Butler students perform in Nutcracker in Clowes Hall. Photos by Peter Larson/Collegian file photos.
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Last week, College Magazine ranked Butler University’s dance program No. 3 in the nation. The Juilliard School was No. 1, and New York University was ranked No. 2.
Butler dance has been an accredited program since 1992 and consistently listed as one of the top five collegiate ballet programs in the nation. Dancers are admitted through an extensive audition process.
“We have an incredibly diverse, world-renowned faculty that all have something unique to offer us,” said Nathaniel Tyson, a junior dance pedagogy major. “This creates a well-rounded dance program that produces dancers who are fully prepared for the next step of becoming professional dancers.”
Dance professor Susan McGuire was a principal dancer with the Paul Taylor Dance Company from 1977 to 1988 and taught at numerous schools including New York University and Juilliard.
“Almost all of us have had extremely distinguished careers,” McGuire said. “We have had the best training and teachers ourselves, and we have had decades of experience teaching.”
The dance program is a multifaceted experience where students get to learn multiple aspects of dance including the traditional styles of ballet, modern, jazz, contemporary and character.
“Here, all students get the same dance training, and it is a variety they get. Pure classical ballet, but they also get traditional modern technique and traditional jazz technique,” McGuire said.
The course load for dancers at Butler is rigorous. Most dance majors have rehearsals six days a week and are practicing from about 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. or later, Tyson said. During performance times, there are no days off.
“We get to study under professors who are very experienced themselves,” said Tatum Farlow, a senior dance performance major. “The professors personally invest in the students. They want us to succeed not only on a personal level, but a dance production level. This is why we are ranked No. 3.”