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Archived: 2005-2017 Company Audition Journeys


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Ed, you are a fabulous reporter! What are your post-dance career plans? You are a natural for journalism.

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Report on Royal Danish Ballet. Everyone arrives and waits in a reception area...then we are all taken up (many) stairs to a studio. You were required to send a CV and photos and they made an elimination based on them, and if you were invited to audition, you then responded that you were coming, so they had a list of names and you were called up and recieved your number. I am not good at estimating numbers...I would say there were around 50-60 people there...small for such a big company, and that includes men and women. The class was not split, we were all together and the studio was a bit cramped as it wasn't the biggest. Frank Anderson was very personable, and he went around and introduced himself and shook hands with each of us. Life was good...but after barre, there was an enormous cut---- it seemed that they let EVERYONE go!! (Me included). Obviously there were some people left, but some very lovely dancers were let go, which honestly surprised me a bit, seeing as they really did put a lot of effort into their pre-screening process. From what I could see, many of those kept appeared to be from the school, but not exclusively so. I would estimate they kept perhaps 15-20 (men and women) for the center, but again am not great with numbers. We weren't allowed to watch the rest, so my friend and I went and found a lovely patisserie down the street to console ourselves! :offtopic:

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I would say there were around 50-60 people there...small for such a big company, and that includes men and women
Actually, I would say that's pretty large since they'd already essentially made a cut via the pre-screening process. So you dancers that showed up and did barre had already survived a first cut.


Therefore, the cut they made after barre was basically the same as what other companies do after center. So you made it pretty far. :offtopic:


Sounds like they had very specific ideas about what they were looking for in a dancer. For dancers with strict budgets, that might be good. They don't have the expense of transportation and sometimes even hotels, etc. only to be cut for something that can be known just by the CV/photos.

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Swanilda -- I'm sorry for the disappointment you had with the RDB. Keep trying. We will keep our fingers crossed for you! :offtopic:

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This is how I heard it. You pay for the audition class, then you pay for the summer program, then you pay to be a trainee, then they might take you as an apprentice, then after two years, they might take you into the main company.


This is how he said it.


Ed, thanks much for that very detailed report. However, I must not be getting something...if the only way to get into the company is through the SI and traineeship and on up, why do they have company auditions at all? And what about dancers who are already employed in main companies? They wouldn't actually want them to be trainees, would they? Sorry if I'm just being dense :offtopic::blushing: ...

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On February 5th, I went to the Ballet Pacifica audition at their studio in Irvine. The facilities are pretty nice-- I believe they have five pretty good-sized studios, well lit with nice, sprung, marley floors. Only one women's bathroom/dressing room which got insane, because it was an absolute MADhouse in there. The place was packed to the gills. I believe a grand total of about 200 women, roughly 50 men, from what I saw. (Their audition class was later, so I'm not sure of that.) I lucked out and made it into the first audition class, which went through number 91. Amanda Mckerrow taught class, while John Gardner and Ethan Steifel walked around with notepads during barre. The studio was uncomfortably full, resulting in accidental whacking of a few poor girl's bottoms on the way up from assorted cambres. :blushing:

When turning in required documents ( Headshot, Resume, and Danceshot, btw), we were also required to sign and turn in a release form, as the audition process was being videotaped for a documentary that's in the works. Sadly, the three camera/audio men stood side by side about four feet in front of me during the vast majority of barre, and blocked my view of Ms. Mckerrow. I did see her foot fly above their heads now and again, in what I surmised to be developpes. :yes: The combinations at the barre were difficult but pretty standard, nothing too funky. After barre they cut about half the class, just reading their numbers and thanking them. Us remaining girls then put on pointe shoes for the center. Just for the record, the adagio was just plain mean to give to a bunch of nervous girls in pointe shoes. Releve fouette out of arabesque, landing in lunge preparation-- in pointe shoes? Quite an experience.

After every combination, and often after each side, Mr. Steifel would read another four or five numbers, and thank those girls. Class was fine, alot of pirouettes-- I got cut after petit allegro, at which point there were probably about twenty girls left. I did have an opportunity to speak with two of the women that were kept and spoken too, and apparently about 8 women were spoken with, a few more men, and were told that nothing could be promised yet because of the NY audition or other factors, but that they had a good chance of being hired. An important and notable fact is that both of these women are established professionals at regional companys, with great resumes-- Pacifica is really picking from the cream of the crop, this is going to be such an exciting new company.



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Guest balletandsynchro


Did you happen to know/notice if any of those kept to the end were from the Ballet Pacifica school? This is something that I am wondering - if those who train at the school have the background needed for the company. I do know that there are several girls from the top level at the school who auditioned.

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I think its funny how companies do auditions before the season is even over, and before they give contracts to current dancers. A lot of the directors I have spoken with these days are saying not to even bother at the cattle calls and to call back in May when they actually KNOW what they will be needing. This of course, would be for an already established professional dancer...trainees and apprentices should definitely do the cattle calls.

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If you are under 21 they want you to go through their program. They do take working professionals directly into the company.

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Oh, OK, Ed. Thanks for clarifying - I thought that I must have been missing something there :thumbsup: ...

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Just a few quick notes on the auditions my son has recently attended.

There were more than 120 people at the Cincinnati Ballet Audition last Sunday (2/12) - 17 men the rest were women! They packed everyone into one big studio and did not make any cuts. This made center very difficult as groups had to wait a long time between each combinatation. At the end they kept about 10 girls and 2 men and had them do a few more combinations. They were told that there might be room for a trainee and an apprentice but they had to wait until the contracts came in (a common theme).


The next morning my son attended an open company class for Louisville Ballet. I was very surprised to see 50 + people at the class because it is a small company- although since then I have heard the director is very nice to work for. I think there were 7 men the rest women. This was a regular ballet class which my son enjoyed much more than the previous days audition. I think the director only spoke to one person after the class.


My son has also taken several other company classes and found he enjoys these more than the big auditions because the pace is more measured. He particularly enjoyed his class at Joffrey Ballet and found the dancers there to be very welcoming.


He has seen people he knows at every audition, both as fellow auditioners or company members. At this point you really feel the warmth of the extended ballet family. Plus many people have been helping him along the way - it seems to take a village to launch a ballet dancer!


On to more auditions this week....

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That's certainly true about the extended ballet family. Recently, my daughter went into NYC with a friend who was auditioning for Colorado Ballet. Mine went simply because she wanted to see her ballet friends. Even though she didn't know exactly who would be there, she still knew there was bound to be a bunch of them. So, rather than auditioning, she had a nice visit with dancers she doesn't see much of. :)

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Ed... I have a question about your BA audition in Chicago....


I heard a rumor that Mr. Mills said that they were expanding the company from 20 (well 19, actually...) to 24 dancers next season... I figured since you were at the audition you could help me out.


For anyone, about Ballet Austin in general...


I've heard alot of mixed feelings about the trainee program at BA. But honestly, this situation is not unique to Ballet Austin. The fact is that it is HARD to get a job these days, and even harder if you're female. You have to have to HAVE to put in your time somewhere. I know it sucks, but generally that's just the way it is. I did not personally go through the trainee/apprentice program at BA, I put in my time elsewhere, so I'm sure that gives me a different opinion. But I have close friends who have gone through the program at BA, so I have their account of it. I think it's a different situation for everyone, some of the dancers I know really thrived in it.


The good news is that paying your dues can really pay off. Ed was saying how BA has hired 6 dancers from BAII, and that they're young. Meaning that they ARE hiring from Apprentice/Trainee positions. Last year they hired a girl who had been an apprentice for 2 years, the year before that a boy & a girl, the boy had been an apprentice for 2 years, the girl a trainee and then an apprentice for only one year, the year before that, a girl who had been an apprentice for two years, and so on.....


Merde to everyone on the audition circuit, it's rough!

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Yes, Mr. Mills said they would be going up to 24 dancers. Two new men two new women. He said new contracts start at $500/wk.

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