I was in the same boat as you. I grew up dancing and loved it and wanted to continue through college, however I also wanted to have a double major, knew I needed to have a job, and wanted to join a sorority. I would say it all depends on the program. I attended Chapman University in Orange County, CA for a Bachelor of Arts in Dance and Strategic and Corporate Communication, and I was able to do all of it, which was amazing! However, it did take me a while to figure out which program was right for me. I would recommend researching dance programs and taking the time to talk to the staff, and students on what the time commitment is.
When being able to find the balance to all of it, I did need to choose between a Bachelor of Arts (BA) and a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in dance. A BA let me be more flexible on my required credits, allowing me to spend time focused on other areas of school, social life or work.
Daily life for me usually started with a yoga or pilates class in the morning , straight into technique class in either ballet, jazz and/or modern. I usually would then run over to main campus and go to my general education classes or second major classes. Depending on the time of the year, I would then have rehearsals at night. I made sure to plan out my work schedule with my rehearsal schedule and I would work on the nights that I didn't have dance. My freshman and sophomore year I worked at a restaurant as a waitress and this was a great job for me since it was flexible on my hours. Junior and Senior year, I figured out my class schedule so that I could have paid internships. I would stack my classes on 2-3 days of the week and go to my internship for the rest. This is totally doable, I would just say it really helped to stay organized with my school, work, and social life. I then also was able to be in a sorority and even took on leadership positions.
As for experience and getting into the programs, again it depends on the program. Some dance programs are very sought after and highly technical. These will require an intense audition and it is best to have a strong dance background. It does not need to be specific into studio dance though. I trained a lot at my high school and was on my high school dance team. Our high school had a strong conservatory of dance, and I received great training from this, however if I did not have this, I would have chosen to commit to a studio more consistently.
I definitely think whatever you put your mind to would be possible. The best thing is to find the right dance program for you that is flexible with credits, schedules and has students who are doing lots outside of the major too. I can tell you that is not always the case. I did consider a different school, that did not recommend I join a sorority, or even double major. These were huge cons for me and therefore, even though, I loved the school and location, it wouldn't have been the experience I needed.
Each dance program at a school is unique and everything you asked is possible when you find the right one!
Loren recommends the following next steps:
- Start researching dance programs - this is just a start. There are so many out there, and these are top programs that may require more time focused on dance, but check them out to start seeing what they are like! https://www.onstageblog.com/onstage-blog-news/2018/8/21/the-top-25-college-dance-programs-for-2018-19