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NBS and RWB where do their alumni dance?

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I know there are a number of people on this site who either have children who attend, or attended one or the other of these schools, and I'm interested in learning about their graduates.


Is it common for their dancers to end up in American companies, European, Canadian?


Thanks to all. :)

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I would imagine that their graduates would be hired by the schools' associated companies: the National Ballet of Canada and Royal Winnipeg Ballet. Is this accurate?

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Well, Hans, I'm sure hoping they are but that they're also hired by all sorts of companies in the ballet world. I have checked out NBS's Alumni page but it isn't really geared for this info, though there are several alumni who are now working for the school and have listed their past company affiliations... one of which was NYCB.


I know we have some posters involved with NBS and RWB...and I'm guessing we may even have alumni. :)

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Each year nbs publishes news of the graduating class. For the last couple of years, at any rate, it seems that some students have gone to the company (NBOC) as apprentices and/or corps members. Some students continue on at nbs in the Intensive Dance Program for another year. A few go off to University (one year I seem to remember there were a few who went to Julliard in particular), and some go to other places. This past year I think a few went to someplace in Germany (can't remember specifics off the top of my head). I'm sure other folks will read this and be able to give very specific information.

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There has always been intense rivalry between NBS and RWB. They certainly do not take each other's dancers. That is the problem in Canada, there are very few companies that perform strictly ballet, so there are few opportunities for their trained dancers. A few do manage to go to Europe. It is difficult for Canadians to get green cards and be hired in the States. I have heard that Winnipeg is in financial difficulties and this year have had to let dancers go. I know of a wonderful male dancer who was not accepted back this year because they could not afford to have him. After years of training, he is seriously having to consider another career. Its a shame. Most of tha National Ballet Company members do come from the school, but even so only two or three can be absorbed each year.

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Originally posted by Hans

I would imagine that their graduates would be hired by the schools' associated companies:  the National Ballet of Canada and Royal Winnipeg Ballet.  Is this accurate?

Would that it were accurate!


The National Ballet of Canada, despite its similarity in name to the National Ballet School, has disassociated itself (in writing -- it's in one of the brocures or other literature -- I don't remember where I saw it exactly -- that the National puts out) from the school. The problem is, the rest of the country does not know this, and everyone assumes that the NBS feeds the NBoC, as SAB feeds NYCB!


It's the same story with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and its namesake school, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School.


I know several students who have graduated from one or the other who ended up not dancing anywhere. After a year or so in the transitional Intensive Ballet Program (a holding tank, really -- they have to put these kids somewhere!), the grads gain little but a year of age and, at 19, have an even harder time finding employment.


Yes, some go to Europe. Even a few boys have had success at Stuttgart (hired by Reid Anderson -- erstwhile artistic director at the NBoC). Of the girls who try to get into a European company, I know of a few who were placed in similar "holding tank" programs in England, for example, as they would have been back home in Canada.


The dream so many Canadian children have of being accepted into the National Ballet School gets soured in their graduation year (if they make it that far) when they find out that the prospects for employment at home are bleak. What a waste of money and time away from family!


I am not an embittered NBS parent -- on the contrary, my daughter attends a Vaganova ballet school and has good prospects for a career in ballet on her horizon -- but I have heard so many sad stories over the years from NBS parents. It really makes one wonder how a school and a company so heavily subsidized by the government dare to dash the hopes of so many young dancers who go through their program, thinking all the while that they have a chance with the nation's premier ballet company. This is far from the truth.

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I do not have info before last year, but here are last year's class - company placements

- Eugene Ballet (Oregon) corps de ballet

- National Ballet of Canada - apprentice

- Arizona Ballet - corps de ballet

-National Ballet of Korea - corps de ballet

- Toronto Dance Theatre - apprentice

- Stuttgart Ballet - corps de ballet

11 graduates continuing ballet studies in advanced programs at NBS, PNB, Hamburg, Rotterdam, Stuttgart

1 going on to University


word has it that there is one girl this year accepted at both NBOC and NYCB. no word of others yet


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Yikes! Marga, what a bleak picture you paint! I think that the schools are in fact still associated with the companies to some degree based on the set up of their websites. Of course the schools accept and graduate many more students than they can take into thier companies, and I'm sure that the students are aware of this when they register. These students do have a chance of getting into these companies, althogh it may be a very slim chance! Only the students and their families can determine whether the chance is worth the sacrifice of time, family togetherness, and money.

