The Latest: BFA Fast Track
Boston Conservatory faculty member Adriana Suárez. Photo Courtesy Boston Conservatory.
The Boston Conservatory and Walnut Hill School for the Arts have had a close relationship for some time. They are only 30 minutes apart in Massachusetts and share one full-time faculty member, as well as guest and adjunct faculty. But in fall 2015, the college and boarding school will make their partnership official. A new program will allow select Walnut Hill graduates to earn a BFA in dance from Boston Conservatory in three years. “In some ways the creation of the partnership was organic,” says Walnut Hill director of dance Michael Owen, who proposed the program one year ago. TBC dance director Cathy Young agrees. “The more we talked, the more we saw similarities in what both schools believe is essential to developing dance artists. We’ve taken a few Walnut Hill students each year, so we know they’re a great fit for our program.”
Walnut Hill students still must complete the audition and application process to be accepted into the college. Owen will identify possible candidates from Walnut Hill as early as their sophomore year, and the Conservatory director and assistant director will observe these students in classes and performances during their junior year. Candidates who are then invited to apply will submit application materials and audition in the fall of their senior year. Accepted dancers must complete three specified Walnut Hill upper-level academic courses that have been approved by Boston Conservatory before they begin their first year. Young predicts she will take about five students, out of an approximately 30-student Boston Conservatory class, from Walnut Hill each year.
Once at Boston Conservatory, students will be completely integrated with other freshman dancers, though they will be working toward slightly different degrees; traditional Conservatory students graduate with a BFA in contemporary dance performance. Curriculum will follow the same requirements, from technique classes to pedagogy to Laban, but students on the three-year track will have a condensed final year that combines junior and senior coursework. The program is especially attractive for students who may have considered forgoing college to start their professional careers. “It will be extremely useful for our dancers to be able to enter the professional field a little earlier,” says Owen. “But most importantly, they’ll be able to do it with a degree under their belts.”
If "Fosse/Verdon" whet your appetite for the impeccable Gwen Verdon, then Merely Marvelous: The Dancing Genius of Gwen Verdon is the three-course meal you've been craving. The new documentary—available now on Amazon for rental or purchase—dives into the life of the Tony-winning performer and silver-screen star lauded for her charismatic dancing.
Though she's perhaps most well-known today as Bob Fosse's wife and muse, that's not even half of her story. For starters, she'd already won four Tonys before they wed, making her far more famous in the public eye than he was at that point in his career. That's just one of many surprising details we learned during last night's U.S. premiere of Merely Marvelous. Believe us: You're gonna love her even more once you get to know her. Here are eight lesser-known tidbits to get you started.
Every dancer knows that how you fuel your body affects how you feel in the studio. Of course, while breakfast is no more magical than any other meal (despite the enduring myth that it's the most important one of the day), showing up to class hangry is a recipe for unproductive studio time.
So what do your favorite dancers eat in the morning to set themselves up for a busy rehearsal or performance day?
When it comes to dance in the U.S., companies in the South often find themselves overlooked—sometimes even by the presenters in their own backyard. That's where South Arts comes in. This year, the regional nonprofit launched Momentum, an initiative that will provide professional development, mentorship, touring grants and residencies to five Southern dance companies.
You ever just wish that Kenneth MacMillan's iconic production of Romeo and Juliet could have a beautiful love child with the 1968 film starring Olivia Hussey? (No, not Baz Luhrmann's version. We are purists here.)
Wish granted: Today, the trailer for a new film called Romeo and Juliet: Beyond Words was released, featuring MacMillan's choreography and with what looks like all the cinematic glamour we could ever dream of: