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 Post subject: Lack of American dancers in Major European ballet compa
PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2001 8:00 pm 
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Location: Seattle, WA USA
When I attended the recent Seattle performance of Netherlands Dance Theatre I, I noticed the lack (0) of Amerian dancers in the company--South American, Canadian, Australian, British dancers...no Americans. I was wondering if there's something in American training which precludes them. Some have hinted that to many in Europe, American ballet dancer = Balanchine, ie. a very specialized, stylized type of ballet dancer. (some would argue that point)Others have noted that they think there may be Americans in NDT II...? Anybody know?<BR>DOES American ballet=Balanchine? Now that I think of it, I can only think of maybe two major American ballet companies which are not headed by Balanchine people-Tulsa Ballet Theatre (perhaps a regional co., but their AD is Italian) and Boston Ballet...hmmm, I'm not actually sure who the director is there, but I dont' think they're Balanchine-derived; I could be wrong. <BR>Can we hear from some of our Canadian, Australian and European friends on this..what is the perception abroad? Are American dancers considered versatile or stylized, ....?


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 Post subject: Re: Lack of American dancers in Major European ballet compa
PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2001 3:07 am 
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Location: The Bronx is up; the Battery's down
Houston Ballet's Ben Stevenson does not have a Balanchine/NYCB background. I believe it was Deborah Jowitt who once asked in print why there is a British ballet company in Houston.

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 Post subject: Re: Lack of American dancers in Major European ballet compa
PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2001 5:20 am 
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Location: IL, USA
American dancers are regularly on the roster of companies in Germany, Italy, Spain to mention a few countries and HAVE been a part of Netherlands Dance Theatre over the years as well as Bejart's old company. As for the question concerning Balanchine training as how it affects membership in European companies, one just has to attend SAB's yearly workshop to see the representatives from companies all over the world who offer contracts to the 'graduating' dancers. Of course, just because a contract is offered, doesn't mean that it is being accepted.<P>As for Ben Stevenson in Houston; I danced for Ben briefly during his very ill-fated stint in Chicago and was offered a job when he went to Houston (I turned it down as I didn't want to move to Houston and was uninterested in the full-length ballets that were to be an intregal part of the repetoire). The board of directors, fueled by large amounts of Texas oil money was interested in a company and school that would mount these huge full-length productions and Ben was an Artistic Director who had a proven background and huge interest in this area.<p>[This message has been edited by Cabriole (edited February 16, 2001).]

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 Post subject: Re: Lack of American dancers in Major European ballet compa
PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2001 7:58 am 
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Location: California
Several reasons that might be considered:<P> Many countries in Europe (the Netherlands among them) have very strict work laws regarding foreign workers. They will give every opportunity to a Dutch dancer first, then an EU dancer, before they consider anyone else.<P> Germany has always been a favored spot for American dancers to go. But, many Americans do not like also having to be "stage fodder" in the operas; and in many cases, the ballet companies are subsidiaries of the Opera company. In only a few German cities did the ballet companies emerge as an equal or dominant artistic entity, providing the chance for a great deal of creative growth (i.e. Stuttgart and Hamburg)<P> And, as romantic as it may sound, living in a country several thousand miles from family and roots can be a challenge for many people. Language, social structure, and even food can be difficult.


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 Post subject: Re: Lack of American dancers in Major European ballet compa
PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2001 11:37 am 
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I think it can be said that there is a history either past or even in the present where Americans have been excluded - or given limited entry to European dance companies.<P>But has it ever worked the other way around? Have American companies a history of limiting the use of foreign dancers?


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 Post subject: Re: Lack of American dancers in Major European ballet compa
PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2001 4:44 pm 
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Actually, unless you have some special "pull," it can sometimes be quite difficult to hire a foreign dancer. American work laws can be interpretted very strictly - i.e. if an American can do the job just as well as the dancer you propose to hire, you must hire the American.<P> Somehow, you need to establish the fact that the foreign dancer you wish to hire has a special ability/knowledge that you cannot find in a native-born worker. Sometimes, you can get around this by showing special area of training (knowledge of BOTH classical ballet and Chinese traditional dance, if you are doing a specialized repertoire, etc.)<P> I once tried to hire a Canadian dancer and was told that the three categories of workers currently being allowed into the country were: medical profession; members of religious orders (i.e. monks); and SHEPHERDs. Apparently, U.S. sheep are in dire need of direction. The dancer ended up getting provisional work status as a spouse - because his wife was a nurse, and was hired immediately.


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 Post subject: Re: Lack of American dancers in Major European ballet compa
PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2001 4:48 pm 
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Foreign dancers please note: To work in this country, and get a supplemental income to augment that low paying dance job, apply for a job as a shepherd.


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 Post subject: Re: Lack of American dancers in Major European ballet compa
PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2001 10:24 pm 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Basheva said:<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>I think it can be said that there is a history either past or even in the present where Americans have been excluded - or given limited entry to European dance companies.<P>But has it ever worked the other way around? Have American companies a history of limiting the use of foreign dancers?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P><BR>I agree with wordfox that there is a test of special skills or ability for a European to gain employment in the US. My knowledge is limited, but the only UK dancer I'm aware of in a major US ballet comany is Christopher Wheeldon, but he has stopped dancing now to concentrate on choreography. There is a UK male dancer in the Cunningham Company and there have been various UK dancers in the Graham Company over the years.<P>Not sure what the basis for your first assertion is Basheva.I can think of 2 US dancers currently in the RB, Sian Murphy and Melissa Wishinski. In addition, Ethan Stiefel is guesting at the moment and there is no doubt in ny mind that if he wanted to he could stay. In addition there are two Canadian dancer at high levels in the comapny Jamie Tapper and Johan Persson. Rambert Dance has two US dancers Deirdre Chapman and Brendan Faulls and there are usually one or two Canadian dancers in the Company. <P>Of the 14 dancers in NDT2, 3 are from the US. As the rationale for NDT2 is as a lead-in for the main company, it will be surprising if at least 1 of them doesn't get into the main company. Glenn Tuttle who is the AD of NDT2 is US and used to dance in the main company.<P>Ballett Frankfurt is run by an American William Forsythe and there are 9 US dancers out of about 30 in the Company. This is more than from any other country.


