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 Post subject: Top 20 Ballet Companies?
PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2001 10:18 am 
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Location: Ithaca, NY USA
I am looking for information about what are considered the "Top 20" (or 30 or so) ballet companies in the US and maybe Canada. I know this could generate all kinds of discussion about what makes a top company, which is not what I'm looking for at the moment. My daughter is a dancer, just graduating from a top residential ballet school, from a top class. However, she is probably not going to get an apprenticeship or entry level position at the "top 5" - the ones everybody knows - ABT, NYCB, SFB, Boston, etc. Where can we find information about the relative strength and reputations of the smaller regional companies? I'm looking not only for those that produce wonder works, but whose dancers are able to move on to the more prominent companies if they continue to grow.<BR><P>------------------<BR>CarolC

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 Post subject: Re: Top 20 Ballet Companies?
PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2001 11:31 am 
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Location: San Diego, California, USA
Hello CarolC - welcome to our board - very glad you have joined us. You pose a most interesting question...........<P>Some companies that come quickly to mind besides the ones you mentioned:<P>Houston<BR>Miami City Ballet<BR>Pacific Northwest Ballet<BR>Pennsylvania Ballet<BR>Ballet West - Utah<BR>Joffrey<BR>Dance Theater of Harlem<P>Here is a web-site of Ballet Companies on the Web:<P><A HREF="http://www.dancer.com/dance-links/ballet.htm" TARGET=_blank><B>BALLET COMPANIES ON THE WEB</B></A><P>I hope this helps - I am sure you will get more replies....please check back - and join us in the other forums...once again welcome!<P><BR>


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 Post subject: Re: Top 20 Ballet Companies?
PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2001 12:27 pm 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Hi CarolC! Another good source for links, that I use a lot, is The Dance Centre links page, a site designed by our own Marie (Lena). It has an advantage in that the companies are listed by country and you have 7 Canadian and about 70 US comapnies, some of which are probably school based companies:<BR> <A HREF="http://www.vkool.com/dancentre/links.html#ballet" TARGET=_blank>http://www.vkool.com/dancentre/links.html#ballet</A>


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 Post subject: Re: Top 20 Ballet Companies?
PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2001 12:54 pm 
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Thanks for your welcome and your responses. The problem is, how do you narrow down the 70 to about 20? What is the tier once you widen from that smaller group of 5 or 6? We are particularly interested in the northeast. Thanks, Carol<P>------------------<BR>CarolC

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 Post subject: Re: Top 20 Ballet Companies?
PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2001 1:40 pm 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
I think you are going to have to do some research CaroleC perhaps using the Dance Center list and your geographic criterion.<p>[This message has been edited by Stuart Sweeney (edited March 05, 2001).]


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 Post subject: Re: Top 20 Ballet Companies?
PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2001 2:22 pm 
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CarolC - one thing that might help you to decide is the kind of choreography the company does. For instance some are Balanchine based - some not. Depends on what the dancer likes to do. So you could investigate that aspect, too.<P>Style can be a deciding factor.<p>[This message has been edited by Basheva (edited March 05, 2001).]


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 Post subject: Re: Top 20 Ballet Companies?
PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2001 3:25 pm 
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CarolC...welcome. You pose an interesting question. Questions to ask yourself: Weeks of work and benefits packages offered by the company? Are the dancers represented by unions? What is the repertory? Is it weighed heavily towards Balanchine, local choreographers, resident choreographers, artistic director? What is the room for advancement for dancers? Balanchine rep is quite popular in the United States. It is debatable whether it dominates, or whether Balanchine works signify a "major" company, although some people seem to think it does (I personally don't). Best way to find out these questions: write or call the companies and ask for brochures, info.,publicity information about the company. Look at repertory, company history, backgrounds of dancers. That should help.


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 Post subject: Re: Top 20 Ballet Companies?
PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2001 3:25 pm 
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And other good suggestions have been offered by others as well.<p>[This message has been edited by trina (edited March 05, 2001).]


