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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Archived: 2005-2017 Company Audition Journeys


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I understand the concept of covering "real" fee's for audtions ...


I guess I'm still too thick-headed to even understand this!


I would consider the company's auditioners' fees to be their own business expenses. If they can't afford to go on a tour to find talent, then the talent would have to come to them. But to insist that a potential employee pay the potential employer's expenses for holding an interview to fill a job the employer needs filled . . . :wub: In other professions, the potential employer often pays (or used to :P ) the potential employee's expenses to come for the interview! (Shoot, even the colleges do that for athletic recruits).


Especially heinous to have hordes of financially strapped dancers come from all over the country (and then some) to an audition only to be cut on the basis of a single solitary tendu . . . . Seems to me a bit more cogent "audition criteria" could have been provided for that one as a simple courtesy to spare someone else's hard earned nickels.

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What I find ridiculous in this is the fact that generally when you interview, your costs are absorbed by a paycheck should you get the job. Even many interviews are absorbed into the paycheck fairly easily. However, for a dancer, the cost of flying all over to attend auditions plus now paying to audition can easily add up to more than they will make in a year if they end up at a smaller company.


Now just to put you guys in perspective here. Last year, DD got a couple of company invites from videos where a fee was charged to view the video.($30) Then the letter or email requesting her to come was "please bring with you a headshot, resume and $20 for company class". So 2 headshots, 2 resumes and $50 later, an audition was held.

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Absolutely agree on all points dancemaven...don't even get me started on the cuts after tendu's etc...

how about the concept of open/honesty...we need m/f of 5'6 - 5'8 with extremely thin bodies...that way the majority doesnt waste said time and money...nor deal with the humiliation of being cut after 5 mins of a class...

how many of us would put up with paying 12$ to see a movie only to be told times up after 5 mins???

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If a company charges a fee to take its audition, then all auditionees should be able to finish the audition. Then, at least they've "paid" for a class if they're not asked to join the company. At the Alberta Ballet audition, a friend of my DD's was cut after the barre, along with 4 others. Everyone else was allowed to finish the audition, which was a long and difficult one -- perhaps "worthy" of the $20 fee, as classes go. For the starving artist-dancer, to take his $20 and then make him leave after barre is more than an insult, it's robbery!

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Good point, Marga. So, I think my mythical dancer should next say, "Is this payment for a class, or a charitable contribution to the company? Could I have a receipt, please, showing exactly what this payment is?"


Still :thumbsup:

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I wonder what would happen if a dancer announced, "That's absurd! I am not going to pay you to interview me for a job you are trying to fill. If you want the chance to evaluate me, you'll let me in. Otherwise, I'll assume you are just trying to make some money off of me, and we needn't waste each other's time. Good day, sir/ma'am."


Oh Treefrog...you have no idea how close I and some of my fellow auditioning dancers are to saying just that! :thumbsup:



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Actually at the Washington Ballet audition, an AGMA member refused (rather pointedly) to pay the audition fee as she said they did not have to pay, and she was not charged.

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I believe that the concept of charging a fee and making instant cuts is obsene.


I auditioned for Suzanne Farrell, which was above my level. I paid a fee, but got a entire 2 hour long audition (with feedback and corrections I still remember and apply to this day). No cuts. an expensive master class, but worth it, for my circumstances and means at the time.


Most companies would want to see a dancer for a week before making a decision, anyway, I would think :blink:


I totally don't "get" the open audition process :thumbsup: I guess some of the dancers I know have gotten jobs this way, though. So it's definitely not bad to do as many as you can within your means. Especially if you have a resume with experience. Doubly so if you're a guy who's good :thumbsup:

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And then they stopped accepting checks after a certain amount of people.

And why do you think that they started accepting checks, and them stopped, and made others get to an ATM machine? At first I was thinking about travel expenses, and needing "cash now", but this was at home!

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If I recall correctly, if one is an AGMA member, I don't believe a union company can charge you. Or at least, it had always been a policy not to charge an AGMA member, if not a rule.


Can someone here verify if my memory has any basis in fact? :wacko:


Dancemaven, I am 150% with you on the issue of being charged for an audition. Three years ago, when my daughter auditioned for companies, there was no fee at any of the auditions. I remember some of the places she auditioned for are companies that have been named in this thread as charging fees. Three years ago, they didn't.


It's a racket. :( The truth is, most of the companies are only "hiring" (under the circumstances I think the word really oughtn't to be used at all) non-paying dancers (trainees, sometimes apprentices) most of the time. So I guess those auditions can be considered as the equivalent of an SI audition, except that it's for one season instead of a few weeks in the summer. Since tradition is that one pays for an SI audition, why not the same thing for a non-paying company audition? (Please notice the sarcasm dripping from my words). :firedevil:


But really, truly, the sad reality is that companies are hurting terribly. They have found a way to generate revenue and they are using auditioners to do so. Plain and simple. Finances at most ballet companies are a bit precarious, shall we say, with donations down, attendance at performances down, so the company has to figure out some way to make some more income.


I just wish they'd do it honestly, not underhandedly. "We are true sorry that due to the sad state of affairs in the world of dance, we must charge for this company auditon."


I'm going to dream along with Treefrog :shrug: .

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Ok, I don't agree that fees should be charged. I really don't, and certainly don't think they should charge when they don't advertise. I also believe that a fee should equal a full class or give the fee back with the headshots when you leave. But I will be devil's advocate to the situation from a different perspective since this is also how many music auditions are handled that I've been around also. It may not be good business practice, but it is done.


I have a feeling that a decision to stop taking checks was made based on how to pay that musician who played for class who may or may not have been on the weekly staff and was expecting to get paid that day. It is the starving musician side of that coin. The dance people in the equation could make a decision to accept checks knowing that Monday morning they would be back at work standing at the bookkeepers desk to get paid. A weekend musician might not be back for a couple of weeks. That and if checks were deposited into the company bank, then their pay would be taxed. If paid in cash, it should still be taxed but let's be real......


I still don't think it's right to charge and then cut. But, there are many sides to this that we don't really care about as our concern is the dancer who is now paying to audition and we want to stand up for them because they are ours and they deserve it. However in the world of getting a dance job. They really are on their own.

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It is the starving musician side of that coin.

Geez, is anyone eating these days?? :shrug:

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Paying cash, interesting, I would ask for receipt.(who keeping company records) Can these expenses be written off as a tax benefit, looking for work. And what exactly are you being charged for? Is it considered goods received, donation, or application fee? The local government charges application test fees too for certain jobs in public service.

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Victoria Leigh

The musicians who play for Sunday auditions, even if they are regular employees at the school, expect to be paid in cash for extra work like auditions. The reasons were stated above by Momof3. On the audition tour for SI's we have always paid the musician in cash. Their rate varies considerably, but some of them make very good money per hour.

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But this was a home venue, most likely with a home musician for whom they probably knew ahead of time what the fee would be, and NO mention of an audition fee on the website.


First there is the ethics of collecting the audition fee, then the ethics of the cash under the table.

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