This spring, Ingrid Kapteyn ’09 became one of only 12 female dancers to be accepted into The Juilliard School.
The highly selective school searches for the most dedicated and talented artists throughout the country. The dance division, of which Kapteyn will be a member next year, held eight separate auditions in six different cities. Each audition had approximately 60 applicants. Of 650 or so total applicants, only 12 female and 12 male dancers were accepted–– a 5% acceptance rate.
As Kapteyn explained, the application process “began on paper.” Like the other colleges and conservatories that she applied to, Juilliard requires a written essay, teacher recommendations, and a transcript.
However, unlike other colleges, the written application is followed by a live audition. “It’s definitely a very different admissions experience,” said Director of College Advising Martha Lyman. “Ingrid could see who she was competing against, rather than just sending in applications and getting word back three months later.”
The audition was an intense multiple-step process testing each dancer’s technique, versatility, and ability to learn new choreography. “The day began with a full ballet and abbreviated modern class,” explained Kapteyn. After the two classes, first cuts were made on the spot.
Then, each dancer performed a prepared solo. After all the dancers finished, second cuts were made.
The remaining dancers were next divided into groups and taught choreography. As a “team,” each group had to perform the newly-learned choreography, showing each dancer’s ability to pick up a dance in a short amount of time, as well as how he/she could perform in a miniature “ensemble.” Following the group performances, the third cuts were made. “The final leg of the audition,” said Kapteyn “was an interview, which was one-on-one.”
At the end of a long day, the original group of 60 became a small group of six—Kapteyn included.
Kapteyn’s decision to attend Juilliard will shift her focus from academics to dance. Next year, she will only be taking one academic class per day. Still, Kapteyn is confident in all that Deerfield has taught her, remarking, “Deerfield is like a small college, and I feel that I won’t be at a loss for education.”
Kapteyn’s strong determination and excitement to “focus only on dance for the first time in [her] life” impresses those who know her. “I can’t think of anyone, in my twenty years at this school,” said Ms. Lyman, “who was as serious about pursuing her performance interest as Ingrid.”
While the rest of her class applied to Ivy League universities and some of the top liberal arts schools in the country, Kapteyn ’09 auditioned at prestigious dance conservatories.
“Even to apply to a conservatory,” explained Ms. Lyman, “is rare for a Deerfield student.” With Deerfield’s classes, sports, and extra-curricular activities, it might seem impossible for a student to focus so much on a specific endeavor. Kapteyn’s rigorous schedule and extra-curricular commitments, such as Albany Road and Round Square, only make her acceptance more impressive.
Juilliard, located in New York City, is a prestigious performing arts institute for drama, music and dance. The school is designed, as Juilliard’s President Joseph W. Polisi said, “to help talented students harness their dedication to become communicative artists… [and to] prepare our students for a life in the arts.”
Kapteyn is still in disbelief that her dream has come true. “Juilliard was always a possibility, but it never seemed like it would be real.”