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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Have Company Hiring Practices changed?


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You're welcome. I think the term is very misleading. In actuality - just more training costing yet more money.

 

Well thats true but the need for post grad training is becoming more and more prevalent as Directors are shying away from hiring very young dancers in professional situations that they are not emotionally (even though they may be physically) ready for. I would say that the majority of dancers in the current ballet climate need a year as an apprentice (if they are lucky) or post grad training as the level has become so high that coming right out of high school and into a company situation difficult for all but a few young dancers.

 

*the term mentioned above was apprentice. However, the apprentices in this situation were more school than company.

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You're welcome. I think the term is very misleading. In actuality - just more training costing yet more money.

 

Well thats true but the need for post grad training is becoming more and more prevalent as Directors are shying away from hiring very young dancers in professional situations that they are not emotionally (even though they may be physically) ready for. I would say that the majority of dancers in the current ballet climate need a year as an apprentice (if they are lucky) or post grad training as the level has become so high that coming right out of high school and into a company situation difficult for all but a few young dancers.

 

I not sure if it that (it because they are not emotionally ready)that is delaying the hiring process, because if you notice a lot are getting second trainee or company II offers from other trainee and company II schools. And if age was the reason, they have over 100 dancers in New York auditions that are older and experience, who are not given contracts, and are pass the 2nd acompany age status. I think they want the younger, less costly dancers to fill the corps. The contemporay companies seem to want to hire mature dancers.

New York City Ballet is unique, but they do not have 2nd or trainee, but an apprenticeship status that has a limit time to hire the dance. They do take younger dancers. One year of apprentice would be idea, 4 years, as 2nd company, then add 2 years apprentice, is long for a short career.

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I've moved these posts from the graduating class thread since they are a good starting point for a new discussion.

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Doesn't that argue for better college training situations? :yes::cool2:

 

I am not certain where the original discussion of this topic was located so I am just taking up where the current thread started.

 

I am a college trained dancer. I attended Butler University's Jordan College of Fine Arts in the late 1980s for two years and completed my degree at the University of Iowa, where there was equal emphasis placed on ballet and modern dance. I have several former classmates who did go on to professional careers in ballet from both schools. I ended up with a medical condition that requires medication with a lot of unpleasant side effects, and it surfaced during my last year of college. Teaching chose me rather than the other way around, but it was probably for the better because as I see it, there are many dancers who can dance, but fewer who can communciate what they are doing to achieve that level of technical success.

 

There are so many college dance programs out there for dancers to choose from. They are NOT all created equal. Dancers who are striving for a professional career need to investigate very closely, not the schools that may be closest to their current locale, but the schools which have a high level of turnover into professional companies. The quality of these programs often exceed those of the company schools of smaller/regional compaies. For example, while I was a student at Butler University, a core requirement for performance majors was character dance, one semester of Spanish dance in the styles of Bolero(uses the castanets) and Flamenco(use of the skirt and fast footwork). The other in Slavic forms as seen in the Czardas, Mazurka, Polonaise. These are dance forms that professionals encounter in many of the classical ballets, yet many company schools do not offer.

 

Another quailty to look for in choosing a college with the hopes of placing in a company is the faculty. Faculty who have danced with professional companies as principal dancers often have influence with the artistic management of their prior company as well as others. My teacher from the University of Iowa was a former dancer with the Joffrey Ballet in the late 1960s-70s, and was a lifetime teaching award recipient of CORPS de Ballet International(you can see if the collegiate professors of a particular higher education institution are members of this organization by visiting their website). We had the opportunity to work with the Joffrey dancers on several occassions, and several of the principal dancers at that time took class with us to learn from her.

 

There are many high quality programs out there for young dancers to gain maturity both emotionally and technically. They may not be the ones closest or the least expensive, but the standards are not necessarily low.

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I think in general there are very few corps jobs available for females this year, regardless of whether one is coming from a company II/trainee situation, college, or even a corps member looking to switch to another company. I would say college might prepare one to be more open minded about employment possibilities including other dance forms.

