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Contemporary ballet in a Company or College


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Hoping to get some advice. My DD will be a senior in HS and has recently been told she is more natural at contemporary. She doesn't have the natural ballet body or hyper extended knees but has done pretty well getting into top levels at top SI's. Now she is at the age where she needs to know which direction to head towards. My question is are there any colleges or companies that still do a lot of ballet classes but do more contemporary pieces for rep? She does not want to do all true modern classes (Limon, Graham, etc) , but has been told by several she is really good at contemporary. Thought contemporary ballet may be a great road for her, but really dont know of any program besides Lines? She still loves classical but is starting to think its just not in the cards since she is fighting a lot of the "unnatural" muscle tendencies to make it into a good classical company. Or does anyone know of medium sized classical companies that do a lot of contemporary too? Any advice would be so appreciated! :thumbsup:

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You're going to find contemporary-focused performances at the vast majority of college dance programs.


My daughter's first "professional" contract after college was with a contemporary ballet company. (Compensation consisted of free shared housing, free shared car with gas, and $100 per week.) She then switched over to the for-profit end of the dance industry, doing mostly theatrical dance. In all her dance connections (and she's been involved with programs and colleges scattered across the U.S.), she does not know anyone who is able to support themselves by dancing with a contemporary company. Obviously there are a tiny handful of exceptions, and those would be dancers with such companies as LINES, Alvin Ailey, Hubbard Street, Cedar Lake and MOMIX. (But as vagansmom says, MOMIX is it's own style of dance and not exactly contemporary.) But understand that these companies have their pick of highly trained ballet dancers with ballet bodies.


Dancers who do not have ballet bodies need to be diversely trained if they hope to find work performing. Outside of ballet, the money is in jazz and hip hop.

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Virtually all dance companies in the US have contemporary works in their repertoire. It's a given now that dancers must be versatile. It's also a given that dancers must be strong in classical ballet, and regardless of whether it's a "top tier" company or not, dancers do need to fall within the range of classical ballet bodies. There is a range but due to the demands of choreography, it is a more narrow one.


Since I can't see your dd to know exactly what is happening, it's hard to say where might be a good choice for her. If her heart is only with classical ballet, even if she had a perfect ballet body, she'd struggle to find any company that didn't do contemporary works.


Let's sort through something too- has she been told that she's better at contemporary by all of her teachers/some of her teachers/one teacher/one SI evaluation?

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Thought contemporary ballet may be a great road for her, but really dont know of any program besides Lines?


A couple years ago, I asked the AD of the Lines BFA program what programs did she find to be her 'competition' for dancers. At that time, she told me the dancers applying to the Lines BFA program typically also applied to Ailey/Fordham, Juilliard, and Tisch/NYU. Not every dancer that applied to the Lines BFA program applied to all of the others, but usually some combination of them. If a dancer admitted to the Lines BFA program didn't matriculated, the AD said it was her experience that the dancer typically chose one of the other three listed. (Of course, that is neither a scientific sampling nor a precise research listing, just her observation).


Perhaps that will provide you with an idea of similar, but not identical programs. My DD (who is at the Lines BFA) also considered Ailey/Fordham and SUNY/Purchase.

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