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Archived: 2005-2017 Company Audition Journeys


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I wanted to add a couple of things on this thread. Kdintx, you mentioned that your daughter attended last summer & trainees were chosen. Can you ask your daughter to make a fair minded comparison of herself to those dancers? I know we are always stressing that comparing is a "no-no", but I think that our dancers have to do this when looking for positions, because otherwise they may be totally barking up the wrong tree.


Also... have you considered having your daughter ask if the $250 deposit can be used to attend a portion of the program if a firmer offer comes along later in the season?


I agree with Dancemaven & gcwhitewater about the dancer being the communicator, although... in my daughters year as a trainee I have had to have some minimal contact with the school's office because even though my daughter is of legal age, my husband and I are supporting her financially. So to set up systems to pay her expenses, I have emailed the office myself.


I share everyone's angst! My girl is a first year trainee this year and although one second year trainee in her group has received a contract from their company... the rest are still hanging on the line. The peacefulness that DD (and I) felt a few months ago regarding auditions has completely evaporated. As we always say... "You don't know what you don't know!" The difficulties of auditioning are COMPOUNDED when you are rehearsing and performing all through audition season, hoping to be one of the lucky ones in your own program, but you know the odds are slim & every outside audition you come across conflicts with a performance or a major rehearsal, so you have to rely on a video, most of which doesn't even show what you are capable of because it's from last year because you have had no time or studio space to record something new. Sorry for the run-on sentence, but the inability to breath while reading it seems appropriate. :ermm:

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Two things stick out to me to spend some time with further consideration:


1st email that she received stated that she had been invited to attend the summer intensive where she would be considered for a trainee/apprentice if she attended the entire program


You stated this was her dream company, so does this dream company typically hire from it's Trainee program to move up to Apprentice and then further? Or do they equally take people "from outside" also? If they generally promote through the ranks of SI/Trainee/Apprentice then simply she may have to take a chance in order to have a chance. Easier said than done I know. And if there are other solid offers you then have to weigh out taking one and losing this chance. Easier said than done, yes I know.


2nd email that dd recieved said was thanking her for auditioning and letting her know that all positions have been filled.


Given the "interest" dancer got this also, I'd think it was a form letter sent to everyone, but you definitely won't know until you ask. So have her ask. Can't hurt!


I agree with gcwhitewater: Many, many a parent doesn't understand how truly separate some Trainee/Apprentice programs are from the company. The ADs don't have as much input as you think. Many times, it's simply that those in the school know the ADs preferences and know what type of dancer to admit into the program so you end up feeling the AD is admitting them. But it's just the staff doing their job. And if they've done their job correctly then this ends up with dancers in those programs who are close fits for the desires of the company.

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Alot of great points have been made. I consider myself as a very informed dance mom and feel very confident about was is going on in the dance world. I read alot of information on this website as well as looking on company websites. I see the history of which companies promote from their lower ranks (trainees, apprentices & 2nd company). Great advice that I got from ballet alert. As for the question about whether this company hires from its trainees and apprentices, the answer would be definately yes for this company. Last summer my daughter attended the summer intensive for this company. Although she was not offered a trainee contract and two other girls did, I believe my daughter would have to say that she was equally as talented as they were. It was a very known fact that my daughter would be returning back to college to finish her last year and recieve her degree in Ballet Performance. She attended the summer intensive for the purpose of summer training and getting herself known by this company. In fact, in the final show at the end of the summer intensive she was one of three girls selected to perform a variation. The other two girls were the two that were offered trainee contracts. I was able to do a comparision of the 3 dancers and in my opinion they were of equal value. (This was just a mom's opinion, so therefore it doesn't really count.) The trainee contracts were handed out either the same day or next day after the artistic director taught the ballet tech class. This is why I feel strongly that the AD has a role in who is hired. I'm sure the other staff members supply input.


This is her dream company and she is willing to start at the bottom in hopes of working her way up, because of the history of promoting their trainees.

DD does plan to contact the company for clarification and hopefully she will get a good response back. We may be putting down a deposit for the summer intensive depending on what information she gets back from them. I'm saying my prayers for something good. This company is close to home and boy would I love having her so close. She does still have several auditions scheduled for this month with some of them being company classes. She will definately weigh her options if she has multiple possibilities. That would not be a bad thing to have choices to choose from.

I really appreciate all the many points that were brought up and will discuss with dd as well. I feel very confident that my dd will know which companies would be a good fit for her. She now has to finish auditions and wait like everyone else to see what happens. Thanks for all the good advice and hopefully soon I can post on the "got a contract in hand" section of this website.

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I consider myself as a very informed dance mom and feel very confident about was is going on in the dance world.


Well, that's the first time in the history of ballet parenting, especially ballet parenting at the Company Auditions stage that I've ever heard that stated. I wish more people felt as confident as you. :wub:

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"Mom of3 Darlings", I don't know if your post is making fun of me or what. As I may feel confident as to what is out there in the dance world, I surely didn't mean that I am a know it all. I was responding to whether I knew if the company promoted from its own ranks or does it look elsewhere and that is why I made the comment. Maybe I should have worded it differently.

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Be confident! And hopeful! That is the only way to go into auditions. They are definitely a beating, so stay positive. Doing your homework and your dancer doing their's and both of y'all keeping a positive outlook is about the only control you have in this process. Best of luck!!!

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I was not intending to offend you. And certainly am sorry if you were. However, I simply have never heard a dance parent at this stage of the game feel confident about anything. That is what I was responding to. This is the stage of the game where even those who have prior been very confident about YAGP, SI selection, even SI scholarships, company fit, college auditions, even college suitability, company average height, etc. come to the point that they realize for all the research in the world, they are shaken to the core.


If that were not the case, then parents at this stage would have no questions right? But in reality, it is at this stage when I find that parents have the most unanswered questions because even if you do know how a company does things, they will do something like send out two different emails to the same person that makes you go hmmmm. Or they will call people up front at the end of an audition to tell them they are desired, but send out an email that says no positions are available.


The very best of luck to you in your journey.


And as they say in the TV world: Now back to our regularly scheduled discussion.

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I was/am (depending on the stability of dd's contract situation) the epitome of a parent who can be shaken to the core when the ups and downs of audition season hit. The only thing that is a certainty is uncertainty when your dk is auditioning. Then consider that this is their first job hunt and as much as we want to help, this is their career and they need to be in charge of the audition process. It's enough to tear your hair out! :speechless:


All of our research here can help our dks ask the right questions, consider the positives and negatives of any possible situation, help them to know they aren't alone but it can't control how many or what type of jobs are available, what any given AD or director of a "transition" type job (2nd company, etc) is looking for, nor can it control rude behavior of those along the audition trail (AD's, fellow auditioners). This is where that thick skin comes in handy. It also helps to know that there is not just one company or one route to becoming a professional dancer. The job may not be in the "dream company," it may not be in one of the large ballet companies, it may be far away from home. Be open to different situations, locations and support your dk to do the same!


It helps to take one year at a time. You never know what will happen. Right now, I know of 4 of dd's classmates who have been dancing for 2 years as professionals who are on the audition trail. 3 were in a junior company, the AD changed and instead of transitioning into the company, they are auditioning. The other has been on production contracts for 2 years dancing with the same company. The AD changed and this dk is auditioning too. Job stability is not a hallmark of a dancing career. DD's company is facing budget cuts and still doesn't know the number of contracts available for next year. Instead of worrying, accept this and develop creative approaches.


The pressure on a first time auditioning student is immense. It's also really hard on us parents. One of my less stellar moments found me asking my dd what was wrong with her. Not kidding. I still feel bad to this day. Try not to do this. It's not helpful! If my dd hadn't known that we have believed that she would do whatever she sets her mind to do all along, my questioning could have undermined her confidence. Instead, we just had a good old mother daughter fight, hugged and moved on. She knows I'm her biggest fan, thankfully!


Good luck to all those who are auditioning and sending wishes for peace and hope to all of us embattled ballet parents! :flowers: :flowers: :flowers:

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Thanks so much for your post. These past few weeks have been extremely difficult, the nightly phone call with my DD has been reduced to small talk trying to find topics to discuss that are anything but what is happening with auditions. The painful topic of "have you heard anything yet" is difficult to avoid. I admire these kids so much for having to live this day in day out, just being here on the sidelines and feeling helpless is bad enough. I just keep telling myself, soon we will have answers and this will all be done (at least for now). I hope the best for everyone out there!!!

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It's really encouraging that the AD is involved in the decision making. So often throughout the years, with altogether too many companies, it's appeared that the AD doesn't get much involved with the trainee/apprentice level's hirings. Since human contact is SO influential in decision-making, it makes it much harder for those dancers to impress the AD even if the ballet master/mistress likes them. As someone else stated earlier, those are the companies where the lower ranks are really just there to fill out the company during performances requiring a larger cast without having to dip into coffers that may be quite empty. The AD is content to entrust those hiring decisions to the ballet master/mistress. It usually changes at the corps level; that's when AD's of those kinds of companies get involved in who's hired. I fully understand the need to do so financially, but one way to show that they're not heartless is to let their dancers audition elsewhere! I wish your daughter much luck!


(edited by moderator)

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  • 10 months later...

Share your auditioning experiences and frustrations. (See Company congrats thread for sharing good news).

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Our daughter did two auditions this past week-end - Ballet San Jose and Oregon Ballet Theatre - there were about 75 girls at each. Ballet San Jose did not do any cuts, and she felt she did well. Oregon Ballet, after two moves in center, cut the group down to 10 (mostly boys). She is feeling defeated and we are trying to determine where she should go to audition next. It is difficult deciding as it would be incredibly expensive to travel all over the United States!

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Hi dancestar,


It does get expensive! Don't get discouraged by one audition--- may just be looking for boys or a certain height right now. Just never know. :nixweiss::)


As far as trying to reduce costs, we try to hit a few in one weekend if possible. Like in NY you can sometimes hit 3-4 in same weekend. They are crowded sometimes but better then going all over the country in my opinion!


Also wondering if anyone went to the Houston audition in NYC this past weekend? Wondered how crowded it was, how soon they made cuts, and how many asked to stay for rep. Last year they announced height requirement at the very beginning. Why can't companies write specifics on audition notices? :nixweiss::wallbash:

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Ballet Met at SAB - About 130 ish people showed up. They moved the audition from studio 3 to studio 4 of SAB, but it was still very very crowded. You couldn't really do a tendu without hitting the person next to you at barre. A woman, who was formerly of NYCB taught, but I missed her name. She looked a bit like Meryl Streep if that could help anyone identify her- I really enjoyed her class. Edwaard Liang watched and took down numbers as went. Two others were there and observed, but were not introduced. Barre was done all together, center was split into 6 groups of females and 2 groups of male. Groups were of whoever wanted to go. After class, a cut was made, and they kept about 15-20 dancers for rep. Edwaard Liang taught a section of choreography, and I believe they talked to 6-7 dancers after the audition. Note- one annoyance with this audition is their website made absolutely no mention of an audition fee, but when we registered, non-AGMA members were required to pay $20, which would have been really helpful to know beforehand.


Houston Ballet at Alvin Ailey - About 110 females. Barre was very very short, only did a couple of combinations. Center began in groups of 10 in numerical order. After a tendu+adagio combination and a pirouette combination, a cut was made. I believe they kept somewhere around 30 to proceed with class, and around 10 for rep in the afternoon. A woman taught class, I believe it was Louise Lester, while Stanton Welch and Claudio Munoz watched.


Edited to add- Neither made any mention of a height requirement.

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Hi Sparky - Thanks for the encouragement - we are trying to do what you suggested - perhaps a few trips to New York to attend multiple auditions at once. It is difficult because our daughter is a trainee (west coast) and needs to be available for rehearsals - it is so hard to coordinate! I agree with the height requirements - my daughter always seems to be at the cusp of short/tall (she is 5'7")...I'm anxious to hear what people say about upcoming auditions. She is trying to limit herself to those companies that have paid apprentice, studio company or 2nd company positions available.

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