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As a ballet student with big dreams is it possible to go to college while still being in a professional company?

I am a 14 year old freshman in high school and I am being asked this question a lot, but I never know how to answer. I go to an arts school in the Bay Area and I train at professional ballet school that I directly connected to a company. I dance 6 days a week for close to 5 or 6 hours a day. #classical-ballet #ballet #dance #ballet-dancer #dancing

Yes, but if you get invited to be an apprentice of professional ballet company as a full time (when you become 15-16), probably you won't be able to. There are many professional ballet dancers when they retire (.... many of them retire in late 20's unless you become a principal dancer), many go back to school (college). So... I would say, wait till if you get accepted as an apprentice, and you can decide. Good luck! Kellie P

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Loren’s Answer

Hi Pilar,

It is absolutely possible! However, it does take a little research to find the right program for you.

There are many options you can look into depending on what you would like to do for college. If you are looking to attend a college in a more "traditional way", full time, class throughout the day, and potentially living in the dorms, there are tons of great dance programs, even focusing intently in ballet that could be a great option for you. University of Southern California recently started their world renowned program bringing in lots of great teachers and masters in dance. For a great program that combines ballet with college in the Bay Area, there is the Alonzo King Lines Ballet BFA program with Dominican University of California. If you are looking to join the company right away there are always options to take online classes while you are focused full time on the company.

A little background about me, I attended Chapman University for a Bachelor of Arts in Dance. At Chapman University, I was a double major, so I also received a degree in Strategic in Corporate Communication. I grew up training fully in ballet, and attended summer intensives every year. In high school I chose to join my high school dance team because I wanted to be more involved at my high school. Through this experience, I looked at colleges that had a great balance of dance and social involvement which led me to Chapman. I knew I wanted to have a dance program where I could take classes in many styles, and have year round performances with world renowned choreographers. I also still attended other classes for general education and of course my Communication degree. Everyday I would take ballet, modern and jazz classes, around 4 hours a day, and then head to other classes and rehearsals for shows later in the evening. Although I did not choose to join a dance company following graduation, many of my friends and fellow graduates did choose to audition and join companies after.

It is always possible and I am excited for you to find the right balance for you!

Loren recommends the following next steps:

Research dance programs at colleges - Here is a good start, but there are so many more!
Decide what dedication level to dance you would like to commit in college. Do you want to have the "college life" or receive an education while being fully invested in your company?

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Kalani’s Answer

Many students go to college directly for a dance degree- these are often are broader scope of dance training than strictly ballet. You can receive a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Fine Arts, which vary depending on the university you attend. I attended UC Santa Barbara and received BFA in Dance- I was dancing up to 8 hrs per day as well as attending non-dance college courses.

If you were to join a professional dance company while still attending college, it would likely be a smaller company that does not hold full 8-hr dance days. Many local companies rehearse in various studios and do not have a "home base"- they are more flexible to change rehearsal hours depending on availability of the dancers.

I went to school for dance at a public school and now hold a full-time job with a tech company while also dancing professionally outside of work. It is possible to do both, you just have to decide what level engagement you want with dance in your life!

Kalani recommends the following next steps:

Do some research into universities with dance programs and see if any look interesting- you can always request tours of the college and program!