cajun queen

Ballet Austin trainee Program

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My daughter has been accepted to Ballet austin's trainee program. she is very excited, however we would like to know any feedback from dancers who have done the program. Do you know how many dancers they accept? Chances of getting into the company? Etc. thanks

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cajun queen- Is the traineeship a paid position, or otherwise subsidized? I'm asking because "trainee" is different everywhere- and in some programs, tuition must be paid.

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Cajun Queen and Dufay...I've just spoken to another member who just informed me that her son was offered a Trainee/Apprentice position as well with Ballet Austin. I directed her over to this thread and perhaps she can shed some light on your questions. Congratulations to your daughter Cajun Queen... very exciting! ~Tango~

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YOur best bet is to ask Ballet Austin directly - how many trainees are being accepted and how many of the last two classes have moved into the company. I thought there had been some discussion on this board about the amount of class for trainees, but not sure. YOu can try searching.

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My daughter was also offered a traineeship with Ballet Austin. She attended their 2004 SI at the age of 15 and they talked to her about the trainee program, although she was too young at the time. From what I have been hearing, there were approximately 18 in the trainee program last year. I understand that BA decided to 'redo' the trainee program, and those who did not get job offers and wanted to return as trainees had to re-audition by attending the SI. Personally, I know 2 girls, and 2 boys were offered trainee positions, and one young man is an apprentice. Three of those five dancers are from NCSA. :)

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I don't have time just now to go searching, but I'm pretty sure our member Ed McPherson and perhaps another member gave some interesting information and insights into Ballet Austin's trainee program at the end of last year's Ballet Austin SI (or perhaps those posts were somewhere else).

 

I'd suggest looking at the Ballet Austin SI feedback from last year or perhaps doing a search of Ed's posts on Ballet Austin.

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I think it makes sense to go into company trainee programs with eyes wide open and determine what the actual goal is - training, company placement, performance opportunity, etc. Look at the company profiles and read the dancers' bios. I noticed that e.g. of the 8 dancers in Ballet Austin II, only one of them was promoted from the trainee pool whereas e.g. Miami seems to pull a number of dancers from within the training ranks. Reading company stats can at least give an idea of percentages and numbers and should be part of the homework.

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My son was offered a traineeship/apprentice position at Ballet Austin but I am afraid I can not comment on the trainee program in general as I think his offer was not a standard one. He was told there were no more male apprentice contracts available so this was a way to encourage him to stay. He accepted it (without any consultation with us, his parents - another milestone on the road to independence :D ) because he likes Stephen Mills and the rep at Ballet Austin plus the feedback he has received directly about future opportunities is promising.

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ajg, what a great opportunity for your son - many congrats! my previous comment was really meant to be a general one across the board, using two loose examples - your son's offer sounds exciting and like he's on the right track. again, congratulations.

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Do you have to pay for the trainee program?

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yes

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Are trainees offered housing or do they have to find their own?

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I know cajun queen is looking for an apatment for her daughter.

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LOL, well I thought I did a survey after 2004 turns out I didnt, it was just a short post in response to someone else, Austin 2004 and my survey from Austin 2006

 

I've always been impressed with the rep that Ballet Austin does, but was disappointed to some degree with the summer program the first time I went.

 

I am currently happy working for a classical company but know that at some point I will want to explore contemporary movement and find a work environment were new work is being created, so I chose to go back to Austin’s summer program this summer. I wanted to see if I'd changed enough as a dancer, enough to be able to appreciate the way they work and the values they hold. I had a much better time this summer, its amazing how much growth occurs in a person between the ages of 18-20.

 

 

In regards to the trainee program, I think its important not only to ask how many are accepted but to find out how many are left at the end of the season. I spoke with some trainees this summer that were not thrilled with the season they had just had, they were however happy enough to be returning for this upcoming season. They mentioned that a number (I don’t know how many) of students dropped during the year for one reason or another. This raised a red flag in my mind.

 

In terms of the growth that occurs between the age of 18 and 20. From what I heard while I was at Ballet Austin they like their dancers aged under 18 or 19 to be trainees, and dancers 18-21 to be apprentices, and generally wait until people are 21 to be accepted into the main company. Ballet Austin is a unique company because they do almost all new work, and much of their rep including their full length ballets are quite contemporary. I think it is important to realize how unique this is even in the more contemporary landscape of today's ballet world. Ballet Austin's programs train their dancers to be able to dance in their company specifically, not others companies. Attending their summer program highlights just how specific their technique is and style of work is. While I hesitate to say their training would limit a dancers options elsewhere, they really do mold dancers and this always has its pros and cons. I changed so much as a dancer between the ages of 18 and 20, so from my experience I would hesitate recommending that a young dancer commit to trying to rise through their pre-professional ranks at such a young age.

 

Even as I say this though it seems slightly hypocritical to me, as Ballet Austin is a company that I think I would like to work for.

Edited by Ed McPherson

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As always, Ed, I find your posts very helpful, insightful, balanced, and thoughtful. Thank you!

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