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General Education for DancersTaking time for Academics...


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#1 pherank

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 02:47 PM

Somewhat by accident, while on LinkedIn.com, I happened to notice that Yuan Yuan Tan, Tiit Helimets, Alana Altman and Sasha De Sola of SFB have all received degrees through Saint Mary's College of California. And there may be more (but I'm not going to get obsessive about it). I'm assuming there's some kind of program available to stage professionals at Saint Mary's. Does anyone know more about these sorts of programs - are they common in the major cities (NYC, Chicago, LA, etc)?



#2 California

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 02:56 PM

They have a program specifically for "Liberal Education for Arts Professionals" for professional dancers on their several campuses:

 

http://www.stmarys-ca.edu/node/4106

 

It's a great idea for dancers thinking ahead to the next phase of their careers.



#3 Helene

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 04:34 PM

There was, at least at one time, a program where NYCB dancers took classes at Fordham's Lincoln Center branch.

Pacific Northwest Ballet's Second Stage program has an arrangement with Seattle University to have a professor teach one class a term on premises, and some dancers spoke about an arts management degree through the school.

Second Stage also gives funds for dancers to attend the colleges of their choice. Leah O'Connor is the latest to receive her degree from the University of Washington, which she started as a Professional Devision student. Other dancers worked towards becoming PT's and Pilates instructors.

Second Stage is dedicated to helping dancers prepare for life after dancing and isn't limited to school. Dancers create proposals, and, I believe, can submit more than one application up to a total $/dancer. Jordan Pacitti has spoken often about how, when he was recovering from injury, he put together a business plan for his fragrance business, which has expanded into skin care since then. Not only was he given funding, he was given mentorship.

#4 pherank

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 05:51 PM

They have a program specifically for "Liberal Education for Arts Professionals" for professional dancers on their several campuses:

 

http://www.stmarys-ca.edu/node/4106

 

It's a great idea for dancers thinking ahead to the next phase of their careers.

 

It is a great idea, and I wonder how it all came about...

[Edit] I see Yuan-Yuan is on pg 2 of their brochure, and Vanessa Zahorina on pg 3.     ;)

http://www.stmarys-c...010Viewbook.pdf

 

There was, at least at one time, a program where NYCB dancers took classes at Fordham's Lincoln Center branch.

Pacific Northwest Ballet's Second Stage program has an arrangement with Seattle University to have a professor teach one class a term on premises, and some dancers spoke about an arts management degree through the school.

Second Stage also gives funds for dancers to attend the colleges of their choice. Leah O'Connor is the latest to receive her degree from the University of Washington, which she started as a Professional Devision student. Other dancers worked towards becoming PT's and Pilates instructors.

Second Stage is dedicated to helping dancers prepare for life after dancing and isn't limited to school. Dancers create proposals, and, I believe, can submit more than one application up to a total $/dancer. Jordan Pacitti has spoken often about how, when he was recovering from injury, he put together a business plan for his fragrance business, which has expanded into skin care since then. Not only was he given funding, he was given mentorship.

 

"Second Stage" sounds like a well developed program - being able to attend college at any school of your choice is a big deal, in itself. Pretty interesting that dancers are also able to receive funding for their entrepreneurial pursuits.

 

It's great that they are recognizing, and doing something about, the difficulties dancers face once the stage career is over.



#5 carbro

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 08:24 PM

Helene Alexopoulos of NYCB is a grad of Columbia University's School of General Studies.  I believe other members of NYCB have been enrolled at Columbia.

 

This NYTimes article from 2006, describes a program ABT had at the time where dancers were able to take -- for college credit -- courses offered at Long Island University.  Faculty would come to the studios to teach.  I don't know if the program still exists.  It would be a shame if it were discontinued.

 

Last fall Ballet Theater joined forces with Long Island University to give its dancers an opportunity to take college courses taught by university faculty members, most of them held at Ballet Theater's studios on lower Broadway. This venture, called LIU@ABT, places Ballet Theater among a small group of American companies that help their dancers get college educations.

 

About a third of Ballet Theater's 91 dancers enrolled this year: among them, Gillian Murphy, Stella Abrera and Sascha Radetsky. Susan Jaffe, a former principal dancer who is now an adviser to Lewis Ranieri, the chairman of Ballet Theater's board, helped set up the program and has taken classes herself.

