Monday, July 11, 2011

College Dance Auditions 102: Choosing Colleges

If my last article didn't scare you away from majoring in dance, congratulations! Now you have to choose which colleges to apply to. Based on how you answered my questions in the last article, tt is here that you'll have to put yourself in one of three categories:
  1. Dance is the only thing in my life
  2. I love dance and it's what I want to do most, but I also want to do other things and/or I have another passion (double major!)
  3. I love dance and I want to major (or minor) and finding a good program is important to me, but academics/a good education/another major are more important 
Disclaimer: as I am no expert or practicing professional, I might have gotten some of the college programs mixed up (though I promise these are all great programs), or some of the programs are borderline between two of the above groups. Some colleges are on two lists because of the crossover. Please do your own research on each of the colleges below if you are truly interested in applying. Also keep in mind that I don't know everything! Just because it isn't on my list doesn't mean it's not a great program.

The First Group
If you find yourself nodding to the first category, then you'll be headed for a conservatory-style program. Like I said in the previous post, think Juilliard. Now while Juilliard is considered the best program in the US, it might not be for everyone. Here are some of the best conservatory programs in the country in no particular order:
The Second Group
This is my group. I wanted a college with a good, strong dance program, but with enough academics to back it up. I plan on double majoring in a completely dance-unrelated subject. Dance is my foremost passion, so I took the dance program in most consideration when applying to college, but I did apply to some more academically-heavy colleges (like UCSD). If you want a good balance of dance and something else, these colleges are a good bet (in no particular order):
The Third Group
Dance is important to you, but you want to do other things first (or you're wary of the fact that very few people make it in dance and you want to have a more secure lifestyle). I applied to a few of these colleges too! These are a few schools that, for one reason or another, have great academics, but also have decent dance programs (that you may not have to audition for!), or have access to cities (NYC, LA) that will have more dancing opportunities:
 These are just a few of the colleges where you can get a dance education! I highly suggest you look in the back of every issue of Dance Magazine for the college guide, or order their entire issue college guide. Good luck!


  1. What about Univ. of Calif. at Irvine? and SKidmore? Southern Methodist University (SMU)? How did you come up with this list? Thanks:)

    1. UCI was in my "second group" - a school with a strong BFA program but also access to world-class academics. I'm not personally familiar with Skidmore and SMU, but I've heard good things. I cross-referenced Dance Magazine's college listings with other lists I've found online, and the list above more or less details how I chose the colleges I applied to and eventually the college I attended.

      Of course this list isn't quite up to date, it's a few years old! For example, USC now has a dance program! Dance Magazine's yearly College Guide is a great resource if you're looking for a way to choose and compare programs and schools.