Tips for Choosing A School
1. Consider the college’s population. Is it super-small (1,000 to 4,000 students total) or so large that you never see the same person twice (between 30,000 and 50,000 students)?
2. Take a tour—off campus. The surrounding town will be your home for the next four years. You want to be sure you can actually picture yourself living there! Don’t go for a rural town if you prefer a bustling city life.
3. Figure out how far away you want to be from your family. Sure, you might be itching to fly 3,000 miles away as you approach graduation, but be aware of your attachments.
4. Find out if you can double major, and research the curriculum in your areas of interest. Do you want to just dance or do you want to also double major or minor in an academic area, as well?
5. The dance program vs. the dance team: If you want to do both, find out what their relationship is like and if it’s plausible to do them simultaneously.
6. Find out about the school’s resources for dancers: Is there a physical therapist on site? Is there a gym? This can also give you a glimpse into whether or not the school takes dance seriously.
7. Observe as many dance classes as possible. See if you can picture yourself at the barre alongside current students, and take time to check out the quality of the studio, too.
8. Go see a show at your prospective school. A two-hour performance can be the best indication of the types of productions you might end up being involved in.
9. Are you set on joining a sorority or an environmentalist group? If you want to get involved in a range of extracurricular activities, make sure they’re available.
10. Keep diversity in mind. Do you want to go to a school where everyone comes from a similar background, or do you want to mix it up?
11. If you’ll need to make money while attending classes, find out if there are on-campus job opportunities or work-study programs that will fit into your schedule.
12. Talk to a professor about what jobs dance-program alumni have landed directly out of the program. If many of them nab spots at modern companies but you want to strut on a Broadway stage, perhaps the program isn’t the best fit.
Harper Watters is a ballet dancer for today's generation. A social media maestro and a charismatic performer, the Houston Ballet soloist is equally at home in front of the camera hosting his hit YouTube series, "The Pre Show"; interacting with fans on his crazy-popular Instagram account; or showing off his beautiful classical technique onstage. It's a multifaceted identity that's proven to be invaluable to his career—and it's taking him to places he never even dreamed of.
Getting corrections from our dance instructors is how we grow, and as students, it's important that we do our best to apply every correction right away. But sometimes—whether it's because we're in physical pain, or have a lot on our minds, or are just not paying attention—those corrections don't sink in. And from a teacher's standpoint, giving the same corrections time and time again gets old very fast. Here are 10 important corrections dance teachers are tired of giving. Take them to heart!
Summer intensive auditions can be nerve-racking. A panel of directors is watching your every move, and you're not even sure if you can be seen among the hundreds of other dancers in the room. We asked five summer intensive directors for their input on how dancers can make a positive impression—and even be remembered next year.
When we think of a dancer who's broken barriers, American Ballet Theatre principal Misty Copeland tends to be the name that comes to mind. And though Copeland has been a crucial advocate for equality in the world of ballet, Raven Wilkinson—a mentor of Copeland's—is considered one of the original pioneers of the movement.
In 1955, Wilkinson became the first African American to dance with the renowned Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. Her fortitude in the face of bigotry and hate cemented her legacy. Now, with the release of the new children's book Trailblazer: The Story of Ballerina Raven Wilkinson, a new generation of dancers will be inspired by her tale of overcoming obstacles to achieve a dream.
The book details Wilkinson's life, from her experience as a young dancer training in Harlem, to her run-ins with the Ku Klux Klan while on tour with Ballet Russe, to her later ballet career in Europe. "There were times where my heart really hurt because of the situations I had to deal with," she says. "But I always had faith that I was made to be a dancer and that I was gonna dance."
Dance Spirit spoke with Wilkinson to discuss the new book and get her take on racial equality within the ballet world.
Postmodern pioneer Trisha Brown redefined how dance is seen and felt. A founding member of Judson Dance Theater, Brown frequently collaborated with other experimental artists like Yvonne Rainer, Merce Cunningham, Twyla Tharp, and Steve Paxton.
She embraced pedestrian movement, pairing everyday gesture with rhythm and fluidity. "It's liquid," says Wendy Perron, who danced with Brown in the '60s and '70s. "Like a river with many tributaries, water coming out of a faucet, or being on a raft and seeing the water move away in different directions." Brown also pushed beyond stages with choreography in fields, museums—even on the sides of buildings.
There's a common misconception that a dancer's body has to be thin. But the truth is that talent knows no body type, and the number on the scale never determines an artist's capabilities. Here are some extraordinary dancers fighting the stereotype of what a dancer "should" look like.
We always love a good halftime performance. And we LIVE for halftime performances involving talented kids. (Fingers and toes crossed that Justin Timberlake follows Missy Elliott's lead and invites some fabulous littles to share his Super Bowl stage.)
So obviously, our hearts completely melted for 5-year-old Tavaris Jones. Tavaris may have just started kindergarten, but during Monday night's game between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors, the Detroit native danced with the panache of a veteran pro at halftime.