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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Past Links 2011

Danielle DeVor

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No problem, cheetah! :)

I am not really easily alarmed, having lived in the theatre-landscape of German-speaking countries for well over half my life.

It does appear that Switzerland, perhaps due to the way their politics work, tends to change things such as funding for public programs quicker than some other countries. Therefore, it may be common that there is this decision, then that decision. (Claude, any thoughts on this? This is just an "outside" opinion, obviously; I am not in CH)

Time will tell. Nothing is secure, though we humans would prefer to think otherwise.



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It's great to see a Zurich Ballet thread.

The only real criticism I see in the article is the aggrandisement of Herr Spoerli, and since this is his last year maybe he's entitled to 'blow his own horn' to some degree.

There doesn't seem to be much of a ballet school infrastructure in Switzerland so if ballet-goers want to watch a high class company the dancers have to be imported.

As for funding, I wonder how much of the budget comes from corporate sponsors. It's often the case that overseas tours require sponsorship so those could be the first victims. UBS has been under huge pressure lately and culture budgets are usually the first to get axed! Maybe the new Director will conjure up new sponsors or bring one or two with him?

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I was interested to hear about the lack of Swiss dancers. Many moons ago I auditioned around Europe for a contract and one of the places I tried was for the ballet in Zurich. The Artistic Director then was Nicholas Beriosov (Svetlana Beriosova's father). He liked me and said that he would have a couple of vacancies in December and that I should contact him again then. When I did I received a letter back telling me that they had to take Swiss Nationals first as a priority and that therefore the places had been filled. Wonder when that situation changed? Probably with the coming of the EU. Nowadays there is a total interchange of the work force, so I suppose it would be difficult to prioritise.

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You hit the nail on the head! Laws changed a lot (indeed you autioned many moons ago ;) )

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There are still laws that state that Swiss Nationals have priority. After the Swiss, citizens of EU nations are given priority. Only then may the country look outside of the country and Europe. The visa requirements are extensive, especially for non-EU residents/citizens. Extensive documentation has to be provided to show justification for hiring over a Swiss national. From research we've done, it's more difficult for a non-citizen to get hired in Switzerland than any other country. For positions other than "specialties" such as the arts, a minimum of a Bachelor's Degree is required. The review process includes several layers. We had to submit several types of documents for DS and wait about three or four months to get a final decision that a visa would be granted. He still hasn't earned the prized B permit (I think that's what it's called) but must go through an annual review process each year. I think after five years there is a bit of a safety net, which may explain why many of the dancers have been with the company for several years.


I don't think the process is any different in any other country, though, such as the US. (And we talked to some dancers that went to Hong Kong Ballet that had to provide books worth of documentation.) US citizens have "priority" and international workers have to meet certain criteria. Ironically, the Swiss dancers we know didn't meet the physical requirements of the company (i.e. too short) so were passed over for that reason. Many of the other dancers, at least at the Zurich Ballet School, were not even Swiss.

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Danielle DeVor
Danielle DeVor
Danielle DeVor




ETA: The video clip and discussion is part of an ongoing series, and you should be able to find the others from the link. Here's another with the awesome Marianela Nunez:



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Victoria Leigh

A quick note about the anorexic topic, linked above. While it is certainly posted by a known professional principal dancer, and it holds many truths, I do think that possibly the percentages that she lists might not quite be factual information. However, we know this does exist, and we feel it is important for our Young Dancers to know it, recognize it, and be very aware of the consequences, especially those having to do with reproduction.


This topic is READ ONLY, and is NOT open for discussion.

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Danielle DeVor

Thanks for the link - really interesting article

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And very interesting to hear from dancers at such different stages of their careers.



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