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Ballet Talk for Dancers

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  • kiwiwdancer


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Thank you-34ballet!! DD got acceptance letter today from the Feb 1 audition. She is beyond ecstatic! Letter stated 25 dancers were chosen from 450 applicants.

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Congrats to you and your DD kiwidancer!! It's a GREAT program. I'm sure your DD will LOVE it there.


I'm looking forward to seeing my DD dance in the spring program (that's one of the things I miss the most about her going off to school -- I rarely get to see her dance anymore).

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34ballet...That is exactly what I am dreading, not being able to see DD perform often. Do you get out to any performances at all during the school year?


djeowmom, Thank you so much, there was nothing about our AZ visit/audition that DD didn't like. So, here is hoping for a good 4 year run!

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kiwiwdancer - Yes. But, because of our distance from U of A (we're in Texas), I was only able to attend the spring performance, Premium Blend, last year and plan to do the same this year. But, it has been an adjustment from getting to see her in at least 6 performances per year during high school to just 1 per year now.

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34ballet, We are from Chicago, so same situation.:( There is no live streaming, right? Do you purchase DVD's ? I know that isn't even close to being able to see live, but it is something.

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  • 1 month later...

I just returned from another GREAT performance at UofA. I wish I lived closer...I'd definitely be a season subscriber.



I can't say enough good things about this program. The performances are always top notch and the depth of talent in their dance program is very impressive.



I even got a chance to sit in on my daughter's ballet and modern classes. It felt kinda weird at first, but my DD assured me that they frequently have visitors observing. The one thing that impressed me the most (aside from my wonderful DD, of course) was that the dance professors seemed so hands-on and dedicated to providing in-depth instruction.


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  • 2 weeks later...

34ballet, So good to hear your comments about the performance. Thank you for your updates.

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34ballet, would you or your DD be able to comment on what type of offers this year's graduates from U of A received? Being a triple track program, we are curious to know specifically what kind of work they are being offered. Also, do you know how large the year's graduating class was? How many men and how many women? Thank you in advance for any information you might be able to provide! My DD is interested in auditioning for this program next year.

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Mackie, while we wait for 34ballet to reply, at the audition the whole faculty was on stage to talk to the prospective parents and dancers about the program. It was a very comprehensive informative session. they said they have/had dancers working at Ballet Arizona,Colorado Ballet, OBT, Paul Taylor Co, Cedar Lake, Complexions, Giordano, 2 contemp companies in San Fran , River North,Ballet Met, and they were naming names that we knew. they named some other classical ballet companies and contemporary ones that I didn't put to memory; as well as Hollywood, Music Videos, Commercials, Disney Cruise Lines and "The Barbie Show" the audience laughed and they said "Don't laugh the Barbie show pays extremely well".


We went to 6 college auditions and none of them( including the coveted IU) gave such a list of accomplishments of their dancers! One even said "Look your not going to be dancing with ABT or NYCB, maybe , just maybe a small regional ballet company if your lucky, but don't count on it". That one was off the list .

I feel like AZ has the connections and provides the proper training and skills to get a job, or at least we are hoping !

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kiwiwdancer, thank you so much for your reply! We attended the Jazz Showcase last fall and heard a similar list during the Q&A session. When I actually went to the rosters of a number of dance companies, I didn't find too many dancers listed who had a connection to U of A, though. I did see a strong connection to River North Dance Company in Chicago. This is why I am curious about the employment of their most recent graduates. Perhaps they are getting working with cruise lines and commercial work where one cannot access dance rosters as easily, etc. I am also very interested to see, in particular, how many recent female students have graduated from the program, and where, and what percentage of, their recent female graduates are gaining employment in the dance field.


Best wishes to your DD as she begins the program this fall; we have heard so many great things about the school!

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In my humble opinion, I think you can't beat UofA's training for providing dancers with the skills to become gainfully employed dancers. A key part of that is the lesson that you heard echoed in kiwidancer's story: that "work is work." UofA is proud to graduate so many classically trained commercial and theatrical dancers who make use of all of their diverse training wherever they go. But another factor your girls will need to soon grasp is the economics of auditioning. Tucson is not on the beaten path for most audition tours, so your girls will need to travel to get to auditions.


As you may know, the faculty's connection with River North and Giordano, along with the Jazz Showcase, brings representatives from those companies down to Tucson, which is why graduates have landed spots in those companies. Then, I know that Summer Lee Rhatigan, of the San Francisco Conservatory of Dance, always held annual auditions at UofA for her SIs, and that program, in turn, is well-connected with every contemporary company in San Francisco. Several cruise companies also include UofA in their audition tours, which is how my daughter got her first cruise contract right out of college. But sooner or later, all the graduates will need to work out how they'll get to where the work is. And since UofA is strong for recruiting dancers from all over the country, this is not an equal factor for calculating the percentages for this and that kind of work. If your hometown is within an easy commute to New York City, your female graduate is going to find work - period. Living near a regional ballet company is great, too.


I live in southeast Michigan. We've got zip in the way of a dance industry out here. There is nothing for my daughter to come back home to. So she had to go elsewhere. She dipped into her measly funds for two audition trips - to San Francisco and Chicago - during her senior year, but she'd tell you now that she doesn't feel that those were a good investment of money. (Things might be easier now with the ease of making audition videos to seek invitations to audition, but hers were open auditions.) After her 4th summer at SFCD, DD moved to New York and quickly landed a position with a small contemporary ballet company to workshop a new piece of choreography. Compensation was shared housing in the upstate town where the company was located, a shared car with gas, and $100 per week. When that short contract was done, my daughter accepted the standing offer with the cruise company after realizing that her chances of supporting herself in contemporary dance were slim to none. My daughter then opted to try new companies with each new contract, subletting in New York off of her savings between each contract. She feels she owes her continued success in finding work because she can now afford to be a "full-time auditioner." (Free room and board has its advantages.) She also credits her great training.


I wish I knew more of what her former classmates are doing, but I get many confused with her peers from SFCD. Both groups are doing very well. To hear her tell it, they ALL have glowing resumes worthy of envy. I mostly hear of the UofA grad who was in a tour of "Movin' Out" and now gets television gigs such as the Oscars show. I doubt anyone could come up with percentages, but I'd wager that UofA grads are well represented in touring productions. Oddly enough, DD does not know of fellow grads working on cruise ships.


That said, if anyone's DK is thinking of dancing on cruise ships, please feel free to PM me.


P.S. Your girls might want to consider getting some vocal training while they're at UofA.

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Pierrette, Thank you for your intelligent input. I always learn something from your and your DD's experience and your posts on BT.

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First of all, let me preface by stating that DD isn't really closely connected the seniors (could be one of the downsides of having such a large dept), and with finals and the spring performances DD seems to be consumed in her own little world, so she wasn't a lot of help when I asked her your questions, so don't quote me. She thinks there were 30-40 seniors and many of them have already secured dancing positions, although she can't remember where (see what I mean), and there are many that are still auditioning.


Pierette - I love your input and observations and I'll definitiely pass them along to DD. BTW...DD is really interested in a cruise job. At first, part me thought "Really, we're making all of these sacrifices for you to work on a cruise ship. That's not really what I had in mind" Then, I came around to UofA's way of thinking...It's a paying job with free room and board, so sounds good to me. Look for a PM from me in a year or so (as DD gets closer to her senior year).

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