Scholarship winners from NYCDA Nationals in 2019 (courtesy New York City Dance Alliance Foundation)

NYCDA Wants to Jumpstart Your Dance Career—Virtually

Let's be honest: We're running out of ways to say that it's been no average school year, especially for high school juniors and seniors. Despite the circumstances, however, you all have barely missed a beat, keeping your technique, training, and love for dance alive in all kinds of online spaces. And New York City Dance Alliance wants to reward your efforts—and help maximize the pay-off—with virtual opportunities to invest in your college education and kickstart your professional dance career.

NYCDA just wrapped up its inaugural Dance Discovery Showcase, which provided the high school graduating senior class of 2020 the unparalleled chance to make connections, hear personalized feedback, and be mentored by some of the biggest names in the industry, from Tiler Peck to Andy Blankenbuehler. Now, NYCDA Foundation's annual college scholarship auditions are right around the corner. And this year, they're entirely virtual, meaning you could potentially receive over $25,000 in scholarship offers without leaving your living room.

NYCDA director Joe Lanteri is excited to keep supporting dancers during this uncertain time. "We want to provide opportunities that help dancers take that next step into the professional world and navigate what their careers could look like," he says.

This year's college scholarship audition process will be held live via Zoom on July 9. Two industry superstars will lead the class portion: former American Ballet Theatre principal Ashley Tuttle will teach a ballet class, and Complexions Contemporary Ballet co-founder and co-artistic director Desmond Richardson will teach contemporary. Representatives from the nation's top arts schools will be observing the entire day, including Pace University in NYC, Point Park University in PA, and Dean College in MA. NYCDA is hosting the audition in conjunction with their 3-Day All-Access Virtual Summer Workshop, so you'll also want to block out July 6–8 to train and prepare for audition day with the help of NYCDA's all-star faculty, including Dana Wilson, Andy Pellick, and Chloe Arnold.

The college scholarship audition presents practically unlimited potential. According to Lanteri, at last year's auditions alone, the total scholarships offered surpassed $10 million. "The colleges that attend are very generous, and genuinely want to recruit dancers with these scholarships," he says. Juniors who attend the auditions are eligible to receive multiple offers from schools. Seniors can be awarded scholarship funds directly from the Foundation, which they may apply to the school of their choice.

There's more than scholarships available for dancers willing to put their best (turned-out) foot forward. Seniors will have the opportunity to start building their professional networks, not to mention make a positive first impression on the school they've already committed to. And the Class of 2021 gets an even higher leg up, according to Lanteri. "Rising high school seniors who audition will be the first students that these colleges are considering for their freshman class entering in the Fall of 2021. They'll have the chance to audition for 11 different colleges in one place."

When it comes to audition day, you'll need to be prepared for a quick turnaround. In both the ballet and the contemporary class, you'll learn a combination that you must film and submit online within 24 hours. After sitting in on the virtual classes, the college representatives will then go through each dancer's video submissions and online application in order to make their scholarship decisions. If you've attended the auditions in the past, this new format may seem a bit strange. But according to Lanteri, "It actually gives dancers an advantage. Colleges get to singularly focus on your submission, as opposed to watching you dance in a group in a crowded ballroom. In a way, they're spending a little extra time on you."

The deadline to register online for the audition with NYCDA's Virtual Summer Workshop All-Access Pass is June 29. You'll also need to create a profile with Get Acceptd. Merde, dancers!

Audition Advice From a College Representative

Dancers in last year's college scholarship auditions (courtesy NYCDA Foundation)

Katie Langan, chair of the Dance Department at Marymount Manhattan College in NYC, has a few tips on how students can stand out to her, and the other representatives from prestigious dance departments who'll be involved in NYCDA's scholarship audition.

Prepare for the platform.

Unsure about Zoom dance class etiquette, especially in a high-pressure setting? Brush up on your skills during NYCDA's All-Access Virtual Summer Workshop. Be respectful onscreen, and treat each class you take during the week as preparation for audition day, Langan advises.

Be ready to go, and ready for anything.

"Preparing at home is just as important as if you were going to the studio," Langan says. That includes looking the part, arriving to the Zoom waiting room on time or early, and handling any technical difficulties in a professional manner. At the same time, Langan and the other representatives empathize with the challenges of Zoom, from poor internet connections to music not syncing up correctly. "We understand that anything can happen, and we won't fault dancers for it, nor will we hold anything against those working in a less-than-ideal dance space," Langan explains.

Listen (really listen) as you take class.

"I'll be closely watching how Ashley and Desmond teach their combinations, and then looking to see the students' execution in their videos, specifically how they interpret and apply both teachers' corrections," Langan says.

Let your love for dance shine.

"Beyond seeing technique, we want to see your potential and who you are," Langan says. "Do what you do best, and don't be nervous. This is all about showing us your love for dance."

Latest Posts

Viktorina Kapitonova in "Swan Lake Bath Ballet" (photo by Ryan Capstick, courtesy Corey Baker Dance)

Please Enjoy the Quarantine Genius of “Swan Lake Bath Ballet”

That old saying about limitations breeding creativity—hat tip to Orson Welles—has never felt more relevant than in these lockdown days. Here's the latest brilliant dance project born (hatched?) of quarantine restrictions: "Swan Lake Bath Ballet," a contemporary take on the classic featuring 27 A-list ballet dancers performing from their own bathtubs.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Project 21 dancers (from left) Selena Hamilton, Gracyn French, and Dyllan Blackburn (Photo by Quinn Wharton; hair and makeup throughout by Angela Huff for Mark Edward Inc.)

How Project 21 Is Shaping the Next Generation of Competition-Dance Standouts

"I wish I had a better story about the name," says Molly Long, founder of the Orange County, CA–based dance studio Project 21. In truth, it's a play on the fact that she was born on the twenty-first of August, and 21 is her favorite number. "I was away on a teaching tour, the audition announcement was going live on Instagram the next day, and I desperately needed a name. Project 21 was just the least cheesy of the options I thought of!"

The fact that fans might expect the name to have some profound meaning speaks to the near-mythic status Project 21 has achieved on the competition and convention scene since its founding in 2014. Long's dancers are all wholly individual, yet jell seamlessly as a group, and are consistently snagging top prizes everywhere on the circuit. Each season brings a slew of new accolades, high-caliber faculty, and legions of devoted followers.

The industry has taken notice of the studio's unique ethos. "Molly gets through to her dancers in a special way, and they have this incomparable level of commitment to their craft as a result," says dancer and choreographer Billy Bell, who's worked closely with Long and her dancers. "That's what sets them apart—it's like a little dose of magic."

Keep Reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks

Enter the Cover Model Search