Hi back atcha!
Our academic programs here are not audition/application based, so you could explore your interest in costume design starting your freshman year. If you have already created pieces that you want to share with us, you could certainly send along photos of them to the Admissions office when you apply. We’d love to see ‘em! However, the school doesn’t require portfolios for entry into specific classes until you get to an advanced work stage.
As for your second question, YES! Field Work Term is our seven-week internship period that happens every winter, which allows students to connect their academic studies to the “real world”. You can read all about it here. While each of us is responsible for finding our own FWTs, there’s a lot of support from the FWT office, which can help connect you with an internship and/or housing.
We have all sorts of folks with different appreciation for the outdoors. Some are super gung-ho about leaving campus every weekend to go hiking, climbing, or camping in the surrounding Taconic/Green Mountains. Others are just as excited to lounge about at the End of the World soaking up the sun as they study. I think you’ll find all sorts of outdoor interest in between those as well.
You can totally take dance even if its not a part of your plan, yes yes! My first term, I took Susan Sgorbati’s “First Year Dance Intensive” which was GREAT even though I had a super limited dance background. Since then, I’ve taken both of Souleymane Badolo’s “Contemporary African/ Burkina Faso” classes which changed my life (On a side note, Solo absolutely is the best. He was recently written up in the NY Times…sorry, had to brag a little about him…)
Hope that helps!
- Julia ‘15
Bennington accepts IB credit; however, since Bennington does not have general education requirements you will not be exempt from any classes. As far as admissions we look at each student’s application in entirety so it does not place you in an advantage or disadvantaged place in admissions.
As far as dance goes at Bennington, there is a strong emphasis on creating and making work. Please take a look at this page to read a bit more about the dance program. It took me a while to adjust to the dance program here, but I love how I am finding my own vocabulary and voice now. If you have further questions about the dance program or just want to chat with a fellow dancer, I would love to talk about my current classes and projects and hear about your interests:
Let’s talk movement!
I am so in to this question. Yes. There are a bunch of different options. Dance technique classes at Bennington are usually only 2 credits (half that of the normal class credit load), so its really easy to tack one on to your schedule without missing out on a a full 16 credits of non-dance classes. We also have campus wide dance parties, which are great for cutting serious rug. You can pretty much bank on one of these every or every other weekend during term.
There are also a few dance-related clubs on campus. The Bennington Movement Collective holds weekly workshops and jams to teach a new dance technique, encourage collaboration, and give students a platform for sharing works-in-progress. They work really hard to attract non-dance concentrations, too, or really anyone interested in movin’ around.
Finally, you can audition to be in student choreographed pieces for any one of the dance performances held during term. Rehearsal commitments vary, but it’s definitely manageable to take on one of those projects in addition to your own coursework.
A dance student at Bennington who just read this post would like to add:
”@prospective student wondering about dancing at Bennington outside of an academic focus, I would add to Claire’s excellent response that the dance faculty sometimes allow students to audit technique courses like ballet or african dance if the student does not wish to take the course for credit. We also occasionally have guest master classes at dance workshop, which is open to all students. Good luck!”
The short answer is no, you do not need to audition, but you are welcome to send us whatever supplemental materials you would like. The admissions office decides whether or not you get into Bennington, and then you get to decide what you want to study and how you want to study it once you are here. Bennington students, in the performing arts especially, are all about collaboration. Within departments (and really across disciplines) people form connections and start working together, both for classwork and self-driven projects. Freshmen can engage in this community quickly; for instance, we had some first-year students on stage in the faculty’s fall drama production. Another thing that I think makes Bennington unique is that our drama program allows students to engage in all aspects of production that interest them, from acting and directing to playwriting and costume design. These classes are available to all students regardless of primary interests, although advanced courses within these fields have pre-requisites.
The sun majestically perforated the clouds this morning, striking one lone snow-tipped mountain. For some, these rays breaking through the windows of their sleepy dorm rooms stimulated their natural circadian responses, and they rose up like the rest of their animal brothers and sisters in the woods. For others, however, this dawn meant only that another hour had passed in their sleep-deprived delirium. Why, I sometimes ask myself, at a school where there are ostensibly no “requirements,” where we are free to design our own education, do we CHOOSE to do this? The answer, I think, is because we love our work so much.
Here’s what some of us are doing for finals. Check it out: