Jump to content
Ballet Talk for Dancers
Guest samba38

Evaluating a Ballet Program: Measuring Success

Recommended Posts

Victoria Leigh

I think the point that was being made, somewhere here, was that most of the "professional" schools obviously show more dancers getting work, but what they don't show is that most of those dancers were trained for many years somewhere else, and did their last year or two at this school. That last year could be the last year of high school, or even two years, or it could be, probably more often, a year or two after high school. The professional school takes the credit for the student, but the majority of the real training took place elsewhere and the finishing was done by the pro school. This is very common, and also one of the reasons that Trainee programs exist, whether they are called Trainees, Studio Company, or Level 8 at Houston. The students are primarily high school graduates, completing their training.

 

Granted the students who are accepted into these programs must come from very good training, however it certainly does not have to be SAB, SF, or any other "famous" school. It will, however, not be "Miss Suzie Q's school of tap, toe, baton, and hula hoop".

Share this post


Link to post
BW
:mondieu: Merci! :wacko::) Thank you Victoria Leigh! :thumbsup:

Share this post


Link to post
Guest BalletAuthor

Ms. Leigh is certainly right in what she has said regarding dancers being "finished" at professional schools.

 

However, it is noteworthy is that many big, prestigeous "professional" schools (in this context) I mean schools whose purpose is to train professional dancers only do NOTHING whatsoever to help their students find employment when they finish the school program. Realistically schools which dismiss students along the way and which view it as their mandate to train professionals only, should certainly be in a position to know which students are appropriate for which companies. Clearly they do, but most do not share this information with the students.

 

When my DC was a student, one of the biggest advantages of being in that prestigeous professional company school, besides the superb training, was that artistic directors often watched the advanced classes and then either invited the dancers they were interested in to audition for their companies or on made contract offers based on having observed the dancers in class. This, and not having to travel too much were the not too often discussed bonuses.

 

Fendrock noted, "Because of their reputation, they have a huge number of applicants for a very few positions. Thus, they can choose the best, who, of course, are also the most likely to succeed no matter where they train." Which is certainly true, but what is sad is that as there are only approximately between 150 and 225 jobs in ballet in the US each year many or most of the students (especially the girls) even from the most respected professional schools are not very likely to find jobs in classical dance.

Share this post


Link to post
BW

balletauthor, many thanks for your thoughtful post. Your comments are helpful and sobering.

 

When you wrote:

Realistically schools which dismiss students along the way and which view it as their mandate to train professionals only, should certainly be in a position to know which students are appropriate for which companies. Clearly they do, but most do not share this information with the students.

 

I wonder if you know why it is that "most do not share this information"? Is it some right of passage, or a thinly veiled sadistic streak - a bad attempt at humor :wallbash: - why wouldn't this information be shared with students?

 

I do want to point out that you have said "most" do not share....

Share this post


Link to post
gbna

Some schools do this, I can vouch. At his live in school my son has a manditory "Career" class along with his academics which guides them in such things carrers in dance, other options, planning for the future, auditioning ETC. The directors also do placement and guidance meetings.

Share this post


Link to post
LMCtech

Sometimes the students don't want to hear which companies they are appropriate for even when they are told because those companies do not live up to the standards of the student's ideas of their talents. This is also sad and frustrating to the school who is trying to do good for the student.

Share this post


Link to post
BW

LMCtech, I'm sure what you say is true sometimes. :shrug: I wonder if schools counsel their students before the end in order to help them set their sights appropriately?

 

gbna, glad to hear your son's program offers such helpful classes. :wub:

Share this post


Link to post
Guest lurry

Mrs. Leigh

 

Thank you, this is what I have tried to point out in other threads. Although, I couldn't convey it as well as you have. I do think that small schools produce very well trained dancers and the larger schools finish them off. :shrug:

Share this post


Link to post
vrsfanatic

Having been a teenager in ballet (many moons ago) and now having the responsibility to counsel students at first on progress in general, then about various SIs and eventually as to what, where, when and how the future may develop, I do agree with LMCtech.

 

Sometimes the students don't want to hear which companies they are appropriate for even when they are told because those companies do not live up to the standards of the student's ideas of their talents. This is also sad and frustrating to the school who is trying to do good for the student.

 

When I was a teenager making the big break from my very comfortable and good home school attached to a professional company(I wanted to be somewhere else), I could not understand why there was not more counselling available or job placement. Auditions were basically word of mouth so it was more difficult to do a search and get information. So I thought! I stalled and fumbled quite a bit in the first year not having the confidence or the know how to get myself going, out of my situation and onward into the new. My Plan A was not coming to fruitation at that point for many reasons, but what is important is that it was not intact and there was no Plan B. I lost a year. Eventually I landed on my feet because I was determined. I had to find the confidence to just do it! Now, after having been involved with students at a high level for years (and years and years...Ha!) I have watched the same pattern continuously. Students look to an older more professional person to get it done for them! There are not enough jobs for schools and teachers to place students, it also is a very subjective thing. Artistic directors and staffs choose dancers. Therefore students need to get to the auditions or get to company classes in order to be seen. The students need to pursue their goals. We teachers and schools can expose them to various SIs, master classes, company directors but the students need to do the leg work. It is confidence building and a very big part of their development.

 

I am not sure of the numbers that have been discussed on this thread

but what is sad is that as there are only approximately 275 entry level jobs in ballet in the US each year many or most of the students (especially the girls) even from the most respected professional schools are not very likely to find jobs in classical dance.

but I can say this quote is somewhat true. To have the expectation that a particular school should be anything more than a place that prepares students for a career in ballet/dance is not quite realistic. We can train them, we can guide/counsel, we can even lead them to the water but we cannot make them do it. That is up to them! :wub: I am sure as parents you also have had this experience with your children in various ways! I know mine did! :shrug:

Share this post


Link to post
gbna

BW

 

I am just surprized it seems to be rare.......I hope the class does what it is advertized to do.

 

My son want to dance, ballet is first choice but I know there are limits and reality looms; other areas (given his body type ETC) may be better. He knows that also, and his school does help with that.

 

There seems to be a need for Guidance Counselors for dance, maybe someone should start a consultant firm.....................Online consultants? I think it would be profitable. Cross between an agent (may be a bad word) and a teacher.

 

Mel? Citibob? BW? Victoria?

Share this post


Link to post
Victoria Leigh

The problem with that, gbna, is that it would be very hard, if not impossible really, to guide someone we cannot see dance. I would not really want to try and do that. It's always a very personal situation, and trying to figure out what is best for a dancer without knowing them and seeing them would not work, IMO.

Share this post


Link to post
gbna

True, I guess I was thinking more of advice....ideas. But you do that here for free!!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Mel Johnson

But in a limited way, that's what we're doing here, already. And for it's for free, no less, because we like to do what we do! :dry:

Share this post


Link to post
molcol

Help! We have been advised to look at the possiblity of sending our daughter to a year round residence program. She is 16 and finishing 10th grade this year at a traditional, non-arts, public high school. She has basically outgrown her local studio and few other options (if any) exist in our area. Her goal is to prepare for a career in dance and delay college. What have other parents done to help their students chose a program and prepare for this huge step? She has considered looking at the Rock School where she attended their SI a few years ago. Does anyone know about their reputation and program? We have heard that the NCSA program is a good one. Any thoughts?

Share this post


Link to post
BW

Well, molcol, how about first a big "Welcome!" to Ballet Talk for Dancers. :wink::blink:

 

Seeing as this is your first post, I don't have any idea if you've been lurking about in the background and are familiar with the way the board works or not...but I've just used the "Search" function (see one of those "stickies" above for detailed directions on use) and come up with another very good old threads on this very subject.

 

Choosing A Year-Round Residency Program - A Different Point of View

 

molcol, if you find this thread helpful, please post if you want to continue the discussions within this older thread... Otherwise, just keep on using this new topic you've started.

 

I know there are also older discussion topics (threads) on both The Rock and NCSA, as well... I do hope some parents who can give you some first hand feedback will post soon.

 

Again, welcome aboard and we hope to hear more from you! :wink:

 

(*edited to fix a link!)

Edited by BW

Share this post


Link to post
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×