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 Post subject: Re: Top 20 Ballet Companies?
PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2001 3:49 pm 
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Location: The Bronx is up; the Battery's down
Many ballet companies' web pages are listed on the <A HREF="http://www.dmoz.org" TARGET=_blank>Open Directory Project</A>. This would be a good place to look first.<BR>

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 Post subject: Re: Top 20 Ballet Companies?
PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2001 7:33 pm 
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If you're thinking northeastern US, it narrows the field significantly and I don't think you're going to come up with 20 "top" companies, esp. if you discount ABT, NYC Ballet, and Boston. Two more prominent eastern US, although not NORTH eastern, companies are Atlanta Ballet and Richmond Ballet. Out west, another good one would be Colorado Ballet. In Canada, besides Nat'l Ballet of Canada, there's Royal Winnepeg. <P>One thought: would your daughter consider doing a post-grad year at her own school, if they have such a program, or at another? There are several fine residential schools that offer post-grad years. Many of the dancers at the school with which I'm most familiar, go on to regional companies following one or two post-grad years.


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 Post subject: Re: Top 20 Ballet Companies?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2001 8:42 am 
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Thank you all for your responses and perspectives. In addition to the input of her teachers, we've been investigating all the lists and trying to deduce something from the websites. The bigger companies are easy to learn about. Here are some we'd like to know more aboutv relative strength and reputation:<BR>American Repertory Ballet<BR>New Jersey Ballet<BR>New Jersey Dance Theater<BR>Festival Ballet of RI<BR>BalletMet in Columbus Ohio<BR>Cleveland Ballet<BR>Dayton Ballet<BR>Eglevsky<BR>Cincinatti Ballet<BR>Ohio Ballet<BR>Any in Chicago in addition to Joffrey? <BR>Boston Theater Ballet<BR>Southern Ballet Theatre in Orlando (F. Bujones is director)

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 Post subject: Re: Top 20 Ballet Companies?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2001 8:56 am 
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Carol:<P>Many of the companies held or are holding auditions for trainees at the same time that they hold auditions for summer programs.<P>My daughter has attended Southern Ballet Theatre for the past three summers. I know that LAST year, they didn't do much in the way of prospecting for trainees because there was a change in command from Vasilie Petrutiu to Fernando Bujones right before the summer program. (The kids she knew that auditioned for "trainee" received a letter saying they weren't currently hiring. They auditioned on the same day, at the same time the summer intensive kids auditioned. You indicated on your audition info if you were auditioning for "program" or "trainee".) You might want to check out the situation THIS year. Give them a call. They may accept a tape or an audition at the studio.<P>She went to Princeton Ballet (School of the American Repertory Ballet) the last year that Septime Webre was there. There were some changes when the transition to the new AD took place. But I DO know that trainees attend their summer program on scholarship and are selected at the end of the summer. There were several there that summer auditioning for those spots.<P>She also attended SAB, but you are familiar with "their drill".<P>She is VERY excited about what is going on at Ballet Internationale in Indianapolis(she went there last summer in addition to SBT). You might try contacting them.<P>Most of these links are available on this site in a thread about "summer intensives". (In the "Studio". Dance Intensive URL's. Read all the messages. Most of them contribute some information or URL.)<P>But the summer programs are often coupled with the trainee audition process. So you need to make some phone calls to find out HOW each company selects their dancers for trainee spots. With some, even though the "tour" is over, they might still arrange an audition at their studio.<P>At the very least, if you call, they can tell you the requirements for any replacements they are looking for. M/F height etc.<P>I've known girls that attended Milwaukee, Ballet Austin, and FT. Worth summer programs that way. Attended on scholarship to be considered for trainee. Some got the spot, some didn't.<P>[This message has been edited by JaneGrey (edited March 09, 2001).]<p>[This message has been edited by JaneGrey (edited March 09, 2001).]

