to work professionally on both coasts. Rhonda Miller, Pace’s director of dance, says her experience as a teacher on the convention circuit helped her to see the need for this program. “Most college dance programs are ballet- or modern-based,” she says. “While those are of the utmost importance, I still find that many of the studio-trained students I meet are frustrated because they can’t continue focusing on the styles they grew up studying.”

Courtney Taylor, a senior acting major at Pace, plans 
to add a second major in commercial dance this fall. 
She feels that the new program will help her to become a more well-rounded performer. “Rhonda’s philosophy has to do with the fact that she wants dancers to be able to work and get paid for their art,” Courtney says. “I think that’s something many other college programs just brush over.”

Dancers in the program will take all of the academic classes required to earn a liberal arts degree, along with a variety of technique classes, including ballet, modern, contemporary, hip hop, tap and theater dance. Students will also attend regular seminars designed to help them develop the practical skills they need to survive in the industry—everything from working on-camera to editing music and creating resumés.

About Colleen Bohen

I’m proud of my “comp kid” past! Dance meant everything to me when I was a kid, and I spent my happiest hours studying ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical and hip hop for 15 years at my local Long Island studio, L.A. Dance Studio, and competing with its company. I majored in journalism at Hofstra University, and save for an early stint with the student-run organization Danceworks, my dance career wound down just as my journalism career ramped up. Most of my attention was soon diverted to my work with the school’s newspaper, student magazine and an internship in NYC. After college, I spent a few years as a business journalist covering the toy and consumer electronics industries and now I’m ecstatic that I’ve found a way back to my first love—dance!
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