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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Auditions: Europe fees, money, ATMs


mouse

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Hi!

My son is suppose to audition for the Staatballet Berlin in exactly a week. It will be his first "official" company audition. He's been approached with professional offers before, but never as a result of a "real" company audition.

 

I used this thread for inital information. The date and time was listed after following the links suggested. (Thanks to all who contributed!) My son and I went to the company's very nice website. The audition doesn't seem to be listed ANYWHERE on the website. A telephone was definitely needed.

 

Although I speak "broken German", I didn't trust this "skill" enough to actually make the international call. I had a German friend call. She confirmed the date and time. She was told to fax his resume. She said that we would and that we would also send an email to the company using the "info" address. Immediately, we faxed the information and sent the message. I wish we'd thought of the questions we're facing now, but we didn't. I wish my friend were in town before January 8, but she isn't.

 

We booked his airline ticket. We made his hotel reservation. All these things happened on December 20. We haven't heard a word in response. This might be quite normal. We don't know. Perhaps a returned email might have been sent if it weren't during the Christmas holiday? Who knows? The real question is this: HOW MUCH DOES A COMPANY AUDITION COST?

 

I have no idea how much money to send with him! The audition is on a Sunday. Banks won't be open. My son has traveled for dance to Europe and the Far East before. I'm sure he'd manage to find an ATM or figure out how to get a cash advance using a credit card at a US based hotel, but it would sure be nice to anticipate the funds before costly services fees were needed in order to cover the expenses!

 

Also, is there anything else he ought to know before leaving the US? Does anyone have any advice for him as he faces this opportunity?

Thanks!

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I would not do the cash advance from a credit card if I were you--the fees they charge for that are exhorbitant. I'm not sure how much a European company audition costs, but I doubt it's very much. I think the best thing to do would be to exchange his US currency at the airport when he arrives.

 

One thing to keep in mind if he ends up getting the job is that companies in Europe, unlike US companies, often pay dancers a per-performance fee in addition to their base pay. So even if your base pay is low, you can sometimes negotiate a high per-performance rate to make up for it.

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I guess I'm really out of the loop but I didn't think companies charged anything for auditions - at least not in the USA. Perhaps I am mistaken. :)

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Hi Mouse!

Congratulations to your son on his audition in Berlin.

 

I do not have any idea whether there is a fee for the audition, but I did want you to know that many US Bank Money Machine cards will work in European Money Machines. If your bank is on the "Cirrus" network (look on the back of the card and you will see what Network it is on), it will readily be accepted at most European money machines....it will produce Euros instead of dollars in Germany and your account will be charged the appropriate amount plus whatever fees your bank adds on. There are other banking networks that are accepted at European money machines so you might want to ask your bank about this. Your son will also be able to cash dollars into Euros at the airport when he arrives in Berlin and at other places in Berlin as well.

 

As for every day expenses in Europe, hotel, meals, etc, I have found that my particular credit card gives me a good exchange rate without many fees.....I just charge on it.

 

All the best to your son. Merde!

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I will see him there! (Actually, I'll be in the ladies class ) :) No worries, company auditions, especially huge open ones like this don't cost anything. The best thing is to send him with a debit card (and don't forget the PIN number) and there are ATMS all over Berlin. You can also send him "emergency" travellers cheques just in case, and tell him to change some dollars into euros at the airport. I usually use a Mastercard, but have an AMerican Express as well, and have travelled all over with no problems. Is the hotel paid for all ready? You would want him to have enough to cover that, of course, if it is not. Also, if he is flying in, consider how he will get from the airport....I don't know if there is a direct U-Bahn connection or not.... Anyway, just worry about how much he will need to be in Berlin however long he is there, the audition is free. Oh, and yes, it is fairly normal not to hear anything. Usually after you send your CV they will reply inviting you formally to attend, but sometimes they don't. And Germany does Christmas big, so you are right in considering that as a factor also. HTH!

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I recently travelled to Sweden and on the advice of folks here (and a Swedish friend), I did two things that made things a bit less "scary":

 

1) I called my credit card company and gave them a "heads up" that I would be travelling to Europe and thus, charges not usually seen on my card would be appearing. They said that was "very helpful" to them.

 

2) I checked with my cell phone carrier (Cingular) about European phone calls. My phone was less than two years old and was already compatible with whatever it needed to be for European phone calls. So, all I had to do was add a "European plan" for $5.99/mo (which was cancellable at anytime) to my plan and my phone calls were only $1.20/min back to the States. We cancelled the plan about a month after all the calls appeared on our bill. So, I think we paid two months for the European plan add-on. We were able to call in Europe to US-based cell phones, back to the States, and to European numbers without any problem.

 

But not all phones are already set for this feature and not all cell phone companies offer this economical option. My sister's company (Verizon) would have charged something in the hundreds of dollars for the plan and/or compatible phone upgrade.

