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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Tiers in Residential Schools


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Clara76, is your list for current company members and are the numerals equal to the quantity of the current company members?

 

That is quite a bit of work!

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Momof3darlings, you're exactly right. It's not always possible to determine a dancer's exact training just from their bio. Plus, I know from my own daughter's experience that what the dancer submits as a bio does not always appear in the bio - it is sometimes changed by management before it's printed in the program, or on the website!

 

Clara76, that was quite a bit of work!

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I got the info directly off of their current dancers' bios. I hope I did it right!!! I'll go back in and check my numbers- brb!

 

Yep! I did it right (small miracle!) ABT has 91 company members and 12 Studio members for a total of 103. Check my math but I think there are 103 in that post.

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What Clara76's post cannot say is how long students studied in a particular school, how well trained the student was prior to attending the school, with which faculty members the students trained while attending a particular school, etc, etc. There are just too many unknowns. While I appreciate the very hard work that has been done, the report does not specify enough in my book. In the case of Harid, each student currently in ABT attended Harid for the three to four years of our program except one, who attended for two years, level 1 and level 2.

 

A school encompasses many aspects. No school can be the end all, be all for any student. Faculty will determine the production rate of a school, any school. The idea of a tier system in professional schools will change annually, if not monthly.

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The following is a list of companies for which former Kirov Academy/ Universal Ballet Academy students are currently dancing. The list was taken from the school web site and may not be exhaustive. Many of the companies listed have more than one former KAB/UBA students.

 

 

 

AMERICAN BALLET THEATRE

BALLET INTERNATIONALE

BALLET IOWA

BALLET MET

BOSTON BALLET

CINCINNATI BALLET

COLORADO BALLET

DUTCH NATIONAL BALLET

EUGENE BALLET

FT. WORTH/DALLAS BALLET

HOUSTON BALLET

HUNGARIAN NATIONAL BALLET

JEUNE BALLET DE FRANCE

LES GRANDS BALLETS CANADIENS

PACIFIC NORTHWEST BALLET

RICHMOND BALLET

THE ROYAL BALLET, LONDON

ROYAL SWEDISH BALLET

SACHISCHE STAATSOPER, DRESDEN

SAN FRANCISCO BALLET

SARATOSA BALLET

STAATSOPER, MUNICH

STUTTGART BALLET

SOUTHERN BALLET THEATRE

TULSA BALLET THEATRE

UNIVERSAL BALLET COMPANY

USA BALLET

VIENNA BALLET

 

 

 

I would add that making a list such as is proposed would be very very difficult. Most professional dancers have multiple schools listed on their resumes as well as private training which is usually never listed. It is then impossible to say how many school graduates could have gone professional but chose not to as opposed to how many actually did go professional vs how many would never make it into a company. Finally, ballet products can be used in many dance professions in addition to pure ballet companies.

 

This (residential school tiers) will be a very subjective listing at best in my opinion.

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The list will be very long for any of the professional schools successfully training ballet dancers. I am not sure this is the way to go but as long as the subject is being forged...take a look at the annual success rate of Harid Conservatory...http://www.harid.edu/alumni%20listing.htm

 

My Webpage

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And, that was just ABT folks.

 

Look around at other companies & you may find differing things, as each company has it's own set of things they are looking for.

 

The key to remember is that there is NOT one magical path that absolutely, 100% will end with your child having an exclusive contract with any ballet company, let alone ABT.

 

Harid, UBA, Walnut Hill, Nutmeg, etc., have all turned out professional dancers, as have most of the rest of us.

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Most of the major residencies will tell you what their average percentage is of seniors who move on to company contracts. It varies from year to year, but the major programs have enough years of data that they can give you the stats. Or, you can go to their websites, contact those who have dancers there who can give you a run down of dancers from the last 2-3 years and where they went, etc. This is information that is available (with a little research) and should be sought by anyone who is considering a program.

 

It seems that for those programs which could be called the 'top tier' they have a very high percentage of their seniors who go on to contracts, with the next largest percentage going to major college dance programs like Indiana, Juilliard, Butler, etc. All of the programs will have a handful of dancers, sometimes 1 or 2, sometimes more in some years, who quit dancing completely and choose other options, for a variety of reasons. But, by and large, they are training dancers for pro careers or the 'top tier' college programs (which also have a very high percentage of their grads who go on to pro contracts).

