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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Offers: Listing Deciding Factors


Momof3darlings

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Now that offers are beginning to be made (whether Trainee with SI requirement, company or Apprentice, college). What things are on the measuring stick you will use to determine which offer you'll take should you get more than one? What questions will you ask yourself, the company, your parents?

vj

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hmmm....well, for company positions, i take into consideration the following:

1. pay/position (no dancer wants to have to work a second job to survive)

2. what the city of the company is like (nightlife, living expense, taxes, etc.)

3. company rep (would you be happy doing what they are doing)

4. how long you can see yourself staying there

5. personality of the artistic director (someone you can get along with, or make yourself get along with)

6. class dynamics (is class a technical improvement/advancement class, or just a warm-up)

 

just some things to think about, granted, it depends on where you are with your career.....good luck!!!

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For the purposes of this thread, let's assume that we are talking about dancers who are just finishing high school and looking at a first contract or going on to a college dance program... Several of our BT kids are wrestling with choices between some of the top college programs, trainee offers, apprenticeships, etc. It is great to have such choices, but they can be rather bewildering. :)

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ok, well, then out of high school, deciding between several apprentice/trainee offers, my parents and i took into consideration the following:

 

1. distance from home (depends on how self-sufficient you/your parents fell you can be)

2. paid position or not (usually not, so parents have to pay for an apartment, grocery stipend, or you have to get a job. some places will let the apprentices out early to go to work if they are not paid)

3. how long you can see yourself staying there (a place to grow and develop, or just a stepping stone for something else)

4. schedule (will you be dancing a lot or mostly standing around understudying- very important, but smaller places will usually have more opportunities for apprentices and trainees. also, how often do you get to take company class-everyday or only sometimes. you can learn so much just from being around professionals)

5. is this a place that would eventually offer you a contract (you don't want to go somewhere where you are totally different from the company, i.e., you are very tall/short compared to the others, body type is different, etc.)

 

just some things off the top of my head, from what i can remember....

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Survival is the first step. Can you eat, pay rent, stay healthy, etc....

Taking risks in life can usually work out, if you have a good head on your shoulders.

 

It's important in my opinion to go to a place which will help you grow. There may be some sitting around and feeling useless for a while in any company as an apprentice/trainee. But if you've seen evidence that the dancers coming out of, or still involved with ANY given establishment, are advancing and improving...it's a good sign.

 

Do research and talk to as many people as possible.

 

I wanted to dance with the particular company I'm with because I saw a performance, and saw a particular quality that I *knew* I needed to work on. And I was moved by the choreography and respect the philosophy of the artistic director. I knew some dancers who have come out of the place and saw what they have accomplished.

 

Familiarize yourself with the company and see thier shows. Is it work you'd be proud to dance at some point? If you like the choreography, you'll work harder when you're actually in the company. In professional dance, there's a lot of time when you need to rehearse yourself and invest yourself in what you're doing. It's 100% easier when you actually LIKE what you're doing.

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  • 3 years later...

bumping up as a good read. I hope some dancers/parents currently in the process will add what they used as decision factors.

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Try to find out what you know about the culture of the company, how injuries are handled and responded too, what the weight standards and expectations are, how casting is done (ie, if you are third cast are you likely to dance or not, in an unranked company, do the same people still do everything-- do you mind that....). Location is important, can you afford to live there? Do you need a car? Do you have one? Do you drive well (I didn't coming out of school and this was a big issue for me moving to a city where a car was essential). How many performances are there? How long is the season?

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I'll chime in. We will be considering:

  1. Daughter's gut feel based on experience at the audition, any other experiences she had with faculty and/or input she's received from others.
  2. Quality of training.
  3. If the company's rep feels like a fit for her strengths.
  4. Opportunities for performance.
  5. Finances: What will it cost to be there. Living expenses compared to potential income. We don't think she'll accept an offer that would require her to pay for training.

She also cares whether they would ultimately hire her into the company, but understands a lot of people are making lateral moves or moving from one 2nd company to employment somewhere else isn't impossible. She wants this move from her current school to the next thing to feel like a step up.

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I agree with mom1 (ok, with a name like that, why wouldn't I?? B) ), and would add that the offers of "possible 2nd company, SI attendance required" are particularly challenging, especially when summer commitments have already been made elsewhere. Some companies out there are really capitalizing on the state of the job market it seems by imposing this requirement.

 

Sigh.

 

For our family, distance to home hasn't been such a huge factor, but as dd and her older sister get older they seem to be preferring to land closer to home, or at least ... in the home country.

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I am so confused right now about how the timing works for decision making. So far I have received offers for summer with potential for apprentice at one and second company at the other. Im leaning towards the one with the second company. (lets say company a) But there are still auditions coming up that I will attend including an invite to company class based on a video. Hypothetically, of course, what if I were to receive a "real" offer from an upcoming audition to join company b? Is it possible to commit to company b for safety and then attend the summer program of company a? (I know this sounds pretty horrible) What happens then if I get an offer from company a, can I somehow cancel my contract with company b? How does everyone else deal with this?

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Honestly, you're going to receive responses that will tell you different things, but -- unless they are paying you and there is money on the table, you can pretty much do what you want. I wish companies that "hire" unpaid dancers would realize that a dancer who gets a better offer should be free to take it-- and I think in the end most would understand and wish you well. At least that's what I'd like to think. I did that once, a long time ago, I backed out from a very low paid apprenticeship for a company position that paid slightly better and had more performances and (for me) a better rep. It look one uncomfortable phone call, but the director was extremely gracious about it and said I was making a wise decision. She also said to let her know how I was doing and that I was welcome to contact her again if I was looking for a position at another time. So don't consider it a bridge burned as long as you handle it well.

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