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 Post subject: Re: "the situation for a dancer in America is really unsafe
PostPosted: Sun Apr 21, 2002 7:25 pm 
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Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2001 12:01 am
Posts: 1876
Location: New England
Bijoux, thank you for your extensive list of things people are doing, that information is valuable for this discussion!<P>Everything has its pros and cons. I'm going to take the pessimistic side here and point out some of the cons.<P>Butler and NCSA: I sometimes wonder about the value of a dance degree for non-dance careers. On the other hand, I know a number of dancers who studied non-dance majors in college, usually maintaining some type of foot in the professional dance world while studying. Although Butler's program is truly top-notch, I'm not sure how well it addresses the problems discussed here. But maybe it does.<P>Courses at UMass Boston (Boston Ballet) or Fordham (NYCB): neither of these is a top-notch school. There's still this sense of severly sacrificing your education in order to dance. It would be nice if dancers had a broader range of school choices, so they could go to one that is appropriate. NYC and Boston have no shortage of universities.<P>Career transitions: if transition involves getting an education, the dance career, out of necessity, ends abruptly. I think that's sad to watch the dance career end Image, even as an exciting new career is forming Image!<BR><p>[This message has been edited by citibob (edited April 21, 2002).]


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 Post subject: Re: "the situation for a dancer in America is really unsafe
PostPosted: Sun Apr 21, 2002 7:35 pm 
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Posts: 1876
Location: New England
Hey, let's all try to keep it nice and civilized here, and be respectful. This is an interesting and pertinent topic, we come from a variety of perspectives, and we can learn from one another.<P>It would be a pity to see the thread closed prematurely.<BR>


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 Post subject: Re: "the situation for a dancer in America is really unsafe
PostPosted: Sun Apr 21, 2002 7:39 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 02, 1999 12:01 am
Posts: 2708
Location: Seattle, WA USA
Career Transitions for Dancers is an actual organization, based in New York and Los Angeles which enables dancers to make meaningful and "creative" transitions into parallel careers. I participated in one of their weekend workshops here in Seattle a couple of years ago, and found it to be extremely inspiring and empowering.


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 Post subject: Re: "the situation for a dancer in America is really unsafe
PostPosted: Mon Apr 22, 2002 5:33 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 19, 2002 12:01 am
Posts: 19
Location: Boston Mass
I was merely pointing out what Boston Ballet was doing for its dancers.It would be wonderful if they would establish a relationship with Harvard University,or MIT.I actually heard that some former Boston Ballet Dancers have gone to Brown University with the help of the "Dancers Resource Fund",so it is a good thing that they have it.Perhaps if someone in Boston Ballet is reading this,they might want to pass on the suggestion to try to have a relationship with some of the more "prestigious" schools of Higher learning...I didn't say that the choices the dancers had were great ones,but at least they are choices.I think many companies in the U.S. don't even have the option.....I think the decision to dance is a sacrifice,but most dancers must know that.If a company has anything to help the dancer move onto the next phase of their life,they should try to take advantage of it.If there is a college that is second rate,then use it for your prerequisites.(Freshman English,Math,which is usually an overview of what you had senior year in HighSchool,an intro to a foreign language...)If or when the situation arises when you need to think about your real future,then apply to the good schools.Many universities are interested in "life experience"and a dancer might fall into a special category.These are all just suggestions.I love Ballet and I truely feel for the unfortunate situation that many dancers will find themselves in,and I'm only giving my opinion.We don't live in a perfect world.If we did,then there wouldn't be poverty,or biggotry,and the government would support the arts and artists wouldn't have such an uncertain life.....


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 Post subject: Re: "the situation for a dancer in America is really unsafe
PostPosted: Mon Apr 22, 2002 6:06 pm 
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Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2001 12:01 am
Posts: 1876
Location: New England
Bijoux, thank you for sharing about Boston Ballet.<P>I was playing cynical Devil's Advocate; thank you for your examination of the realities and positive points as well.<BR>


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 Post subject: Re: "the situation for a dancer in America is really unsafe
PostPosted: Mon Apr 22, 2002 8:16 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 22, 1999 11:01 pm
Posts: 17498
Location: SF Bay Area
There is a program in the SF Bay Area called LEAP, run by Claire Sheridan at St. Mary's College, in which dancers get credit for their professional experience towards a Bachelor of Arts degree. Students have included Muriel Maffre of San Francisco Ballet, Corinne Jonas of Houston Ballet and Diablo Ballet, and Wendy Van Dyck of San Francisco Ballet and Lawrence Pech Dance Company, all highly respected dancers at the top of their art form when they were enrolled in LEAP.