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no problem tangerinetwist. The original thread was really about Graduating classes of Pre-pros and residencies. We just started to digress. So where we're going here is whether the current hiring practices have affected graduating dancers and how.

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I think they want the younger, less costly dancers to fill the corps.

Amen, Mirabray :excl::thumbsup:

 

I'll add that I don't find any evil intentions in this. In order to stay alive, many ballet companies need to do this.

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It's also important to note that "younger" when discussing corp or apprentice/trainees isn't necessarily so either. Most trainee programs these days are 18 year olds AND college grads or trainee/apprentices on their 2nd or 3rd place still looking for the job which could make them 24-25. In reality, "younger" just means in terms of if they can truly put "professional" behind their name.

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I think in general there are very few corps jobs available for females this year, regardless of whether one is coming from a company II/trainee situation, college, or even a corps member looking to switch to another company. I would say college might prepare one to be more open minded about employment possibilities including other dance forms.

 

Being a female ballet dancer has made it more competitive to get a job in the field for a long time. Many more of the collegiate male dancers I knew were able to obtain soloist and principal contracts immediately after college. Regardless of dance career goals, it is beneficial for ballet dancers to be trained in modern as many choreographers utilitze a lot of modern dance concepts in their work; there seems to be a trend toward less distinction between the two forms in good deal of performance material. Also, being well-rounded can lead to opportunities after a successful classical career. Modern dancers are able to maintain their bodies a lot longer and can perform well past the retirement age of many ballet dancers as the physical demands are more consistent with the natural patterns of body movement. Two female dancers who attended Butler's ballet program when I was there began their careers with ballet companies and now dance with modern troupes(both approaching 40).

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I mention younger, because it was said most will not be given jobs right out of high school So yes 17, 18, 19, go into trainees, 2nd company. I read a few web sites, I believe there are some age cut on these as well. They can be use to fill the corps during the season, the company therefore does not have to hire extra corp members. Which could also be why less jobs are open.

 

And yes vagansmom you can not blame them because this will help the survive.

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I understand mirabray. However, it has still been our experience that many 21, 22, 23, and 24 year olds today are also going into Trainee/2nd company positions and not straight to corp simply because of their age or college graduate status. Not that they want to be Trainees, but that is becoming more of the offer given. So I might venture to say most won't be getting jobs out of college either but still doing at least a small time in some post grad capacity at the company in question. Of course, there are exceptions to any rule and dancers taken straight to corp. But over my years here, and tracking our members, we're seeing less and less of that even in YAGP winners and the like.

 

For a smaller, regional company the trainee/apprentices may be the entire corp. In larger companies there may be a corp and then apprentices and trainees. In either case, our experience is not that the younger ones are the only ones going into these positions. It is that many ages are in these positions because it is the way into that specific company whether you've come from a great school, a college or a high school/pre-pro/residency. It has been an eyeopener to see unfold.

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Wow, that is extending the age, so the question is are they continue training to be company ready, or the dancers waiting for The company to be ready (to hire)? No one has to seriously answer this, just trying to find some humor in this journey.

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The answer to that question is so personal that I don't think we could answer it here. For some, they see nothing in the foreseeable future but trying to find a company. For others, they have their eyes on the prize of certain companies so will be focused on training only to get them there. For others, it is the chance of taking the place that showed the most interest in them and waiting to see what happens because in 5 years they see themselves being done with the journey if they don't have a paying job. I've met dancers in all of those thought processes. Neither path is wrong, just what they want for themselves and how much of their lives they are willing to put on hold for the journey.

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That question was really gear at why the ballet companies setting up these programs, because I know the dancers just want to be hire. Just seems the road is getting longer and longer for female ballet dancers.

 

I really already stated I believe it due to cost, but wondering what they actually tell the dancers. You need additional training or we have no openings now take our 2nd company.

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