 

The proof really is in the pudding on this issue. We can argue all day about which program provides better training, better academics, more suitable housing, better supervision, etc. etc. But, if we are talking about which programs are considered at the 'top of the heap' it is always going to come down to whether or not the majority of their dancers are able to find employment in ballet companies. The rest of the attributes of what makes a residency or pre-pro a school of high esteem becomes very subjective and personal and really should be left to each family's consideration, rather than being 'weighted' by others as to its importance.

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Remember that any tabulation of a current list of any company's members is only a "flash picture" in a present moment of what the company and its members want to say about their schooling. Pursuing a line of inquiry along a line of companies, company members, and schools can be frustrating, as Mark Twain said, "There are three types of lies: Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics."

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I found this information while roaming the web the other day...from the website of the National Ballet School in Toronto. Note that there aren't any dates provided, so unless you know the names of the dancers it's difficult to determine if they graduated recently or quite some time ago. At any rate, an impressive listing:

 

 

http://www.nbs-enb.ca/pages/alumni/current.htm

 

I don't know where this school is considered to rate internationally, but I suspect it's in that upper-level range.

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Ultimately, there are not that many truly residential schools. There is a lot of info available from each school, from postings on these boards, and then from corresponding with students or parents who attend.

 

After that the student would do best to try to attend the one they seem most interested in for a summer SI, and visit any others if there is really the potential for a "choice."

 

Once the priorties of the family are considered (region, academics, supervison, etc. ) + the specifics of the dance program, I would doubt that any students would be deciding between more than three programs (and by this I don't have three specific ones in mind). Then there's cost and which program actually accepts the student.

 

The "tiers," bios, etc. become of more theoretical interest than practical.

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The "tiers," bios, etc. become of more theoretical interest than practical.

 

What I was trying to say, only better! :)

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Major Mel is right that statistics can be misleading. A list of where dancers from a given school have danced professionally is indeed misleading. For schools that have been around for awhile, it might have been years since they placed dancers at some of the companies they list. By the same token, going to the bios of pro dancers is also misleading. Dancers leave off training at various schools for various reasons. As dancers progress in their careers, they sometimes leave their training off their bios altogether and focus on their pro work.

 

If this is of vital interest, the key is to find out what has happened with the seniors in the last 5+ years from a given school. Some programs have this information readily available on their websites (at least one list their entire graduating class each year and where they went upon graduation), for others you will need to read posts on BT, ask parents who have dancers at the schools, etc. There are usually no more than 20-25 seniors each year at a residency program and most of the time the number of grads is far less. It is not that hard to find out what most of the ones from the previous year ended up doing and usually another year back, if you talk to a couple of parents with older dancers at that school. BT is a great resource to find parents who are willing to help you piece together the data you need to come to your own conclusions.

 

You can get the data to give you a pretty good idea of what is happening with dancers once they graduate from a school. Syr is right that there are not that many true residency programs in North America. Look at each one, get the data you need, visit the school, assess your dancer's needs, your family's priorities, etc.

 

If your purpose in trying to determine these stats is to separate programs into tiers, this is not that hard to do. It is likely that you will find that there are several schools that share very similar statistics and the 'tiers' become pretty obvious. But, once tiers are established, it will still come down to assessing those other intangibles to decide which is right for your dancer.

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whether or not the majority of their dancers are able to find employment in ballet companies.

 

This may be very key. Finding out residencies with whom a MAJORITY of their graduating class has been able to find employment is key.

vj

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:) I agree completely with the view that a parent/dancer should find out where the majority of the graduating class eventually found employment. And it may not be for a year or two later, as many of these students go on to one or two years of post-grad study. And, you may be pleasantly surprised at which "tier" is producing the dancers who DO get hired! Many times it is not only the "top tier" residencies.

 

And syr is correct is saying that there may only be 3 choices, AND, the school must ultimately accept that student - the dancer may think that this school may be the "best fit" for them, while the school thinks otherwise! Research is definitely required by all involved and an SI does not provide all the experience and information necessary to make an informed decision about year-round study. I cannot emphasize this point enough - you should go in person to meet with the school's staff during the full-time school year.

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