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I am a recent convert to the ATM approach. I used to just carry stacks of US dollars.

 

Here's how I would proceed:

 

1. If you live in a reasonably large city, go to Amex or Thomas Cook or whatever and get enough euros to cover the train or taxi to his hotel. This costs the same or less than getting euros at the airport, and he won't have to fuss on arrival. Maybe Swanhilda can tell you about how much this would be. In Frankfurt, it's almost nothing--about 5 euros gets you into town.

 

(Word to the wise: if he expects to be returning to Europe, he should bring a few euros home for next time...)

 

2. Bring some US dollar cash for emergencies. It seems to be easier to change than TC.

 

3. Check with your bank about ATM stuff--in particular, make sure the PIN is the correct length to work worldwide (I've heard of people having trouble on this one.) Also check and see if there are any daily withdrawal limits and set/change the limit as appropriate.

 

4. Make sure he takes his audition gear + what's needed for one overnight in his carryon bag.

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Our son will be in Holland for an audition in mid-January. He will use his ATM card to get needed cash and a credit card for other purchases. I bought him a Rick Steves Guidebook for the area which contains all sorts of practical information about topics such as transportation and calling home - it makes me feel better that he is carrying a reference book.

 

One tip we learned from our traveling abroad is to make copies of the front page of your passport - one or two to stowe somewhere separate in your luggage; one to leave at home with someone. This helps speed the process of getting a new one should something happen to the original.

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Dear all, I'm posting from Germany at the moment, as I come here for Christmas & Sylvester (New Year) every year. It is a big holiday and we're only just getting back to normal. Things will go back to normal properly tomorrow (Tuesday) although there can be public holiday type closures of things at Epiphany (Drei Königen) on 5th January.

 

But please remember, it's actually quite civilised here in Europe! :cool2: Some might say, more so than... but I won't finish that thought :P

 

I do a fair few short trips to Germany, France, and the Netherlands from the UK each year. I simply travel with my normal bank's debit card, which feeds into both the Cirrus and the Maestro networks, and get cash in Euro at a cash machine (in US English: ATM, and in Deutsch: Geldautomat). I have an EU passport, so that's pretty straightforward, but even with a US passport, once you're in Schengen territory, even things like passports become less important.

 

You should be able to go to the web-site of whichever airport your son is flying into in Berlin, and find out the public transport options to the centre of the city. Public transport in Germany is both excellent and cheap in comparison with anything offered in the US, outside of NYC and DC, in my experience. Most German web-sites will offer you an English version - the national train line - Deutsche Bahn does. It's an excellent web site, giving you the platform numbers (Gleis Nummer) each train leaves from and any changes (umsteigen) you'll need to do.

 

Many Germans (particularly those under 40) understand basic English, and contrary to their reputation as rather uptight people, I find them relaxed and friendly (some of the best parties I've been to have been in various bits of Germany). Food and drink is very cheap by European standards. Check the Eurocheapo web site for ideas about cheap hotels which are still clean & safe, but remember, European hotels are different from US ones.

 

And the weather here at the moment is very mild - but then I'm in the Niederrhein area so rather a long way west of Berlin.

 

Aaah, Berlin - enjoy! Ein schönes Stadt.

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One tip I forgot that might be useful if your son finds himself without enough money in his account and with no credit card--banks (in the US anyway) don't ask for an ID when you deposit money, so when I lived in Switzerland, every month my parents would simply deposit cash (posts the same day) in my account and I could withdraw it at my local ATM/Bancomat. Some banks have a limit as to how much can be withdrawn using a debit card per transaction per day, so be sure to know what that limit is.

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Guest balletandsynchro

Mouse, please do check with your bank regarding the ATM pin. Two years ago for a family vacation in France, our ATM didn't work because of our PIN length. Luckily, we had brought traveler's cheques, "just in case". Your son doesn't need any additional stress when he's travelling and auditioning!

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Hi!

Thank you to everyone who contributed such helpful information. My son has euros already, has a little tour book and a map, and is eager to go. He once flew to Switzerland and wasn't met at the airport. He had enough sense (and cash) to figure out the train to Lausanne. Thankfully, he didn't call until everything was fine again. The money came in handy though. At the same time, I think it's rather silly to travel with so much cash. He'd heard there'd been some audition in Japan that once cost $200 in order to attend. I was floored. (Of course, this could just be one of those rumores overhead incorrectly!) Anyway, I thought he'd need less than that totally! Afterall, the hotel is paid and includes breakfast! He'll only be there for two days! Until we'd booked the flight, I never even thought about an audition fee. Thanks so much for putting my mind at rest. We'll looking into the credit card policies and pin numbers. These are great suggestions! Thanks!

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