In the Beginning ... New Students Get Oriented in 2009

The Journey Begins

Imagine the first time you trekked up the massive stairway on your way to your Juilliard audition. Remember the touch of trepidation and anticipation that gripped you as you entered the building and blitzed through the audition, and then, before you knew it, it was over. All that was between you and a possible acceptance to this institution was the nail-bite-inducing, four-week wait. That fateful day came to pass and when the dust settled, you had been accepted into The Juilliard School.

Under the influence of a hypnotist, incoming students kicked up their heels during a dance-off

(Photo by Sabrina Tanbara)

First-year dancer Jenna Pollack said “cheese” for her Dance Division classmate Lea Ved, on the annual Circle Line cruise.

(Photo by Robyn Quinnett)

First-year students Christopher Pell (clarinet) and Ben Baron (bassoon) participated in Connecting the Dots: A Diversity Session.

(Photo by Sabrina Tanbara)

First-year master’s student Sarah Kidd (orchestral conducting) went for a leisurely row in Central Park.

First-year students Nathan Haller (voice) and Ingrid Kapteyn (dance) enjoyed a paddle on the Hudson River.

(Photo by Robyn Quinnett)


This scene was replaying in some shape or form as the incoming class walked up the stairs again on August 30, but now, it was tinged with excitement. The colorful “WELCOME” letters overlooking the lobby were a sign of the coming orientation week. For many students, this represented the culmination of years of hard work and also the buoyant feeling of support from friends and families who shared in the challenges and the successes. The orientation team put together a fun-filled program that was neatly packaged into the “Blue Bible.” As an orientation chair, I helped hand out this “Bible” to incoming students and stressed the importance of this item, as they would use it as a guide through orientation week. While some may have been overwhelmed by the various information sessions and entrance exams, there were also many opportunities to unwind and mingle with fellow new students. These included: graduate student meet and greets, themed dinner nights, karaoke night, a memorable hypnotist event, a jam session, and a casino night. The week was capped off with outings over the weekend and our annual Circle Line cruise around New York City, which offered students great views of their new home. Fittingly, like those first steps into Juilliard, we were traveling toward new experiences, but this time we were surrounded by people coming along for the same ride.

—Daniel Fung, Collaborative Piano Master’s Student

A Learning Experience

As an orientation chair, I took great pride in greeting incoming students, showing them their new school, and helping them adjust to life at Juilliard. I am always impressed by the diversity at Juilliard. I am an international student and I attended many of the events and was able to meet students from all over the world, including four fellow Canadians! We talked of maple syrup and Tim Horton’s, and it brought back lots of memories. What amazed me the most is that even though Juilliard students come from all different walks of life, they are brought together through a common passion: the arts. I felt privileged to have the opportunity go outside the boundaries of my division and learn more about music and dance from these new students—it was particularly interesting to hear about the new Historical Performance program. I also enjoyed working with a brilliant team of orientation leaders. Orientation was a perfect start to my year, and it reminded me of how lucky I am to be part of such a nurturing environment. Even though it is over, I am excited to see how all of these students grow this year in their various divisions.

—Virginia Veale, Drama Division, Group 41

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