Jump to content
Ballet Talk for Dancers

Trainee /2nd Company Article


Recommended Posts

Momof3darlings thank you so much for taking the time to compile the links,  I will take a night and go through all of it ...  Your insight and advice is very much appreciated. I will also make my comments in those threads :)   Everyone's comments are very helpful - I agree looking into bio's is a good way to see who is getting promoted.  I find a lot of the big schools also recruit dancers in later years and it may seem as if the dancer was trained there but really, they were mostly trained elsewhere.  All good food for thought as next season we will be casting the net wide and seeing where she lands.

Link to comment
  • Replies 37
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

  • Momof3darlings


  • learningdance


  • ballet1310


  • Eligus


And thanks for the links. .. read through many of these. . . 

I have a question: Is the unpaid trainee or tuition-based trainee common in European countries? 

Link to comment

learning dance, I will try to answer the questions about unpaid/tuition-based trainees in Europe.  Like the states, Europe has some schools whose students are called trainees.  They are part of the school and yes they do participate in some company productions where a large corps is necessary.  The highest level at schools range from being called Academy, Trainee, Upper School, etc.  Some companies are really good about promoting from their school but it seems that more times than not, kids are brought into the upper levels from competitions and scouting.  In Europe, there isn't a "trainee" level between school and company.  Hope that helps a little although after reading over this, it sounds very similar to what is happening in the states.

Link to comment


So my DD was talking with a dancer who did a stint in Europe and is now in a large co in the US at a soloist level.  It was this dancer's perception that European companies did not have the expectation that parents from Europe fund trainee or unpaid internships. It was this dancer's perception that some European companies thought that American parents were more open/willing to fund  unpaid interships than European parents, who are used to a state-run system. 

I guess I wonder about your perceptions? 

Link to comment

Sort of apples to oranges instead of apples to apples.  Not so much that American parents are more open/willing to pay, but basically, that is the system we have in place because of our love for free choice for our children.  We don't like other people telling us how to parent or what our children can or cannot do in terms of limits.  Most of us would not go for a ballet only road from childhood on.  Nor do we generally want our children to be limited in the way attending a state run program might.  Not saying either is bad or good.   Just saying that it may be apples to oranges to compare in the manner that dancer's perceptions sent her.  It would be alot easier on the art form possibly.  But we tend to function here on a belief that every child can do whatever they want in whatever manner they choose.  We'd have to completely overhaul the American belief system to have the same perceptions as those who live under state run programs for most art forms and sport.  


Link to comment

I completely agree with Momof3darlings.  Because a lot of the education is funded by the state in Europe, parents have little to no say.  It also seems a lot more black and white.  You either get accepted to the good training programs or you don't. If you don't, you can't "pay to play."  As for unpaid internships, I don't think they are the norm.  If they do exist, there is a strict two-year maximum policy.  It does seem like more companies have second companies or junior companies but the majority pay something to the dancer.


Link to comment
  • 3 months later...

Interesting article, thank you for posting. My daughter was promoted to Trainee from a school professional training program and will begin this fall. DD was recruited on scholarship to the top level of the professional training program, then promoted to Trainee with scholarship. She is one of those dancers referenced who are recruited in later years. Trainee is tuition based but does have class with the Artistic Director and company as well as with faculty. The Trainees are cast as corps in larger productions. There is also a Studio Company, who have seniority of course and are cast first. Trainees participate in the school shows in addition to these casting opportunities. 

This company school has an established track record of promotion from school up into the company, from Trainee to Studio Company to Apprentice and Corps. We are happy with this environment because it is helping her to develop her artistry and her understanding of the work of being a professional dancer, such as how to get your sea legs when “thrown in” after being an understudy when someone gets injured, how to learn corps roles if you are way in the back of a very large group and can only mark most of the time due to seniority, etc. Because she was fortunate enough to be one of few students in corps parts last year, she has had some exposure to the Trainees and what to expect and has watched them develop with the work that has been put into their success. 

Those who were not promoted to my understanding primarily were promoted to studio companies or second companies elsewhere, with one in a corps. Some decided they wanted to pursue other companies and declined promotion, so to track the percentage of internal promotions as a measure of success or lack of success of the trainee program would be misleading. 

 I think these types of experiences are preparing her and helping her greatly. We see direction toward a time she can (hopefully) support herself and a lot of value to refining technique and artistry while having performance opportunities of this caliber.

Link to comment
  • 3 weeks later...

In commercial business, recruitment is generally only necessary as someone leaves or as a company expands.  What is driving the recruitment?  I don't see large amounts of money being invested in ballet companies nor do I see large numbers of dancers retiring/leaving?  Is the in and out ratio equal?

Link to comment

Money.  Most of the time parents paying for these trainee programs.  And the companies also benefit from being able to add to their corps etc for larger productions. 

Link to comment

bbyblmrs-it is cyclical in ballet companies just like it is in business.  A small portion will be ready for retirement, a small portion will be ready for promotion which will create the possibility of a need for new hires, a small portion will move on to other jobs or stations in life.  It is just that the numbers may be dictated in a much tighter fashion because the funding is yearly instead of simply a yearly budget on proposed funding like a corporation would be.  501c3's have limitations in that carryover which protects the ability to always consider the same workforce.  

Link to comment

Geez, this ballet world is never straightforward.  The more I learn it becomes very clear that I know less.  My naivete astounds me. There's definitely a need for me to read and research more 😊

Link to comment


Can you say more about the funding cycle differences?  I would like to better understand this because it impacts timing. 

Link to comment


I absolutely love your economic analysis of stuff.  If and when you figure out your dissertation on cycles and timing, and you feel confident enough in your results to share your thoughts, please do.  I can't promise to agree with you, but I'm always interested in the viewpoint. 

Personally, I'm not sure the cycles are predictable, but that may be because I have no knowledge or experience in accounting or running a large corporation's profit/loss schedule.  Instead, it feels to me (for what it is worth) that the ADs are much more... whimsical... than considered in their hiring decisions.

Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.

  • Create New...