By: Katie Friis, Dance Admissions Coordinator
The Office of Admissions and the Dance Division teamed up to offer a new, FREE program this fall: Next Steps at Juilliard. Aimed at New York City high school juniors with prior dance experience, the goal of the program was to introduce the student dancers to Juilliard faculty and students through ballet and modern dance technique classes, and to offer informational sessions on dancing in college – everything from finding the right college program to application & audition processes to college student life!
Since this was the first time we have offered something like this, we were not sure what to expect – and we also didn’t know what the dancers expected of us! We decided to offer the program as a two-day experience on consecutive Saturdays, and to offer the program twice this year. I received 28 applications from 7 different schools for the November program, and a new group of students from a variety of schools will participate when we do this again in January. It was great to have so many fresh, young dancers in the building, eager to learn from our faculty and students. Some of them already knew that they wanted to major in dance when they signed up for this program, and some were still exploring the possibilities. We had different faculty teach on each Saturday, so that the dancers got to experience a variety of teaching styles and techniques. We had different Juilliard students demonstrate for the ballet and modern classes, so that the participants could see firsthand what type of student studies here. We discussed the application and audition process for Juilliard programs, but also talked generally about looking at college dance programs and things that high school juniors can do now to prepare for their college decisions.
The feedback we have received so far has been positive – the only negative thing participants said was that the program was too short! I think it’s easy for dancers, no matter where they study, to get caught in the “big fish, small pond” scenario. I hope that this program allowed the dancers to see what students at other schools are up to, what training is like outside of their own school, and some of the possibilities that are out there in the dance world. It’s important to experience and explore, and I hope that this program helped these young dancers on their own road to a future in dance.
If you are a New York City high school junior interested in learning more about this program, please contact me at (212) 799-5000 x506.