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syr

Auditions: Pros already employed

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Another aspect to consider is: Little Fish in a Big Pond... or... Big Fish in a Little Pond

 

Jobs in the Big Pond are hard to come by. These places usually have a nice/large school program associated with the company, and their first selections will usually come out of the school. Most Big Ponds are also AGMA/union companies, so their notification & hiring process is very similar. Those dancers, if let go, can then audition during the cattle call auditions for another Big Pond. In my opinion, once you have a job in a Big Pond, it is easier to move to another Big Pond - just through personal connections and a resume!

 

Little Pond Jobs are also hard to come by.... but there are more Little Ponds than there are Big Ponds. These companies are not regulated by AGMA, and each notification & hiring process is different, depending on the needs and size of the company. Little Ponds might not have schools, so those lower rank positions can be filled by anyone at any time.

 

If you are a Little Fish in a Little Pond, and you are auditioning for a Big Pond, your chances are lowered in getting that job. It is more likely that you will have to take a cattle call audition... and again... the dancers in the school are already slightly more favorable due to their immediate affiliation. I have had better luck getting jobs out of taking company class, than doing cattle calls, but as a Little Pond Dancer - that option was not available to me in the Big Ponds.

 

Big Fish in Little Ponds have a higher chance of getting a job with the Big Pond. Usually their reputation precedes them... And the Big Pond might be more accommodating to the audition process - i.e. allowed to take company class.

 

I also think that the "don't ask, don't tell" situation is fairly commonplace for dancers that are seeking to work elsewhere. Since the work environment can be so intimate, Dancers don't want to tell the Artistic Direction that they are looking for work elsewhere, and possibly upset them.... Because goodness knows, that Dancer might not get the job! So now, the AD doesn't want to renew the contract, and the Dancer has no new contract. Depending on the current contract, there might be allowances of days off...

 

The Dancer just needs to be wise about their approach to auditioning elsewhere - the Ballet World is small, and no one wants to burn bridges. Dancers should also remember to be professional in the work space, and not drag their peers into their need to find work elsewhere.... If the Dancer wants to work elsewhere, they should do it on their own time, politely, professionally, and with regard to everyone's reputation.

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swanchat
The Dancer just needs to be wise about their approach to auditioning elsewhere - the Ballet World is small, and no one wants to burn bridges. Dancers should also remember to be professional in the work space, and not drag their peers into their need to find work elsewhere.... If the Dancer wants to work elsewhere, they should do it on their own time, politely, professionally, and with regard to everyone's reputation.

 

Well stated! The big pond, little pond analogy is also excellent. It's interesting to me that so much time is spent training dancers and so little time spent teaching them how to manage their careers.

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queenie

Thank you everyone for your insight. I think this situation is much like the request in a cover letter for a job application where the job seeker asks to keep the application confidential. I think the most difficult aspect of this situation would be getting a recommendation from the AD of the regional company while still working there. I agree with swanchat that more time needs to be spent teaching dancers to manage their careers. Is there a handbook for that?

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lacetree

I’d like to ask, what is the etiquette for a pro dancer regarding auditioning if they are currently in a company where they are a soloist but they’d like to audition for a company where they would be corps? Do they state their soloist position on their resume? Or would that go against them? Or do they just mention the roles they danced?

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vrsfanatic

I would suggest mentioning both but also mention that a corps de ballet position would be accepted.

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lacetree

Thank you.

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