Tips for Pursuing a Dance Major

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Two students dancing on a stage.

Tips for Pursuing a Dance Major

The world of dance is a vast and vibrant universe, filled with diverse styles and techniques that have the power to captivate audiences and leave lasting impressions. The dream of turning this passion into a career is a driving force that shapes their educational choices and future goals for many aspiring dancers.  For high school students who dream of becoming professional dancers, pursuing a college dance major can be a crucial stepping stone to success.

Two students talking while walking in a campus.

Embarking on the journey to becoming a college dance major requires a strong foundation in dance, a clear understanding of your goals, and a commitment to honing your craft. As you prepare for this exciting adventure, embracing your passion for dance and maintaining a growth mindset, continually seeking opportunities to learn, improve, and evolve as an artist is essential.

Researching College Dance Programs

As an aspiring dance major, you have undoubtedly spent countless hours perfecting your technique, honing your artistry, and immersing yourself in your major. The next crucial step in your journey is selecting the right college dance program that aligns with your goals, values, and aspirations.

Group of students attending an online class.

Researching college dance programs can be complex and time-consuming, but finding the perfect fit will be worth the effort. We will guide you through the essential aspects of researching college dance programs.

Identifying Different Types of Dance Programs

As a prospective dance major, the first step in your research process is to familiarize yourself with the various dance programs available for a dance major. College dance programs can vary significantly in their focus, curriculum, and performance opportunities. Some common programs include:

  • Ballet-Focused Programs: These programs prioritize classical ballet training and often include courses in pointe work, pas de deux, and variations. They may also offer training in contemporary ballet and other styles.
  • Modern and Contemporary Dance: These programs emphasize modern and contemporary dance techniques, as well as choreography, improvisation, and performance. They often provide opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration and exploration of various dance styles.
  • Jazz and Commercial Dance: These programs focus on jazz, hip-hop, and other commercial dance styles, often with an emphasis on performance and industry preparation.
  • Dance Education: These programs prepare students to become dance educators, with coursework in pedagogy, anatomy, and other related subjects.
  • Interdisciplinary or Customized Programs: These programs allow students to build their own curriculum, combining various dance styles, performance opportunities, and academic courses to create a personalized program of study.
  • Considering Accreditation and Reputation

Accreditation is an important factor when researching college dance programs. Accredited programs have met specific standards for quality and rigor, ensuring that you receive a high-quality education. Look for programs accredited by the National Association of Schools of Dance (NASD) or other reputable organizations.

In addition to accreditation, the reputation of a program can also be a crucial factor in your decision-making process. Research the program’s history, faculty, alumni success, and performance opportunities to get a better understanding of its reputation and standing within the dance community.

Evaluating Location, Campus Size, and Facilities

The location of your college dance program can significantly impact your overall experience. Consider factors such as proximity to professional dance companies, performance venues, and cultural attractions, as well as climate, cost of living, and overall campus vibe.

Campus size can also be a crucial factor, with larger universities often offering more extensive resources and extracurricular opportunities, while smaller colleges may provide a more intimate, close-knit community.

Two students talking in front of a laptop.

When researching facilities, pay attention to dance studios, performance spaces, fitness and conditioning facilities, and any additional resources that may be available, such as costume shops, music libraries, or interdisciplinary collaboration spaces.

Comparing Faculty Credentials, Teaching Styles, and Performance Opportunities

The faculty at your chosen college dance program will play a vital role in your growth and development as a dancer. Research faculty members’ credentials, professional experience, and teaching philosophies to ensure they align with your goals and values.

Additionally, inquire about guest artists and masterclasses, as these opportunities can provide valuable insights and networking connections.

Performance opportunities are another essential aspect of your college dance experience. Research the variety and frequency of performance opportunities, such as mainstage productions, student choreography showcases, and off-campus performances.

Utilizing Resources and Networking

Leveraging resources and networking opportunities is crucial for a college dance major, as it can open doors to new experiences, connections, and professional growth.

Begin by actively participating in your college dance community by attending workshops, masterclasses, and guest lectures, which can provide valuable insights and learning opportunities. Engage with your dance faculty, seeking their guidance, mentorship, and feedback to further your development as a dancer and artist.

Group of students talking in a room.

Connect with your fellow dance majors, form study groups, collaborate on choreographic projects, or offer mutual support and encouragement. Attend on-campus performances, networking events, and conferences, where you can meet professionals in the dance world and learn about potential career paths, internships, or job opportunities.

Moreover, utilize online resources, such as dance forums, social media groups, and professional organizations, to stay informed about industry trends, audition notices, and networking events.