Here are some useful links:

- The LEAP web page

- The "Dance Education for those not ordinarily considered as dancers......" thread

[This message has been edited by Azlan (edited April 22, 2002).]

<small>[ 08-09-2002, 13:22: Message edited by: salzberg ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: "the situation for a dancer in America is really unsafe
PostPosted: Tue Apr 23, 2002 7:58 am 
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Joined: Mon Apr 30, 2001 11:01 pm
Posts: 16
Location: San Francisco
The dancer-university education situation is not so dire. I know numerous dancers who attended community college or summer school during their dancing careers, then transferred to a top university after completing their professional engagements - in any class, there are students like this at Harvard, Stanford, Columbia, etc. Due to the rigorous workload at these top schools (where part-time is rarely allowed), it is not possible to dance professionally and attend concurrently (I know, as I tried...and guess which one won out!). That being said, top schools *love* accepting ballet dancers due to their drive, perfectionism, worldly experience.<P>I believe the more acute problem is not that the most intellectual dancers can't get a Harvard-caliber education, it's that the average dancer doesn't necessarily push to get college credits throughout a dancing career. Is it the ballet company's responsibility to enable dancers to get college credits? Seeing as there are numerous insititutions offering flexible schedules already (particularly in NYC and Boston), I think the issue get backs to the average dancer's priorities, which often squeeze out education and purely intellectual pursuits.


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 Post subject: Re: "the situation for a dancer in America is really unsafe
PostPosted: Tue Apr 23, 2002 8:12 am 
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Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2001 12:01 am
Posts: 1876
Location: New England
I think that talk about getting an education while dancing is a little (but only a little) off topic.<P>Educations cost a lot, and they don't really give much economic benefit until you're near the end. Going to school throughout a ballet career therefore would not help, in the short run, with any of the "unsafe and insecure" issues mentioned, until the dance career is over. Same with things like Career Transitions.<P>The resulting lack of safety and security makes dance careers shorter than they probably need to be.<P>


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 Post subject: Re: "the situation for a dancer in America is really unsafe
PostPosted: Tue Apr 23, 2002 8:38 am 
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Joined: Mon Apr 30, 2001 11:01 pm
Posts: 16
Location: San Francisco
Yes, tying ballet/education opportunites back to US v. Europe, it must be noted that a) secondary school in Europe is much more rigorous and a bit longer than it is in the US, and b) college in Europe is basically free (although where you go/what you do depends on your track from secondary school).<P>Ballet dancers aren't the only people in the US who have difficulty coming up with the funds for college - it would be hard to argue that they have any comparative disadvantage vis-a-vis adult students in general. <p>[This message has been edited by gigi (edited April 23, 2002).]


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 Post subject: Re: "the situation for a dancer in America is really unsafe
PostPosted: Sat Dec 14, 2002 5:30 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 22, 1999 11:01 pm
Posts: 17498
Location: SF Bay Area
I wonder if this situation has worsened given the economic climate? Does anyone have any personal experience to share?


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 Post subject: Re: "the situation for a dancer in America is really unsafe
PostPosted: Sat Dec 14, 2002 9:23 pm 
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Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2001 12:01 am
Posts: 1876
Location: New England
For the past 3 years, I've pretty much existed as follows: dance as much as you can, go to graduate school, and finance it all through consulting work. I've been lucky, in that I've been continuously employed as a consultant throughout this period.

It is harder now than it was before because hourly consulting fees gone down. The fees being paid in 1999 were absolutely ridiculous; there was no way it could last. Anyway, I seem to have come out the other end OK. And now I'm paid for dancing as well, which makes things easier.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 10, 2005 6:36 am 
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Joined: Sun Oct 24, 1999 11:01 pm
Posts: 19975
Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
It's now 3 years since we had these discussions and I thought it worthwhile revisiting this important theme to see whether things have become better or worse in the dance community. As an outsider, I won't pre-judge people's views, but I know which side of the bet I would place my money.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2005 9:55 am 
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Joined: Mon Sep 09, 2002 11:01 pm
Posts: 945
Location: Maryland USA
The Washington Ballet is having labor union problems citing safety and job security as the major issues. See Strike/Lockout for more details


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