What do colleges look at for dance major admission and scholarship?
April 8, 2016 7:40 AM   Subscribe

If someone wants to major in dance and even try for a scholarship, what are they looking at most?

My daughter is at a dance studio now and has been doing that for years; and this is the first year she is taking competition. She is there every night, including Friday, and I just don't see how she could be a part of the High School dance team.

I know each college might be different, but is there a basic rule on what they look at for history? When she gets to high school should she switch to the high school dance team to show she did that? Or is keeping with the studio the best for the resume?

OR, is it mostly about her audition, and the rest we don't worry about?

thanks for your help!
posted by lynnie-the-pooh to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (6 answers total)
Unless your daughter is at an arts magnet school with excellent dance teachers, stick with the studio. Auditions count for quite a bit, and all the school dance-type programs I ever saw growing up llike drill team) were extra-curricular and would not have provided a solid technical base.

Answer based on my bunhead years 20 something years ago, so YMMV. I never did competitions, and was more of a classical bunhead. Did do summer programs with North Carolina School of the Arts, Houston Ballet, and Ballet Austin, and the only post-high school university type program I auditioned for was Juiliard.
posted by romakimmy at 8:12 AM on April 8, 2016

I never did dance, but in undergrad I was in the Technical Theatre program which was in the same department (the Dept of Theatre & Dance) and so I knew several dancers and worked their shows. I would agree to stick with the studio. For scholarships they will be looking at her actual audition and her dedication. I think a studio shows a lot more dedication than the high school team and it's also more of what they'd be looking for in terms of style and variety.
posted by Deflagro at 8:21 AM on April 8, 2016

It is my understanding that arts based scholarships at traditional universities are few and far between.

My advice to anyone with kids involved in any activity that are hoping for a scholarship is plan for no scholarship and I hope you're pleasantly surprised.
posted by k8t at 8:34 AM on April 8, 2016 [2 favorites]

To tie what k8t said in with the other answers about sticking with the studio, I would imagine you'd have better luck in terms of scholarships by checking out third party scholarship opportunities, and you'd be better positioned for those by sticking with the studio.

Also, from anecdotal experience watching my high school's dance team, it's not at all comparable to even one day a week at even a moderators competitive studio. Several days a week at a good studio will be significantly more advantageous.
posted by kevinbelt at 8:55 AM on April 8, 2016

Also, dance is an industry where academic qualifications and credentials are not the most important factor in finding work. You're much better off gaining more performance experience, and usually a studio is the best way to do that.
posted by kevinbelt at 8:59 AM on April 8, 2016 [2 favorites]

Any reputable school that has a dance program worth attending (for anything more than to say you have a BA in something, anything) is going to look at her audition first, and everything else second.

They will want to see that she has some dance background, but A) her audition will tell them that, since you can't go in and do the macarena and expect to get in, and B) the most prestigious, elite, competitive, what have you experience is going to look the best. If the studio she's at is Lil Miss Funkytown's House Of Tippy-Tap Fun Times, and her school dance team is nationally ranked, it would behoove her to prioritize getting on the school dance team. If the studio is Dance Theatre Of Harlem and the school team lets anyone in who springs for the outfit, she'd be wasting time with the school team. Know what I'm saying?

I started* college as a Theatre major at a very prestigious performing arts focused school. I got in despite not having a terribly exciting acting resume compared to some other applicants who were from big cities and had a lot more opportunities. But my application showed that I had a strong commitment, was getting cast in stuff, was showing up for rehearsals day in day out over the course of many productions, took every theater class my school offered, etc. So if she is doing the work, that's going to show in her application as well as her audition, and she'll stand a good chance.

*If you want to know more about the Is Performing Art College Worth It, feel free to PM me.
posted by Sara C. at 1:49 PM on April 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

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