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Auditions: Timing of results


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First a little background... DD spent most of the past year observing ballet classes rather than participating in them because of two serious injuries. She basically lost a whole year & it was at a critical time too. She hurt herself just a few weeks before her 17th birthday. She is now 18, and has been back to dancing since the beginning of August. She is working hard, feeling very strong & thanks to wonderful nurturing teachers, she feels like she is back on her career path.


She recently had class at her studio with a well known teacher from one of the big 3 letter schools who was there to approve a peice for performance. This teacher showed great interest in her & spoke extensively with her AD about DD. Including attending their summer program. The thing is... the school's website states that it is for dancers age 6-18. (Summer program 12-18). DD plans to begin company auditions in the spring, but who knows what that will bring.


When a dancer auditions for a company, what is the turn around time? How long does it take to know if one will receive an offer? Is it like summer intensive where you have to wait a few weeks & then make a split second decision?


Also, although it feels like a great opportunity for DD to go to this famous school at the request of this famous teacher... what happens when she turns 19 next fall? It doesn't say anything about that on the website.


There are so many "what-ifs" and I understand that the scenarios will change based on the outcomes of auditions. I am just trying to understand ahead of time which decisions will be the wisest for her. For instance... is it ever a good choice to forego a contract with a smaller regional company, for an opportunity to train with a large company school in order to hopefully receive a better offer down the road? Or is it better to have that "professional experience" with the smaller company? This kind of feels like the Aesop's fable about The Dog and His Reflection.

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All very good questions, ceecee....wish I had answers! There is just no clear cut way to know what's best for each dancer. In terms of choosing training over a small company, that is especially difficult. Does she feel that she is totally company ready, or will be by the start of the next season? Or does she feel like another year of training will be more beneficial? What do her own teachers say?


As to the time frames, you never know. Every company works differently. It could be anything from a contract on the day of the audition, to we will let you know within a week or two, to we will let you know and no time frame offered. Some might say come to our summer program and then we will decide. There are just many, many variables, and yes, it is scary.

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Thank you, Ms. Leigh. Her teachers feel as though she is ready to audition for companies in the spring, so I thought that meant they feel she is company-ready, but I could see where it just might mean that she is ready for the audition process & we will see what that brings. She still feels as though she could benefit from additional training though, too. I guess there is always work to do there. She seems to be mostly fine-tuning these days, and of course she is still re-building strength and stamina from her long break. Once again thanks for the thoughtful response. I guess we will just see what comes...

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Can she not do both? By that I mean audition for/or plan to attend the SI and still audition for companies in the interim. (I'm assuming the interaction with the teacher would negate still having to audition but possibly not?) That way she hopefully has decisions to make and a strong plan to fall back on. Her decision could be the difference in a paid company position and paying for schooling. At which point, she looks at each offer individually and sees what she wants from either. Strong training is always a good option. But the dancer and the teacher are the ones who can discuss being a "big fish in a small pond" vs. "small fish in big pond", thus helping the dancer know what they want to shoot for.


I realize this is hard with SI deposits and such having to be paid. But it is par for the course I believe at this stage in the game.

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I think the teacher still intends for her to attend the audition so that she is on "the grid", and scholarship offers (I guess/hope

?) would come at that time. Either way, I would assume they need to know if she is coming so that they could know how many other spots they have open for auditioning dancers. DD stll plans to audition for SIs for other places as well. The problem, as you mention in your last sentence, is that she will most likely have to make SI decisions before the company auditions even come around. Sending deposits for SIs she may or may not attend sounds sooo painful for my pocketbook. I guess this is just another example of how it sure helps to have some disposable income when it comes to ballet :) (Sadly... we do not)

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Company contracts usually begin in August or even September. SI are usually in July, so that makes it possible to attend and still accept the company contract were she to be offered one.


The problem is that now many companies tell you to attend their own SI in order to be considered for a trainee or an apprentice position, which is is no way gauranteed.


In this difficult job climate, it is better to have something to do over the summer, so go for it knowing you might have to make a quick decision down the road.

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MomofDarlings has a very good suggestion. Plan for both! If the AD was interested in your dd, ask your teacher if the interest was strong enough for a scholarship offer to the SI. If your dd is offered a solid contract during audition season and the timing doesn't work out to do both, simply explain this to the SI. There will be plenty others waiting for the opportunity. Auditioning is extremely anxiety provoking and as Miss Leigh said there is no way to know if or when an offer might be made. There were a couple of companies who told DD that they would "definitely be in contact" and several months later, no contact was made, even after an e-mail stating that she had other offers but would still like to know if she is under consideration..... It's frustrating, expensive and all part of the experience.....Good luck to your dd as she auditions this spring!

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  • 3 weeks later...
For instance... is it ever a good choice to forego a contract with a smaller regional company, for an opportunity to train with a large company school in order to hopefully receive a better offer down the road? Or is it better to have that "professional experience" with the smaller company?
If a "good choice" were as simple as a sure bet, I'd put all my money on the contract with a smaller regional company - especially for a female dancer. It's much more than "a bird in hand is worth more than two in the bush": A) It's a real job with supposedly real pay. "B") It looks better on a resume. and C) You're likely to have a more fulfulling time dancing. My daughter's college dance teachers told her, "Work is work." If your goal is to be PROFESSIONAL, the actual contract is what defines you as a professional. And just from the standpoint of the odds of getting a ballet contract for a female dancer, the chances of landing a paying job are very, very slim. My daughter continues to support herself as a professional dancer because she consistently accepts the work/contracts that actually come through rather than holding out hope that something more prestigious will magically manifest itself. In individual cases, "your mileage may vary." But generally speaking, my money is with the actual dance contract.
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