Thinkstock

Ace Your Overnight: How To Make the Most Of Your Prospective Student Visit

Taking a campus tour is an integral part of your college decision-making process. But what if you're already super-serious about one or two schools, or your guide doesn't know very much about the dance department? You may want to consider taking your daytime tour one step further by scheduling an overnight stay with a current dance major.

Overnights offer you the chance to gain a valuable “after hours" perspective on your dream school(s)—and to walk through a day in the life of a dance major. Dance Spirit spoke to several experts to find out how to make the most of your time.


Schedule Strategically

Ask the admissions office at your prospective school to help you schedule an overnight with a dance major. “Try to make your visit coincide with a departmental performance," says Andrew Carroll, assistant professor of dance at the University of South Florida in Tampa, FL. “That way, you can see the kinds of dancers the department produces."

Take It All In

“Being a dance major consists of so much more than just the required classes," says Rose Flachs, professor and chair of dance at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, MA. You'll be spending up to a full 24 hours on campus, so now's your chance to see and do everything.

Shadow your host to get a sense of what her schedule looks like. Go with her to technique classes—“You can ask ahead of time to take class with your host," Flachs says—and rehearsals. And be sure to chat her up about her experiences as a student. Your host can explain the relationship between the dance department and the school's larger community, which is something you'll want to get a feel for.

Mount Holyoke College senior Audrey Hildebrandt had an eye-opening experience during her overnight visit. “I knew about technique, but I didn't know about dance theory," she says. “I talked to my host, who was double-majoring in dance and biology, about the academic aspects of being a dance major. Spending time talking to students who weren't working for the admissions office—who weren't vested in me attending the college—was refreshing."

To round out your visit, Carroll suggests scheduling a meeting with the head of a student dance group. Pick his or her brain about extracurricular dance opportunities on campus. You can also try going to a cool event that's off the beaten day-tour path. “Our students schedule Friday-night improvisation jams," Carroll says. “They really unite the student body."

Stay Focused

During her overnight, Hildebrandt's hosts were busy studying for midterms, so she witnessed a typical low-key college evening. But, especially if your visit happens to coincide with a big party night, be careful. While it might feel great to hang out without your parents, your visit isn't just for fun. It's a time to get familiar with the dance department and make some friends you might dance with next year.

Latest Posts


Photo by Jayme Thornton

How Paloma Garcia-Lee Manifested Her Dream Role, in Steven Spielberg’s "West Side Story"

On a rainy day in November 2018, Paloma Garcia-Lee got a call from her agent that brought her to her knees outside her New York City apartment: She was going to play Graziella in Steven Spielberg's West Side Story.

The call came after a lengthy audition process with Spielberg in the room, and the role, originated by Wilma Curley on Broadway in 1957 and later portrayed by Gina Trikonis in the 1961 film, was her biggest dream. In fact, it's something Garcia-Lee says she manifested from the day plans for the movie were announced in January 2018. "I wrote in my journal: 'I am playing Graziella in Steven Spielberg's West Side Story.'"

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Photo by @mediabyZ

Am I Less Committed to Dance Because I Have Other Passions? (Spoiler Alert: NO!)

Let's face it—dance is HARD, and in order to achieve your goals, you need to be committed to your training. "Still, there's a fine line between being committed and being consumed." Dancers can, and should, have interests outside of the studio.

Not convinced? We talked with dance psychologist Dr. Lucie Clements and two multifaceted dancers, Kristen Harlow (a musical theater dancer pursuing a career in NYC and Kentucky) and Kallie Takahashi (a dancer in her final year at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts), and got the inside scoop on how having hobbies outside of dance can inform your artistry, expand your range and help prevent burnout.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Photo courtesy of Brittany Conigatti

Go Behind the Scenes of Annie Live! With Brittany Conigatti

Unwrap your candy canes, pour the hot chocolate and round up your fellow theater lovers: NBC is kicking off the Christmas season with its latest live-broadcast TV musical. Annie Live! premieres December 2 and features a star-studded cast, including Harry Connick Jr., Tituss Burgess, Megan Hilty and, as the title character, young phenom Celina Smith.

Luckily, people got a taste of what the special will entail when the cast kicked off the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with a performance last week. But since you’re never fully dressed without a Dance Spirit exclusive, we caught up with Brittany Conigatti, one of the young orphans and adult ensemble members in the show, to learn what it was like putting together a large-scale live production for the small screen.

The cast of Annie Live! poses for a group photo. The cast of Annie Live!Photo courtesy of Conigatti


Keep Reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks

contest
Enter the Cover Model Search