Northeastern and Boston Ballet no longer want dance and education to exist separately, hoping instead to integrate the two with a little flexibility. They are partners in a novel initiative that allows dancers to earn a college degree while they dance.
This first group of 16 dancing students started in May, and dancers have six years to complete their degrees. Classes will be online, on campus, or at the Ballet’s Clarendon Street headquarters. The courses are accelerated, with a semester’s worth of material compressed into as little as six weeks.
Instructors are keenly aware these students have jobs that keep them in rehearsals and performances for up to 12 hours a day, administrators assured dancers during orientation. They have tours to prep for, shows to perfect. On this day, “Coppélia” was set to premiere in just three days. (Class begins in eight.)
“It’s all tailored to make them succeed,” Northeastern president Joseph Aoun said. “We started by looking at the dancers and by saying what is their schedule? When are they going to be in Boston? When are they going to be on the road? When are they going to be performing? And when are they going to be rehearsing? And we devised a program based on their program and their needs.”