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What are 2nd companies?


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Second companies are like "junior" or "apprentice" companies. They are dancers almost ready for the main company but need a year or two more. Some are paid, some are not, which makes them more like trainees. It really varies with every company.

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They mean different things to different companies.


In union companies, there are apprentices authorized by the general contract between the union and the company. Some companies make these apprentices into a second company, and have them available to cover the main company when they're needed, and also to maintain their own performing schedule, to sharpen their stage skills.


Some companies maintain a more or less independent, but still attached to the main company, body of student dancers. They have no status in laborese - "trainee" means nothing in labor law - but they dance under the shield of the main company, share prestige, etc. Ideally, these students are under serious consideration to become members of the main company, but in some places, they take their chances at general audition like everybody else.


In some places, the second company IS the main company, the latter having curtailed its touring and performing. This state of affairs is usually a dead end.


Benefits and perquisites ("perks") vary from place to place, but the general thing which joins all these groups together is that the dancers generally don't have to pay for their classes at the company school. In some places, they are even paid small stipends to assist with living, and/or have shoes provided by the company's wardrobe department. Some get zip!

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The answer to this question other than what Mr. Johnson and Ms. Leigh have stated will differ with each company. It might be a good idea for you to visit the Trainee/Apprentice forums here and look at the places you might be interested in to see how they address their Trainee/Apprentice/2nd company ranks. The threads although titled Trainee/Apprentice do in face cover 2nd companies also.


And yes, some are the top level of the school, some are a bridge program between the school and company, some are their own performing entity covering outreach and community performances, and some are a level of the actual company. There will be no one answer other than more and more, you must go through these ranks if you do not already hold professional status to get the ending status you'd like to get. Each "2nd company" will be different and what it means to be a member of each will be different depending on their philosophy, funding and goals.


Trainee/Apprentice/2nd company programs


Trainee/Apprentice/2nd company General Discussions

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