The Boston Conservatory has long been a leader in contemporary dance training in higher education. While this remains a great option for artists wishing to pursue a career in concert dance, now, with the launch of a brand new BFA program, the institution is expanding its world-class conservatory-style training to encompass commercial dance. . Now accepting applications for fall 2022 studies, the BFA in Commercial Dance will draw on the Boston Conservatory at Berklee’s Excellence Level to prepare the next generation of dance professionals for the commercial industry. If you’ve dreamed of dancing back up for Beyoncé, traveling the world as an artist on a cruise ship, or landing a role in Cirque du Soleil’s next production, here are six reasons to consider this extraordinary show.
1. Students will have the opportunity to study commercial dance at a conservatory.
Historically, conservatory-type training was reserved for classical dance forms, with commercial training following a different, less specific route. The Boston Conservatory’s Commercial Dance BFA is a game-changer by inviting dancers to immerse themselves in a variety of commercial dance styles in a focused and rigorous setting. “We’re the only conservatory in the country to offer a BFA in commercial dance that can be earned in just three years,” says Tommy Neblett, dean of dance at the Boston Conservatory. “This is a very unique program in that we are positioned to build on the strengths of the affiliated Berklee College of Music and the existing Boston Conservatory dance program.”
2. The program only takes three years.
Because dance is a fast-paced, youth-focused industry, dancers often feel pressured to choose between a formal education and starting their careers. The Boston Conservatory offers students the best of both worlds with the new BFA, using a three-year (six semester) program model. “Completing the program in three years means really significant tuition savings for students,” said Cathy Young, executive director of the Boston Conservatory. “It also means a faster launch into the field.”
3. You will come away with real world experience for your resume.
“Everything we do in this degree program is aimed at helping students build their portfolios,” Young said. Not only will students take part in a big concert in an arena each year as part of the launch, but they will also complete industry-specific projects each semester, such as playing with musicians from Berklee College of Music and dancing in music videos. . These projects are designed to “mimic what’s going on in the world,” Young says.
The new Commercial Dance BFA has also been developed in partnership with Berklee Career Center, which will help students find internships and apprenticeships that match their specific interests. “They will be able to gain real world experience, and if they get a contract, it will count towards their degree,” said Neblett.
4. You can audition and study any dance style that matches your career goals.
The Commercial Dance BFA is designed for dancers to specialize in a variety of commercial styles, from circus arts to K-pop to Broadway dancing. “I really feel like the opportunity to go through different departments and have a tailor-made degree program is ideal,” says Chelsey Arce, Boston Conservatory alumnus and program development advisor. Commercial dance BFA who is currently assistant director and choreographer at Cirque du Soleil Lover.
The Commercial Dance program does not require students to enroll in ballet or classical training, but rather allows them to choose from a variety of gender-specific modules, including the following: hip-hop and urban dance; dance for video; circus arts and Las Vegas; social dance (swing, ball); jazz dance and Broadway dance; tap (Broadway and rhythm); improvisation; acting and voice; ballet and modern dance; and dance composition for film, video and stage.
Each module gives students a deep dive into this style. “If a dancer’s goal is to be a replacement dancer, he or she can choose the jazz module. If his goal is to do more circus arts in Las Vegas, he can go that route, ”says Neblett. “Or they can choose different modules if they want to be more versatile and have a more eclectic range of training. “
Classical shapes are also not a requirement of the hearing process. In addition to taking a jazz technique class and a freestyle class on the day of the audition, candidates will perform a 60-90 second solo in the style that they believe best represents their skills and performance goals. future careers. The Boston Conservatory encourages and welcomes applicants from a variety of dance backgrounds, whether or not they have received formal training, says Neblett.
Dance students from the Boston Conservatory in Berklee perform at the 2019 Berklee launch concert.
Kelly Davidson, courtesy of the Boston Conservatory at Berklee
5. Students have the option of collaborating with the affiliated Berklee College of Music.
Not only will students benefit from the resources and notoriety offered by the Boston Conservatory, but they will reap the rewards of proximity to the prestigious Berklee College of Music, which has alumni such as John Mayer, St. Vincent and Quincy Jones. Dancers in the commercial program will work closely with music majors, collaborating on performances, music videos and concerts. “The next Katy Perry or Beyoncé could come out of Berklee College of Music,” says Neblett. “Commercial dance students will work with these students in college, and then they’ll already have these connections and this network in place when they step into the professional world.”
6. Students can spend a semester off campus to focus on professional work.
A feature of the new commercial program is the ability for dancers to spend one of six semesters off campus to focus on a professional internship, apprenticeship or concert. Dancers are encouraged to go anywhere in the world, and their time will count as credit towards their degree, while allowing them to graduate within three years. With genuine work experience to put on their resume after graduation, Boston Conservatory alumni will be ready to embark on the plethora of opportunities that come with a career as a commercial dancer.
Applications to the Boston Conservatory of Berklee’s three-year BFA of Commercial Dance are open now. Learn more about the program and how to apply on the Boston Conservatory website.