As you engage with these resources and network within the dance community, keep an open mind and remain receptive to new information and perspectives. By gathering as much information as possible and connecting with a diverse range of individuals, you will be better equipped to decide when choosing the college dance program that best aligns with your goals and aspirations.

How Do You Prepare for Dance Major Auditions and Applications?

As an aspiring college dance major, you have invested countless hours in developing your skills, technique, and artistry. It is time to showcase your hard work and passion during the crucial audition and application process.

The journey to becoming a college dance major is both exhilarating and challenging, with the audition and application process as a pivotal moment in your dance career. To secure a spot in your dream program, you must not only showcase your talent and passion for dance but also present yourself as a well-rounded and dedicated individual.

Students lounging in the stairs.

So, how do you prepare for auditions and applications? Let’s explore essential tips and strategies for mastering the college dance audition and application process.

Building a Strong Dance Foundation

A robust dance foundation is crucial for aspiring college dance majors, as it provides the necessary skills, technique, and versatility required to excel in various dance styles and programs.

To build a strong foundation, engage in consistent, high-quality training across multiple dance disciplines, such as ballet, modern, jazz, and contemporary. Focus on mastering proper technique, alignment, and body awareness, while developing a strong sense of musicality and artistry. Consider attending workshops, masterclasses, or summer intensives to gain exposure to different teaching methods, choreographic styles, and networking opportunities.

Additionally, prioritize your physical fitness by incorporating strength, flexibility, and endurance training into your routine to support your overall dance performance and reduce the risk of injury.

By committing to a well-rounded and comprehensive dance education, you will be better equipped to thrive in a college dance program and maximize your potential as a dancer and artist.

Preparing a Dance Resume and Performance Reel

A polished dance resume and performance reel are essential components of a successful college dance application, as they showcase your skills, experience, and potential for college dance programs.

When crafting your dance resume, focus on presenting a concise and organized document that highlights your training, performance experience, choreographic work, and any dance-related awards or achievements. Be sure to include the names of your dance teachers or mentors, the styles you have trained in, and the number of years you have been dancing.

For your performance reel, compile high-quality footage that demonstrates your versatility and proficiency across various dance styles. Select clips that showcase your technical skills, musicality, and artistry, while highlighting your ability to perform both solo and group pieces. Keep the reel length between 3-5 minutes, ensuring it is engaging and effectively captures the attention of college dance program evaluators.

By investing time and effort into creating a professional dance resume and performance reel, you will significantly enhance your college dance application and increase your chances of being accepted into your desired program.

Preparing for Auditions

Thorough preparation is key to a successful college dance audition, as it enables you to showcase your skills, confidence, and potential. Start by researching each program’s specific audition requirements and expectations, such as dance styles, techniques, attire, and any required solo pieces or combinations.

Develop a structured practice schedule, focusing on refining your technique, strengthening your weaknesses, and maintaining overall physical fitness. Pay particular attention to the dance styles emphasized by the programs you are auditioning for, ensuring that you feel confident and well-prepared in those disciplines.

In addition to honing your physical skills, cultivate mental resilience and self-confidence through visualization techniques, affirmations, and mindfulness exercises to help manage nerves and maintain focus during auditions.

By dedicating yourself to diligent preparation, both physically and mentally, you will be well-equipped to tackle the audition process with confidence and poise, showcasing your talents and passion for dance to your fullest potential.

Navigating the Application Process

The college dance application process can be a complex and demanding journey, filled with multiple components, deadlines, and decisions to consider. However, with careful planning, organization, and determination, you can confidently navigate this crucial stage and secure a place in the college dance program of your dreams.

We will guide you through the various aspects of the college dance application process and provide practical tips and strategies to help you present your best self to potential programs, laying the foundation for successful and fulfilling dance education.

Organizing Important Deadlines and Requirements

Staying organized is essential for a successful college dance application process. Start by compiling a list of your target programs, noting each one’s specific requirements and deadlines for applications, personal statements, recommendations, dance resumes, pre-screening videos, and auditions.

Create a calendar or spreadsheet to track all relevant deadlines, allowing you to prioritize tasks and allocate time effectively. Regularly update your tracking system and set up reminders to stay on top of deadlines, preventing last-minute stress or oversights.

Writing a Compelling Personal Statement or Essay

Your personal statement or essay is a vital component of your application, as it provides the admissions committee with a glimpse into your passion for dance, your goals, and your personal journey. Take the time to craft a compelling and well-written essay that tells your unique story and highlights your growth as a dancer. Be genuine, engaging, and reflective, showcasing your individuality and determination to succeed in the college dance program.