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 Post subject: Re: Top 20 Ballet Companies?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2001 9:48 am 
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Carol:<P>An afterthought:<P>There might be more of a financial "risk" in selecting an apprentice as opposed to a "trainee". In that the company obligates themselves more to you. They generally want to know that they can WORK with you before they give you an apprentice position (this is just gathered from folks I've talked to. My kid isn't an apprentice or trainee Image<P>Very often trainees get "shoe stipends and free classes". SOME smaller companies (there is one in Alabama) seem to use the status interchangeably. Maybe THEIR apprentices only receive shoe stipends and free classes.<P>Many come up through the ranks from trainee to apprentice to Jr. Company/or to Company.<P>If you notice: On the SBT website they list their trainees and their apprentices. There are FEW of EACH. Two or three. The trainees have some "work study" assigned to them in the office too, I believe. Or they did at one time.<P>You might have a greater expectation for hoping straight to apprentice status if in fact you are being hired into a company directly from it's company school, OR if you have SOME experience working with another company.<P>In any event, what they OFFER varies widely. Princeton/ARB used to give DETAIL on what they offer their apprentices in their brochure. I don't remember them mentioning the trainee perks.<P>Sometimes Trainee is "a finishing year after high school with full tuition scholarship" but you might be expected to have someone foot the bill for your room and board. Some might GIVE it to you in their dorms. It seems to vary widely.<P>But in ANY event, trainee seems to be a necessary STEP for many dancers. <P><p>[This message has been edited by JaneGrey (edited March 09, 2001).]

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 Post subject: Re: Top 20 Ballet Companies?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2001 9:49 am 
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Carol -<P>From what I know, and information is constantly in flux, mine may be out of date. Also I felt it was of most use to comment on the size and organization of the company, I haven't seen their productions, so these comments aren't artistic comparisons whatsoever:<P>American Repertory Ballet<BR>New Jersey Ballet<BR>are the two full-season ballet companies in NJ. Both tour, organizationally as of a few years ago, ARB was stronger.<P>New Jersey Dance Theater - I have never heard of them.<P>Festival Ballet of RI - does not have the same budgetary level as the NJ companies above.<P>BalletMet in Columbus Ohio - larger than the NJ companies, in flux because I believe the director, David Nixon, is going to the UK to take up a directorship. I recall hearing that at least at one time, the school had strong Russian training.<P>Cleveland Ballet - defunct. The operation has moved to San Jose.<P>Dayton Ballet - Similar in budget and organization to ARB, for a good reason, Dermot Burke once ran ARB and now runs Dayton.<P>Eglevsky - like Festival Ballet, etc. This is not on the same budget and employment level as BalletMet, ARB, Dayton. . .<P>Cincinatti Ballet - Like Ballet Met, a large organization that employs many dancers, I believe Cincinnati has an AGMA contract.<P>Ohio Ballet - In flux. Major organization and budget problems last year. Co-producing a few seasons with Dayton.<P>Any in Chicago in addition to Joffrey? - Not really, at least in terms of budget or organization.<P>Boston Theater Ballet - similar to Eglevsky.<P>Southern Ballet Theatre in Orlando (F. Bujones is director) - Jane said more than I can.


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 Post subject: Re: Top 20 Ballet Companies?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2001 11:09 am 
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CarolC:<P>For information about one of the healthiest ballet companies in the U.S.:<BR> <A HREF="http://www.milwaukeeballet.org/ballet.htm" TARGET=_blank>http://www.milwaukeeballet.org/ballet.htm</A> <P>I hope this brings it up. I was having some difficulty.<P>Milwaukee Ballet is 30 years old. Has been in the black for its existence except for a couple of years when it combined with Penn. Ballet before reverting back to single status. Healthy as in: funding, salaries, repertoire, sets, costumes, atmosphere (incredible, state-of-the-art studios and gorgeous Performing Arts Center), community support, faculty.<P>Detroit, Chicago, Minneapolis, all big Midwestern cities, were unable to sustain ballet companies on their own or otherwise. But those Milwaukee folk love their ballet as much as they love opera, symphony, sports and bratwurst.<P>Wonderful company. Wonderful town.<P>


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