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Ballet Talk for Dancers
dancermom5

IABD auditions

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Momisme

This is our first year auditioning so we dont know either.  Watching historical auditions on YouTube, it looks like they called numbers at the end of the audition. I guess we will find out tomorrow. Did they not call any numbers for the summer audition?

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Dancermomfive

Yes no numbers called

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Ballerina7373

How does IABD define dancers of color?

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labrador

Ballerina7373,

This question can turn into a can of worms. Maybe ask them directly, so you have the information you need to make a decision for your case.

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Momisme

Ballerina7373 I was also interested in making sure my Hispanic DD would "qualify" to attend the Women of Color audition, and during my search it was made clear that ALL/ANY dancer is welcome to audition. It was a very good experience for my DD. The "talk with the directors" portion after the audition did run about 1 hour, so for travel purposes we needed to stay an extra night.  

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Ballerina7373

Oh wow, that is interesting, thank you for your response Momisme! So technically even a caucasian dancer could attend the audition?

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Taxi dance

I asked because I am Hispanic so my DD is half Hispanic but doesn’t look it. They said she was of color because she was half Hispanic. 

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labrador

Does anybody have more or less up todate knowledge/experience of what to expect at an IABD festival/conference? Are there any drawbacks to participating instead of attending individual auditions?

 

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Sugarmama

They have masterclasses and performances, events and vendors at the conference.  There is usually an ala carte option for things like classes and the awards breakfast.  I don't know what you mean by drawbacks to participating vs individual auditions, I guess I can say the Ballet Audition on Sunday is run much like any other audition, only there are maybe 30 people at the front of the room watching and taking notes.  There are no cuts.  A dancer may not get seen by everyone, and you can't really consider these auditions to be the same as a dedicated one.  Your dancer won't get acceptance/denial or feedback from each company in attendance, either they are interested and call your number and offer you a scholarship or company audition or they don't.  Dancers (even if not called) do have the opportunity to talk with the directors of programs they are interested in after the audition if they want to.  The summer scholarship audition has MANY more dancers auditioning and is less ballet-focused. Although I recommend IABD, depending on your situation it makes sense to attend additional individual auditions.  Some people attend thinking with all those companies there a scholarship is going to be a sure thing but it really isn't.  Especially for the ballet audition there was a lot of competition.  Also some years there is a lag between the audition and results/invitations being extended, which made decisions more stressful.  DD received several good offers each year and attended summer intensives on full scholarship 2 years in a row thanks to these auditions.  I think more importantly it introduced her to dancing in a room full of black women, which she had never done in her life and it was very impactful.  At the end of the day she owes a good amount of her training to contacts made at IABD, and is now a paid apprentice at a small regional ballet company at age 18. 

My DD loves IABD and is very sad she can't audition this year at Philadanco, the conference is the same weekend as her company's winter repertory show.  If there was any way she could make both things happen, she definitely would.

 

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labrador

Thank you, Sugarmama, and congratulations to DD.

 I had two things in mind when I mentioned drawbacks to attending IABD auditions instead of individual auditions. 

One African American dancer, whose name I don’t recall, advised to not attend these type of auditions but to attend ordinary auditions. I don’t know if this advice is based on a principled objection, or whether this is a practical advice. 

The other possible and related drawback is that these auditions may be so crowded and dancers cannot really be seen.

You did mention that these auditions are not exactly a typical ballet audition. May I ask what you meant?

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Sugarmama

I have heard that too, that dancers of color use race as an excuse for not advancing within the field and IABD caters to their fears.  DD feels her race makes her different, special and uniquely challenged so I guess it's partly how you look at it.  Also, some dancers of color never get to dance with others like them so that was one of DD's reasons to try it.  I guess I would say don't put all your dancer's eggs in one basket, if you do IABD also audition at a few places they are interested in outside of it.  DD usually had a company she looked at as a "reach" as well as a fallback option in case she had a bad audition at IABD.  

For DD, we found that the IABD auditions plain and simple offered a higher return on investment in terms of scholarships received, she had at least 2-3 solid offers each year for traveling to one location - and received full scholarships including housing and once even a generous stipend for activities, which has never happened in any ordinary audition she attended.  The first year there were about 100 dancers so it was hard to be seen, I think they have improved the process the past couple of years and it seems like there aren't as many dancers either.  Ordinary auditions for big name intensives are sometimes crowded and it's difficult to be seen as well.  Due to financial reasons DD either had to earn her way to intensives through scholarships or stay and train at home. 

The multi-company audition on Saturday for summer intensives is more contemporary focused with only a little ballet at the end.  The companies attending are different for that one too. This year it looks like they are doing it a little differently so check out their website and contact them if you have any questions.  

Good luck!

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labrador

Thank you, Sugarmama!

I appreciate your sharing your experience.  

I agree that African-American ballet dancers are still trailblazers. Racism is real in the ballet world, sometimes out of malice, sometimes out of ignorance and a limited artistic imagination. 

Again, congratulations to DD. She blazed a trail in a tough territory.

 

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