Ask Amy - Web Exclusive

Are there ways to increase my chances of being offered a merit scholarship? I’m auditioning for colleges this year and am going to need as much financial help as I can get. —Ana

I spoke with Mary Margaret Holt, director of the School of Dance at the University of Oklahoma, for insight on what program directors look for when determining merit scholarships. “When students audition for our program, we evaluate and rank them based on coordination, alignment, overall technique, flexibility, overall fitness, sense of line, musicality and artistry,” she says. The faculty then uses these categories as a general guide when determining scholarships, and Holt recommends concentrating on them in class as you prepare for auditions. Other factors come in to play, too. For instance, you may want to take some extra pointe classes—Holt often sees underdeveloped pointe technique. Ramping up your pointe training over the coming months will give you an extra advantage.

Of course, technique can only take you so far—they’ll be assessing your potential, artistic expression, attitude and work ethic, too. Holt watches for dancers’ reactions during auditions, such as how well they apply corrections, how quickly they learn combinations and how passionately their love for dance comes across. “A dancer with highly developed technique may not be ranked as highly if he or she shows very little artistry or seems to lack the ability to utilize technique as an expressive tool,” says Holt. In short, colleges are looking for a well-rounded package.

Latest Posts

Laurent Liotardo (post-production by Nik Pate), Courtesy ENB

Catch English National Ballet’s Rising Stars in the Emerging Dancer Competition Livestream

The coronavirus pandemic may have postponed English National Ballet's annual Emerging Dancer competition last spring, but the show must go on—digitally! You can still watch ENB's best and brightest talent during the competition's livestream, taking place on September 22 at 7:20 pm BST (that's 2:20 pm ET). Now in its 11th year, the competition for the Emerging Dancer Award will be broadcast live from the company's East London production studio for the first time. Tickets are available for $6.99 per device and will remain available to view on demand until September 29.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
From left: Alaina Broyles, Courtesy Werner; Courtesy Underwood

Gaynor Minden's Latest Dancer Lineup Features a Body-Positivity Activist and Its First Guy

Pointe shoe brand Gaynor Minden recently welcomed 32 young dancers to its coveted roster of Gaynor Girls. But this year, the company included two applicants who push the boundaries of what it means to dance on pointe. While both Mason Simon Underwood and Colleen Werner are longtime GM wearers, they stand out from the rest of this year's group: Underwood is the first ever Gaynor Guy, and Werner is a body-positivity activist.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Dylan Giles, Courtesy Festival Ballet Providence

Festival Ballet Providence's New Leap Year Program Gives Dancers Facing a Gap Year a Place to Grow

A new training program at Festival Ballet Providence called Leap Year is welcoming pre-professional and professional dancers who don't have a studio or company to dance for this season.

The endeavor is the brainchild of Kathleen Breen Combes, FBP's executive and artistic director. "I kept getting these emails of dancers saying they just need a place to train this year," says Combes. "I thought, What if we could provide a space for dancers to get stronger, experiment and try new things in a nonjudgmental and no-pressure environment?"

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks