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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Pro Company Hiring Practices


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  • Mel Johnson


  • balletbooster


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no its just the armchair quarter backs here teachers and parents who are sitting back stressing about the whole thing. The kids are perfecting their arm positions and are doing their auditions videos. :wub:

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In discussions like this, the facts tend to speak for themselves. So, I've done a little data crunching via the ABT website bios and come up with the following:


American Ballet Theater


They have 16 principals and 11 are from other countries or 67%. They have 10 soloists. 4 of those were born in other countries or 40%. They have 53 in the corp (including apprentices). 16 of those were born in other countries or 30%. The overall percentage of dancers from other countries is 39%.


If you look more closely you will note that the majority of the soloists and principals were hired in at those levels, rather than coming through the corp. So, it does seem that they are hiring the majority of US citizens into the corp and the majority of the corp comes up through the Studio Co. But they are not promoting the corp into the upper levels with great frequency, but instead are hiring international dancers directly into these levels.


This is but one company. I'd like to invite other users to spend 30 minutes on the websites of other companies and post similar data here for comparison.


Rather than talking in the abstract, let's see if the original premise of this thread is borne out by the facts. I think that the research might be very enlightening! :(


(To avoid duplicate effort, feel free to post the name of a company you are researching here, so that others don't choose the same one.)

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San Francisco Ballet


Here we go:

Artistic Director: born out of country

Principal Dancers: 20; 14 born out of country 70% (11 hired as soloist/principal, gives you 55%)

Character Dancers:4; 2 out of country 50%


Soloist: 11; 5 are born out of country 45% (2 hired as soloist gives you 18%)

Corps: 43; 12 born out of country 27%


Apprentices: 4 0% out of country


82 dancers 40% out of country

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I'll do Ballet West. Not as big, but one I'm interrested in.

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Miami City Ballet:


Principals: 11, 6 from out of country (54%) (4 of the 11 were hired as prinicipals/soloists - 36%)

Soloist: 10, 6 from out of country (60%) (3 of the 10 were hired as soloist - 30%)

Corp & Apprentices: 29, 6 from out of country (21%)


Total Dancers: 50

33% of company is from out of country

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I don't know how this could be done with complete accuracy. For example, someone might have been born in say South Africa, but raised and schooled in the US. Which category would this dancer fall into?


On the other hand, you have someone who was BORN in the US yet raised and schooled in another country, returning to the US as a company member.


Finally, you have those I've mentioned before with more than one passport.


Just to be clear, who are we counting as which kind of citizen? (I know, I ask far too many questions!!)




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This isn't written in stone, we are just given estimate best on the information on web sits. Remember we had a quote from ABT Artistic Director, and the stats we came up with were right on the mark. I would love to have our Europen countries add there companies information if posible. Foreign born and trained dancers, leave out USA in title.

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Joffrey Ballet


46 dancers, 5 out of country (11%) and 3 undetermined (probably 2 US, 1 not)


9 are still listed as Arpino Apprentices (although one of these danced Fritz/Snow Prince in the A cast this year, so I'm not sure if the designations are up to date).


12 were Arpino Apprentices prior to promotion (this program started in 2000)


5 danced with Joffrey II


2 came straight from the Joffrey School in NYC (finishing year, non-US dancers)


The rest were generally hired after a couple of years at other companies or in studio/II companies.

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mom2, I'm using where they say they are 'from' in their bio as determining whether they are from the US or out of country.


It is true that some who are 'from' somewhere might actually hold citizenship elsewhere and might have trained out of their own country, but these would be the exceptions. I think we are going to get much closer to the facts with this data than by simply talking about what we think may or may not be the case. :wacko:

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New York City Ballet:


Principals: 26; 6 are from out of country (23%) 3 of the 26 were hired as principals (12%)

Soloists: 20; 3 are from out of country (15%) All were promoted from the corp.

Corp: 52; 7 are from out of country (13%)


Total Dancers: 98

16% of company is from out of country.

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Point of Information!


In Miami, does Cuba have to count as a different country? :wacko:

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Boston Ballet

10 principals, 9 from out of the country

10 soloist, 6 from out of the country

4 second soloists, 1 from out of the country

26 corps, 12 out of the country


Total Dancers: 50

56% of the dancers in Boston Ballet are from out of the country. But I guess we should see who was actually trained by BB and hired. To me that is probably more important as it could actually sway me as to where I would send my daughter for the summer. I think I will check the stats next year before intensive audition season.

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