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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Auditions: Company Search


Momof3darlings

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I would appreciate pointers on what you were looking for during your research. From my previous post, DD is just entering this stage in the process. Any help would be appreciated. Also, my apologies if this request isn't exactly on topic here. Thanks.

 

This quote is from sophiabuddy on another thread for Juniors and Seniors. The question is in regards to figuring out which companies to audition for, how to research to see if they might be a fit for you (or your child) and what is on the list for you to be researching in the first place.

 

I hope our veteran parents as well as those currently in the search will share their research methods and how their lists were developed, then also if you had to make financial decisions in regards to the number of auditions, how you made those selections as well.

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Sophiabuddy (in response to your question on the Senior Year thread): I have looked at the websites of every U.S. company that I could find.

 

--I read bios to look for common threads in preferred training and other similarities among hired dancers within a company. Sometimes I could find definite patterns, and sometimes it was random.

--I noted how many women are in the company, and their overall "look" as much as I could tell from headshots, action shots, video clips, etc. I was also able to see which ones hire from their own schools, and which do not! I could see how quickly they promote from apprentice to corps and beyond, or if they tend to hire in upper-rank dancers who come from other companies.

--I could see whether or not a college education seemed important to a company (for some, it seemed to be, but not for most).

 

This is not very scientific, and maybe it isn't the right way to go about this, but I had to find a way to narrow it down for DD, and not overspend on company auditions. I guess we will have to wait at least a year to find out if my research was a good idea! :grinning:

 

*edited by moderator to make an easy list. Only the space bar and (--) were added.

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pointeprovider--How did you find the time to do all that? I'm impressed...and worried because I'm not going to be able to be so thorough. I thought I was doing good giving dd a list of companies!

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ddm, I just did little bits with a minute here and there, and I spent some late nights, too. I could only begin after this season's personnel had been posted. Sometimes it got tiring and I almost quit, but it was also very interesting. I had always wondered exactly who are the lucky, talented few who get ballet jobs, and where they trained, etc. Now, I think I know, but, as someone pointed out on another thread, you can only see what they choose to include in their bios.

I began with some preconceived ideas, and some of those were correct, but there were surprises. It has been interesting, overall. I just don't know if it will really help when DD auditions, though.

Have any other parents done a similar thing? Did it work?

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I think for each dancer someone has to help with it to some degree as pointeprovider has. If the teacher is current in their information and connections then they can be extremely helpful in that situation. However, if they are not, or if the school has a limited help stance because they can't help one dancer over another then someone else needs to do that for/with the dancers.

 

ddm-don't dismiss other dancers as being helpful either. I know that when DD was auditioning last year, it was other full company members who helped with the "where to trys" and the "you'd be good fors". Most of them know someone dancing someplace else and whether it's a good environment or not and which ADs like this type of dancer or that.

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The first year or two that my daughter auditioned for companies, she liked the fact that I researched the companies for her. As I mentioned one time on another thread, you start out with a list of "good fits", and after a season of auditions, they may be taken off of next year's list because your dancer didn't like the class, the AD, etc. I think you always need to add a few "maybe's", even if your dancer doesn't seem to fit the mold. My daughter was pleasantly surprised to find she really loved the audition class of a company she decided to audition for the last minute on a whim.

 

Now that my dd is older, she prefers to do the research on her own and decide on her own which companies she will follow through with an audition. There comes a time when you need to pull back and let them do this job search. Yes, you can make suggestions, but at some point, you realize can come close to becoming a pushy parent when it comes to auditions. Everybody knows their own child and when they need to let them take the lead, whether it's auditions, college applications, etc.

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When DD sent off her first application by email the other night, I told her I had to go and run an errand. She was a little taken aback and asked me "how could you leave at such an important moment". I told her that after the years and years of work she had done to get to this place, I trusted her to do this by herself! I have helped by assisting with the resume writing, editing covering letters and how to utilize networking , but as far as where to audition that is all in her hands.

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I also have been researching for DD - and I find the task of "where to fish" daunting! She is 17 and trying to decide between an offer for a "top level school" position at a major company/school - offer that we deferred for a year, college, or who to audition with for a possible paid apprentice position. That's a big field to narrow to something manageable. She is a second year Apprentice at a regional company/school, and ready to spread her wings!

 

Have you found that sending out "packages" in january to companies of interest is the best approach? I read the thread on resumes and cover letters and found it very helpful. We are pulling together a DVD and have a 8x10 photo collage of four performance shots.

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DD has researched the companies she is interested in and made a list based on the type of company, the background of the current dancers and what their repertoire is. She then ran her list of companies, her photographs and resume by her teacher and another contact she made through her journey. Both of them added and deleted companies and helped her prioritize. Now she has a list of top picks, runners up and a very long list of other companies she will send her package to because you just never know. Her DVD will be filmed in the next couple of weeks, but the basic packages are going out as we speak. The list is expected to change based on further research and of course feedback.

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balletmom311-I"m just curious since I see you are sending out an initial packet and then the DVD will go later, have you been advised or have you been seeing that an intial contact is now desired before video/DVD's are sent? This is just an informational question, since in '06 when we did it, everything went out in one package. Things change so quickly if there is a new or established rhyme or reason to the path you've chosen, I'd like it noted here as helpful information to others.

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We are following the instructions the company laid out so we will send a DVD only if it is requested/required. DD is sending some packages by email, so the covering letter is written as an email and then she has attached her resume, headshot, action shot and a performance shot. If the company does not want an email she will send by regular mail.

 

DD is looking in Europe and from what we understand if a company is interested they will want to see her in class. Due to her current committments DD has limited time that she can travel. Her covering letter gives the dates she will be Europe and includes a request to take company class.

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Thank you for the clarity! That makes perfect sense especially for European audition practices.

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