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Just from an Education Law standpoint, I wonder how the charters of the companies and the schools have managed to separate themselves. OK, it's only a piece of paper, but it sets out the mission statement, and the whole purpose of the organization. The RWB Charter, and presumably, the school's is a matter of state, as it's a Royal Charter, and the National is a matter of Canadian government interest.

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I don't know anything about the charters of the companies and schools, so unfortunately can't comment Major Mel. From the outside looking in, it would seem that there are some connections at the very least as children from the schools are used from time to time in Company productions.


However, I can tell you that one young woman from my town is a recent NBS graduate. She did a year at POB following her graduation, some sort of exchange I believe with NBS. She is now listed as a company member of the Royal Ballet in the UK. She is under the section of "Artists", which I assume we would refer to as corps members here. In addition, many of you know that two former NBOC dancers (also graduates of NBS) are now principals at the Royal: Jamie Tapper and Johann Persson.

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There is a close connection between the company and the school at RWB. I don't know what the legal relationship is but they do share the facilities and even use the same letterhead for a lot of their correspondence. Many of the dancers in the company have come from the school.

I just got back from Winnnipeg last night, having seen the school's wonderful production of Coppelia. It was a thoroughly enjoyable ballet and the students were a delight to watch.

Mom2......your daughter did a great job!



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Many thanks to all who've posted. I am puzzled by the comments about these two schools not being directly affiliated with their namesake companies...:confused: It just doesn't make sense to me and sounds as though there is a difference of opinion on this. :D


Tendumom, thank you for your specifics as to the different places students have ended up from NBS.


I will add that I am aware that most ballet companies are only able to hire several new members in any given year, but I was interested to know how often it happened that students from our neighbor to the North's ballet programs ended up down in the USA and across the Atlantic and Pacific, as well.


Perhaps it was a foolish question...


Not sure if it was mentioned on this thread or not, but I do recall that Harid has always published an up-to-date list of where their alumni have ended up whether they've joined ballet companies or ended up in universtiy programs, etc. :cool: Don't you wish all programs did this? ;)

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Questions are hardly ever foolish, BW.


From what I hear, it can be difficult for Canadian dancers with the immigration policies of some countries...as there are few companies here, many look abroad but government restrictions are prohibitive.


My own children are pretty lucky, as they have US/Canadian citizenship. Don't think they recognize how lucky they are yet...perhaps someday!



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You are right they are very lucky, you have no idea how many time I wished my Dad had been born 20 miles to the south! I have been working for US ballet companies for going on 5 seasons now, after attending school in the US for 2 years, and am still working on an uncertain, year to year visa status.


I consider myself a RWB alumni, although I did not graduate from their program. It has been my observation that the RWB company hires the best dancers that are available to them. All other things being equal, they appear to prefer students of the school, if only because they have "paid their dues", are familiar with the repertory, and have likely worked with the company at some point (in that holding tank, good analogy!)


Looking at the website quickly, and not able to access everybody's bio, I would make an educated guess that 16 of the 27 company dancers attended the Professional Division at one point or another.


I think that part of the issue here is simply numbers. Continuing with the RWB as the example (although the same model applies to NBC, and other company schools), if the school graduates a small class every year, say 4 girls and 2 guys, how many of them are actually going to get a paid apprentice contract with the company? Maybe half? And if one of those apprentice contracts goes to someone from outside the school (even though I have heard it said that school graduates get first dibs)? And then of those apprentices, how many get into the corps, again, maybe half? So of 6 graduates, 1-2 a year get into the corps, leaving 4-5 grads a year looking for work in other companies. What other companies you ask? Exactly. . .


The situation in the US is different in one important way. There are a large number of smaller companies with smaller schools whose ranks are filled by well trained dancers from larger schools. There are no such companies in Canada.


I would like to note that there should be no animosity inferred into my comment about RWB, I just use them as an example I had the opporunity to observe. Credit to the RWB school staff, they told me that I was not ever going to be in the running for one of those apprentice contracts, and that allowed me to direct my career in a way that has let me dance professionally.

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I knew 2 girls (identical twins, actually) who moved from Israel to Canada to go to NBS. One of them is dancing with the Cullberg Ballet in Sweden. I've never seen the company, but I have a feeling it is more of a contemporary company than classical. I don't know what the other sister is doing now - I met her a couple of years ago when she was dancing with the Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company here.

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