Low acceptance rate helps School of Dance


Abigail Bitterman

The low acceptance rate of the University of Oklahoma’s School of Dance has allowed it to maintain high standards of excellence and education.

Last year, 250 people applied to the school, but only 19 were accepted, according to Michael Bearden, the Director of the School of Dance. That’s an acceptance rate of just 7.6 percent. However, Bearden said this is common in top dance schools.

The school teaches both modern dance and ballet. It was originally founded as the Department of Dance in 1963 by Miguel Terekhov and Yvonne Chouteau. Mary Margaret Holt, Dean of the Weitzenhoffer Family College of Fine Arts, said the founders were important to the school’s success because they set professional standards from the beginning. The low acceptance rate allows the school to maintain these standards.

“We’re fortunate that we’re not forced into a quota system at the University of Oklahoma,” Holt said. “That quality is more important than quantity, so we’re able to be very selective in the audition process.”

The school aims to bring in 19 or 20 students a year. This allows it to keep a low student to teacher ratio, something important for dance instruction.

“Ballet is such an ephemeral art form and modern dance is such an ephemeral art form,” Bearden said. “It’s not something you can just study in a textbook and get really good at … So if the student to teacher ratio becomes too wide then it’s very hard for that teacher to make an impact.”