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.
(From left) Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland (all photos by Erin Baiano)
Dance Spirit's 2019 Cover Model Search finalists: Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland! One of them will win a spot on Dance Spirit's Fall 2019 cover. Learn more about the dancers on their profile pages, and then vote for your favorite below. You can vote once a day now through July 15.
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Imagine attending American Ballet Theatre's prestigious NYC summer intensive, training among classical ballet legends. Imagine taking the stage at New York City Dance Alliance Nationals, competing against some of the country's best contemporary dancers. Now, imagine doing both—at the same time.
Welcome to Madison Brown's world. This summer, she's in her third year as a National Training Scholar with ABT, while also competing for NYCDA's Teen Outstanding Dancer title. (She's already won Outstanding Dancer in the Mini and Junior categories.) The logistics are complicated—ABT's five-week intensive overlaps with the weeklong NYCDA Nationals, which translates to a lot of cabs back and forth across Manhattan—but Maddie is committed to making the most of each opportunity. "I love contemporary and ballet equally," she says. "While I'm able to do both, I want to do as much as I can."
Maddie has an expressive face, endless extensions, and a quiet command of the stage. She dances with remarkable maturity—a trait noted by none other than Jennifer Lopez, one of the judges on NBC's "World of Dance," on which Maddie competed in Season 2. Although Maddie didn't take home the show's top prize, she was proud to be the youngest remaining soloist when she was eliminated, and saw the whole experience as an opportunity to grow. After all, she's just getting started. Oh, that's right—did we mention Maddie's only 14?
Corbin Bleu in rehearsal for "Kiss Me, Kate" (Jenny Anderson, courtesy Roundabout Theatre Company)
If you're a hardcore Broadway baby, today is the worst Sunday of the year. Why, you ask? The Tony Awards were last Sunday, so basically there's nothing to look forward to in life anymore—no James Corden being James Corden, no teary acceptance speeches from newly minted stars, no thrilling excerpts from the hottest new shows. Oh yeah, and there are 50 more Sundays to go before our humdrum lives are once again blessed with the next annual iteration of Broadway's biggest night.