 

"By the time I'm 75," Ms. Jaffe said, laughing, "I'll be: 'I got my degree. Now I can get a real job.' "

The dancers pay only a third of their tuition. The university offers a one-third tuition scholarship, and Mr. Ranieri pays the rest. Classes so far have included art history, English composition, anthropology and physics. Next fall the company plans to add English as a second language to the curriculum. With credits offered for life experience, a dancer could earn a bachelor's degree in five or six years.



#6 pherank

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 08:41 PM

 

Faculty would come to the studios to teach.

 

 

That sounds very similar to the Second Stage program that Helene was describing.



#7 Helene

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 08:44 PM

There have been other NYCB dancers at Columbia, when they were dancing and/or after they left the company.  Delia Peters went to Fordham when she was still dancing, and they went to law school at Columbia.  This article in the NYT from 2010 is about past and then-present NYCB and ABT dancers at Columbia. 

 

Susan Gluck's wedding announcement shows that she graduated from Harvard and then got her MBA from Wharton.

 

Linda Hamilton got her undergraduate degree at Fordham and her PhD at Adelphi. 



#8 sandik

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 09:06 PM

There have been several programs over the years, that were designed to assist dancers as they left the performing part of their careers.  Career Transitions for Dancers started in the 1980s, and had several outposts around the country for a time (Seattle was one of them).  Like the Second Stage program at PNB, it offered assistance to people who were headed for business as well as academia.  It had a strong mentor as well.

 

Cornish College of the Arts (also in Seattle) offers a fast track to a BFA for professional dancers who are phasing out of performing careers -- several of them have gone on to the MFA program at the University of Washington that is designed for pros who want to teach on the college level.



#9 Helene

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Posted 29 June 2013 - 08:41 AM

I took a three-day seminar at Jacob's Pillow for people interested in arts management in a dance company in 1986. There were three panelists from major dance companies and guest speakers. One guest was the woman who started Career Transitions for Dancers, who gave a great presentation; I thought her work was inspriring. What surprised me was the disinterested and/or dismissive attitude of two of the panelists, as if this were unnecessary.

Eight years later, when I moved to Seattle, Second Stage was launched with Russell fully behind it. PNB salaries were substantially lower than at NYCB, for example: every year, there was a mozaic of photos of people from various professions and their salaries in a "What are they making?" cover (and article) in the "Seattle Times" Sunday magazine section, and I remember being astonished that PNB Principal Julie Tobiason was listed at (if I remember correctly) $32K, when Merrill Ashley was reported as having made more than twice that in the '80's and still substantially more even when (state and local income) taxes and rents were factored in. The difference in attitude was remarkable: it was clear that pursuing an education or creating a business was not stealing precious focus/tunnel vision from dance. I suspect this is one way that things may be easier for NYCB dancers under Peter Martins.

At least until there were substantial online-learning programs, it was impractical for a dancer in a touring company to attend school during the performance season, but most of the larger touring companies with the means to set up a formal program are in the modern dance world, where more people had a college background or degree.

#10 PeggyR

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Posted 29 June 2013 - 03:14 PM

Here are some blog posts by SFB dancers about their participation in LEAP:

 

http://www.sfballetb...efore-you-leap/

 

http://www.sfballetb...aking-the-leap/

 

http://www.sfballetb...h-south-africa/

 

They acquire credits by studying; but they can also gain credit by passing on their own performing experience to others.  From Garen Scribner’s post:

 

Dance South Africa took six LEAP students along with Kristine and Claire Sheridan (also a master teacher, founder of the LEAP Program, and professor for the course) to Cape Town from June 24th to July 10th to teach young South African dancers.

 



#11 pherank

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Posted 29 June 2013 - 03:44 PM

Thanks for those links Peggy, I liked this statement in particular (from McCullagh), "It’s also quite unique in that it breaks down the barriers that are often established within the ranks of SFB. I have loved getting to work so closely with some of the principal dancers of SFB that I have, in many instances, grown-up watching and admiring on the stage. Now I find myself working on group projects with them or helping them edit an essay!"

 

Helene's comment reminded me that I also took an Arts Management class (at San Francisco State U.) at about the same time - it was a "bleeding edge" class. No one had done it before, and the 2 gentlemen who ran the class were partly trying to figure out just what such a class should consist of. I'm pretty sure that none of the students knew what to expect, but we all found it fascinating. Partly because we had speakers from the arts come into the class to talk about their experiences. I remember the editors of an underground magazine coming for one class, as well as the woman curator who founded the art exhibitions at San Francisco International airport, which have since become a permanent fixture. Now days, it's possible to study non-profit management at many schools, so curriculum has been better thought out since the 1980s.




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