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 Post subject: Re: Lack of American dancers in Major European ballet compa
PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2001 7:46 am 
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Stuart - I was really thinking about the past - and wondering about the present.<P>It was my impression that in the past the Russian companies - Bolshoi, Kirov - hired few to no foreign dancers, except as a guest artist. I don't know if that is still true.<P>I also thought there was a time - that the Royal Ballet would only hire dancers from the British Commonwealth of Nations - except as a guest artist (like Nureyev). <P>So I guess my question (which I didn't make very clear) is: - was that true in the past?<P>How about the Paris Opera Ballet - was it true for them also to exclude foreign dancers at one time - except as guest artists?


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 Post subject: Re: Lack of American dancers in Major European ballet compa
PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2001 8:38 am 
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Cynthia Harvey was a Principal with the Royal for 2 years. I was a soloist with the RWB for 4. Most of the company at that time were Americans.


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 Post subject: Re: Lack of American dancers in Major European ballet compa
PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2001 11:33 am 
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This gives a lot of good information. Interesting that both the executive director of NDT I and II are both Americans!<BR>I knew that many ballet dancers in the smaller ballet/opera companies in Germany, for example, were/are American. I guess I'm wondering about MAJOR companies...Stuart you gave some good info about RB. I had a mentor back in NYC (American) who was offered a contract with Royal BAllet, when she was quite young. She was told she's have to give up US citizenship--she declined. This was a while ago, so I''m not sure how that works now. I checked out Pacific Northwest BAllet program, looking under the dancers' bios. I would guess that roughly 75% + of the male soloists and principals are from Eastern Europe or Russia. In addition, one is from Mongolia, one from France. I was thinking to myself..is it STILL, in 2001, so hard to get American male dancers of that caliber!?<BR>From the European perspective, I guess I was wondering more about stylistic concerns, rather than immigration law issues. Of course, this would be much harder to ascertain. Doesn anyone have any "clues" "scuttlebut" (spelling) about European training in ballet vs. US. I know that there are not many Balanchine headed companies there-maybe a couple in Switzerland..but, I'm not sure!<P>[This message has been edited by trina (edited February 17, 2001).]<p>[This message has been edited by trina (edited February 17, 2001).]


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 Post subject: Re: Lack of American dancers in Major European ballet compa
PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2001 1:37 pm 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Unfortunately the POB website has no details about the dancers, but my impression is that all or virtually all are graduates of the POB School and the majority, but not all, will be French. However, I'm on shaky ground here and I hope someone who has a better knowledge of the Company will come to our aid.<P>trina, regarding Major companies, to my mind the 2 outstanding ballet companies in Europe are POB and Ballett Frankfurt.<P>Basheva, by and large in everyday usage over here we tend not to think of Russia as part of Europe. The problem is that some of it is and some of it isn't. But the Kirov and the Bolshoi as far as I know only recruit from their schools. Although Western dancers guest with these companies I'm not aware that any non-Eastern European/Russian dancers have joined these companies.


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 Post subject: Re: Lack of American dancers in Major European ballet compa
PostPosted: Sun Feb 18, 2001 3:41 am 
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Location: Bristol, England
Looking quickly at a 1998 programme for Birmingham Royal Ballet, I see info. re. these principals and soloists:<P>Catherine Batcheller (born Maine, trained Washington, danced with SF Ballet)<P>Joseph Cipolla (b. New York, tr Am Academy of Ballet, d. with D Th of Harlem)<P>David Justin (b. Texas, d. with Dallas Met Ballet and SF Ballet)<P>Dominic Antonucci (b. Ohio, tr. Sch of Am. Ballet, d. with ABT)<P>Grace Maduell (b. New Orleans, tr there and SF ballet sch, d. with NO Ballet and SF Ballet)<P>Rachel Peppin (tr. St Louis and Joffrey Sch., d. with Atlanta Ballet)<P>These six are from a list of 28!


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 Post subject: Re: Lack of American dancers in Major European ballet compa
PostPosted: Sun Feb 18, 2001 10:55 am 
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Location: Seattle, WA USA
Thanks Richard!! This gives some good insights! We appreciate it. In the US, unless one has the means to travel a lot (now we can travel by cyberspace which helps a lot!), we feel "cut off". Reading Dance Magazine and such only helps so much!!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 19, 2006 2:59 am 
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Location: Estonia
Quote:
Skilled American Labor Heads Overseas, in Toe Shoes
by ERIKA KINETZ for the New York Times

ON Nov. 22 Armando Braswell, a young dancer who graduated from the Juilliard School late last month, put down a $547.63 wager on his future. That bought him a plane ticket from Kennedy Airport to Milan and back again, via Amsterdam. His classmate Bryna Pascoe made a similar bid, but her plane ticket cost $30 less. The goal of both journeys was the same: to make the leap from being a dancer with grand ambitions to being a dancer with a job.

published: June 18, 2006
more...


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