Requesting Letters of Recommendation from Dance Instructors or Mentors

Letters of recommendation play a significant role in the application process, as they provide the admissions committee with an external perspective on your dedication, work ethic, and potential. Request letters from dance teachers, mentors, or other individuals who can speak to your passion and commitment to dance. Be sure to give your recommenders ample time to write thoughtful, detailed letters.

Preparing for Potential Interviews or Additional Evaluations

In some cases, college dance programs may require interviews or additional evaluations as part of the application process, which can provide an opportunity for you to further demonstrate your passion, commitment, and suitability.

To prepare for these potential assessments, start by researching the specific interview or evaluation format, requirements, and expectations for each program. Familiarize yourself with common interview questions and topics, such as your background in dance, artistic influences, personal goals, and reasons for pursuing a college dance education. Practice articulating your responses, ensuring that you convey your thoughts clearly and confidently.

Navigating the application process for college dance programs requires organization, preparation, and determination. By staying organized with deadlines and requirements, crafting polished application materials, and preparing thoroughly for auditions and additional evaluations, you will set the stage for a fulfilling and rewarding college dance experience.

How to Choose a College Dance Program?

After dedicating countless hours to researching programs, crafting application materials, and preparing for auditions, the time has finally come to make the critical decision of choosing the right college dance program for you. It is essential to approach this decision with a clear mind and a well-considered evaluation of your priorities, goals, and aspirations.

Students often ask, “How to choose a college dance program?” Let’s explore some of the crucial factors to consider when making your final decision and provide guidance to help you confidently choose the college dance program that will best nurture your growth as a dancer and artist.

Reflecting on Your Priorities and Goals

Before making your final decision, take a moment to reflect on your priorities and goals as a dancer. Consider factors such as program type (BFA or BA), program focus (ballet, modern, jazz, or a combination), faculty credentials, location, campus size, facilities, and performance opportunities. Evaluate how each of your potential programs aligns with these priorities and which one best supports your aspirations.

Assessing Financial Considerations

Financial considerations often play a significant role in the decision-making process. Evaluate the tuition and fees associated with each program, along with any scholarships, grants, or financial aid packages you may have been offered. Consider the cost of living in the program’s location, as well as additional expenses such as travel, housing, and supplies. Determine which program offers the best balance between financial feasibility and the quality of dance education.

Evaluating Program Reputation and Alumni Success

The reputation of a college dance program and the success of its alumni can provide valuable insight into the quality of the education and the potential opportunities available to graduates. Research each program’s reputation within the dance community and consider the professional achievements of its alumni. This information can help you gauge the potential for personal and professional growth within each program.

Revisiting Campus Visits and Audition Experiences

Your experiences during campus visits and auditions can provide valuable insights into each college dance program’s atmosphere, culture, and overall vibe. Reflect on your interactions with faculty, current students, and other prospective students. Consider the level of support, camaraderie, and enthusiasm you observed and any gut feelings or intuition you may have experienced during your time on campus.

Seeking Advice from Trusted Sources

Consulting with trusted sources, such as dance teachers, mentors, and current or former students of the programs you are considering, can offer valuable perspectives to inform your decision. Seek their insights on the strengths and weaknesses of each program, as well as their personal experiences or observations. However, remember that everyone’s experience is unique, and it is essential to ultimately make a decision that aligns with your own goals and priorities.

Trusting Your Instincts and Making the Decision

After weighing all the factors and gathering as much information as possible, it’s time to trust your instincts and make the final decision. Remember that no choice is perfect, and there will always be pros and cons associated with each program. Choose the college dance program that best aligns with your priorities and goals and feels like the best fit for your growth and development as a dancer and artist.

Making the final decision for your college dance program is a significant milestone in your journey as a dancer. By considering your priorities, goals, financial considerations, program reputation, personal experiences, and trusted advice, you can confidently choose the program for a rewarding and fulfilling dance education.

Embarking on your journey is an exciting and rewarding experience, requiring dedication, preparation, and resilience. Remember to utilize resources and networking opportunities, stay organized, and prioritize self-care to ensure a successful and enjoyable college dance experience.

Ultimately, trust your instincts, follow your passion, and embrace the challenges and opportunities ahead as you embark on your path to becoming a skilled and accomplished dancer and artist.

With the tough competition in getting into prestigious colleges offering dance programs, applying as a dance major might take a lot of work. AdmissionSight, one of the leading college admissions experts in the US, can assist you in preparing and crafting your application materials. By helping you to be at the top of your game, AdmissionSight is a reliable partner in your college application journey.

Book an appointment for an initial consultation with AdmissionSight today!

College Admissions

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sign up now to receive insights on
how to navigate the college admissions process.