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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Archived: 2005-2017 Company Audition Journeys


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thedancingj

premaballerina, I am graduating from college this year and going into a career in dance, and I actually agree with just about all of your points. :devil: If I had been "company ready" at the end of high school, then I might have like to go directly into an apprenticeship, but I wasn't. So I went to college, got a great education, rounded myself out, and continued to catch up on my dance training before apprenticing with a company. And actually, I joined as the oldest apprentice (age 20, old for dance but a baby for college) with two other girls who were pretty much just out of high school (age 18 and 19), and I NEVER imagined that I'd have any higher status than them. (Although if I had gone to college strictly for ballet, that might have been a little different.)

 

The only thing I don't necessarily agree with is the idea that college girls have a disadvantage because they are older. I would just say that status-wise, they are equivalent to the high school girls, and the DIFFERENCE is age. Age can be an advantage OR disadvantage depending on how you look at it - on one hand, it may mean a shorter career. On the other hand, it may mean that you are more mature and better able to make the most of your career. Totally depends on the individual, as well as the company environment. (Some places are more welcoming to older dancers than others.)

 

Hmm, just noticed this is going a bit off topic, so I'll cut myself off here. :shhh:

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Ed McPherson

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of course. The Ballet Arizona, Ballet West, and Dance Kelidescope are full corps. Richmond is apprentice (they do a decent deal, free housing at $140/wk that isnt taxable for food etc) the Ballet Nouveau Eugene/Idaho Ballet are both paid per performance as I was told.

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If anyone here knows of a single female dancer who gets hired into corps straight out of an academy...I'm sure it would be interesting to hear.

I know of 4. A friend of my daughter's, who left our home studio to study for a few years at the Kirov Academy of Ballet was invited by Oleg Vinogradov into the corps de ballet of Universal Ballet. Another friend of my daughter's was hired into the corps de ballet of the English National Ballet after graduating from the National Ballet School of Canada and spending one year at the ENB's "transition" program where they got to know her. Not exactly direct, but close enough, in my opinion. My own daughter was hired straight out of school into the corps de ballet of the Estonian National Ballet. Her friend, who left our home studio for 2 years to attend and graduate from the Bolshoi Academy, was hired by Eldar Aliev into the corps de ballet of Ballet Internationale, which folded 3 months later. She has since been offered a contract for this coming fall by Karen Kain of the National Ballet of Canada.

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vrsfanatic

There are quited a few female students, straight out of high school, who enter into corps level positions. However it is becoming more difficult as the job market tightens and funding dries up. This year is a very bad year for hiring. This is not the first time this has happened and unfortunately, it will not be the last.

 

Many companies are now taking very young females, prior to graduation, to work with them for a year. Companies are hiring dancers who are the right fit emotionally as well as physically. One way to learn about the emotional stability of a dancer is to hire them at an entry level position, at a younger age and see where it goes. Companies try to mold the young dancers. Sometimes it is a good fit and other times it is not, as with many areas of life!

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Momof3darlings

I know I'm one of the naive ones around here. However, I assumed that my 17 year old would be expected to "rise up" in her maturity very quickly as an apprentice. Instead of the scenario Ed described of 21 year olds being treated like teens. I do understand Ed's point and it is the reason many of those high school students who teetered between college and apprentice/trainee contracts jumped on the contracts. It's the "where do you see yourself in 5 years" training we all get throughout life. For many, they see themselves in corp (hopefully higher) in 5 years or less or if not then done with dance as a main focus and into something where the ability to pay one's bills and shop til you drop is allowed.

 

You only have to read company websites to see the number of college grads who have had to accept that the "traditional" way into a company is now as an unpaid or barely paid apprentice/trainee. Those who are finding corp jobs are doubly blessed and beating even higher odds than they were years ago. I hope they all know that. However, I can't help but feel a little sorry for that 21 year old in this day and time with a college degree who doesn't see how this ballet thing has changed over the last 3 years. If the colleges are not educating their dancers to these facts they are missing a key element in that education. I'm sure it would be one of those "unspoken" things but sad if that is the case.

 

vrs has stated things very well once again. "This is a very bad year for hiring". Those with jobs should be thankful whether graduates or teens. Thankful indeed.

 

Marga-were all of those corp contracts this year? That would be pretty amazing.

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vrsfanatic
vrs has stated things very well once again. This is a very bad year for hiring. Those with jobs should be thankful whether graduates or teens. Thankful indeed.

 

Thank very much Momof3darlings for your kindness. May I also add, those of us who are employed in the ballet world, in any capacity are truly fortunate. We all need to hold on until hopefully the wave rises again. :clapping:

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premaballrina

I would like to know which company is giving out corp contracts to recent HS grads besides NYCB.

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I know of 3 American trained dancers who have been offered corps contracts at European companies. 2 this year and 1 from last. The dancer from last year also had a year of college under her belt. The two from this year are just graduating from H.S. Just thought I'd add that to the mix. It seems a little different in Europe!

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balletbooster

Oops! ddm3 just reminded me that I do know of corp contracts offered to HS students this year (in Europe). Female dancers too! So, there are some bright spots. But, if you want to stay closer to home, the news is not quite so cheery for most.

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premaballrina

So Euro is the way to go, Eh? I'm curious to hear if anyone knows of a HS grad hired into an "American" company this year.

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Marga-were all of those corp contracts this year? That would be pretty amazing.
One was in 2000, 2 were in 2003, one in 2005 (BI) and same dancer, 2006. I answered the question as it was posed, and it didn't make reference to "this year".
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balletgirl22sk

My daughter got a trainee position right after high school. She performed a huge amount and was kept for a 2nd year. Most trainees were let go after a year. My dd still performed a lot her 2nd year and felt she improved a great deal. The AD hired only one trainee this year up to an apprentice, so my daughter has to go somewhere else. It seems to be common practice for companies to get young dancers to work for free, use them one or 2 years, and then let them go. My dd was lucky in that she got to perform a lot both years. Others kids were barely used at all. She also had to take a pt job to make ends meet even though we paid her rent. She wanted to feel a little independent! Hopefully, she will be hired at this new company as a 2nd co. member, but even though she took 2 days of the 2nd co. classes this winter, she has to go to the summer program before they will let her know.

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I've been reading this thread with great interest. There seems to be a great variety of experience in terms of hiring and what type of job a dancer gets. Please don't get me wrong, I do believe that all jobs are wonderful in that they provide that much needed experience. I commend any student who is able to move to a next level. HOWEVER, does anyone else wince when they hear of a company using dancers for two years unpaid and then letting them go. Granted they have gained performing and other company type experience which lampwick has elaborated on well. But I still really question the ethics of unpaid traineeships for extended time periods with no indication of permanent interest. Is this right??? :o

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The program that offered dd a trainee/apprentice position was very up front about it possibly NOT leading to a second company position after two years. They did say that it was an opportunity to continue dancing and becoming more versatile style wise, thus making the dancer more attractive to different companies. Dancers in the program are encouraged to audition often and everywhere. So, I guess to keep dancing it is a good way to go.

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balletgirl22sk

Half of me feels it is great experience, the other half feels like they are using the dancers as unpaid labor. My dd did get pointe shoes throughout the season. It is very hard to leave after 2 years-she is very attatched to the company, city, and her corps member boyfriend! She is very stressed now not knowing for sure where she'll be in the fall and she is 19 going on 20 and never wanted to go to college.

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