Dancers Get the Best of Both Worlds Thanks to the Merger of These Two A-List Colleges

Dance students performing in the graduation ceremony for the Boston Conservatory at Berklee's class of 2016 (Mila Thigpen, courtesy Alyssa Markowitz)

You probably already know the dance division at the Boston Conservatory as a top destination for contemporary dancers. But in June 2016, the Conservatory uncovered a new part of its identity when it merged with Berklee College of Music. It's a move that's opening up all kinds of new opportunities for students—especially dancers.


According to dean of dance Cathy Young, it was a no-brainer for the schools, now called the Boston Conservatory at Berklee, to join forces. "One of the initial ideas behind the merger was that our campuses
were already wrapped around each other," says Young. "Conservatory students were already eating at the Berklee cafeteria, the dorms are all close, and buildings are literally side by side."

Dance majors taking class at the newly merged institution (Dave Green, courtesy The Boston Conservatory at Berklee)

But it's not just a matter of convenience: Both communities are benefiting from the expanded offerings the merger has enabled. BoCo students can now enroll in liberal arts courses through Berklee, and Berklee musicians have started taking classes from BoCo faculty, including in the dance department—fall 2017 sees the kickoff of a dance minor for Berklee students. And because Berklee College consistently attracts major talent in contemporary music, the merger has prompted cutting-edge collaborations across all the disciplines—dance, theater, and music—that BoCo at Berklee offers. Senior dance student Jazz Bynum says that her work with Berklee music students has led to learning on both sides: "It was very invigorating to be in a different kind of rehearsal process, feeling a new energy around dance. It was also great to open musicians' eyes to the things dancers need, and to learn music from the musician's point of view."

Dancers currently studying at Boston Conservatory at Berklee say that their daily lives haven't changed so much as expanded in scope. As senior Alyssa Markowitz says, "We now perform in more concerts, take new classes, and collaborate with Berklee students on exciting projects, like performing with a huge live band for an audience of stars like Rita Moreno. The merger has opened up so many new channels for collaboration, leaving both student communities richer in their art."


A version of this story appeared in the September 2017 issue of Dance Spirit with the title "Cross-Disciplinary Heaven."

Popular
Ralph Lauren

🌈 It's almost Pride month, dance friends! 🌈

Ralph Lauren is kicking off the celebration bright and early with a gender-neutral capsule collection featuring a rainbow version (naturally) of its pony logo. And the brand chose a bunch of influential LGBTQIA+ community members to model the looks—including our favorite danseur in heels, Houston Ballet soloist Harper Watters.

Keep Reading Show less
Dance Fashion
School of American Ballet students (Rosalie O'Connor, courtesy SAB)

Do you have a "Strictly Ballet"–sized hole in your heart? Good news: The upcoming docuseries "On Pointe" just might fill it.

The School of American Ballet is teaming up with Imagine Documentaries and DCTV for the project. Though it's not yet clear where "On Pointe" will air, we do know that it'll follow talented SAB students preparing for professional ballet careers—much as Teen Vogue's popular "Strictly Ballet" web series did back in the day. But "On Pointe" marks the first time documentary filmmakers have been allowed access to the school, and it sounds like it'll paint an even more complete picture of the dancers' lives inside and outside the studio.

Keep Reading Show less
Dance News
Including, of course, "Single Ladies" (Vevo)

Choreographer Bob Fosse's signature style—with its jazz hands, inverted knees, and slouched shoulders—is still a huge influence in the dance world (and, thanks to the gloriously dancy FX series "Fosse/Verdon," the TV world). But while you know to expect plenty of Fosse-isms during a stage performance of Chicago or Sweet Charity, Fosse's legacy has also seeped into pop music culture, inspiring the likes of Beyoncé and Lady Gaga. Here are just six of the many music videos that reference Fosse's iconic works.

Keep Reading Show less
Dance Videos

Video

mailbox

Get Dance Spirit in your inbox

Giveaways