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 Post subject: A few Questions from an Aspiring Dancer
PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2005 7:24 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 19, 2003 11:01 pm
Posts: 4
Location: New England, US
These have been bothering me and I figure I might as well post them that way I can get a good range of answers.

1. Even though everyone is saying that dancers should be healthy and that companies aren't looking for the super-tiny dancers, everyone is still looking incredibly small. Whether they get there via drugs, eating disorders, or naturally fast metabolisms (when their lucky), what are companies looking for? I know very few want a bulky dancer, but should you be going for that muscle definition or the tres petite look?

2. What are the average ages of a new corps member, female? Now that there are more studio companies and apprenticeships does that mean the average age of a company member is raising?

3. Is it a better idea to audition for the studio company or the company company, or will the company make that decision?

There just doesn't seem to be any clear information about this in between point of a dancer's life. I am in between my small rural school and a company. I know I have the potential for a company spot, but it would be more realistic if I knew how to approach this whole situation.

How do we know which companies to audition for? And when? Should we request auditions or should we do the winter big audition tours? Or both, I figure to do both, if one doesn't work. Sorry for this being so long, I'm just nervous and naive-ly hopeful, but skeptical of the whole situation as well. Interesting mixture, any responses, whether to the questions or just in general, would be incredibly helpful, and GREATLY appreciated. Thank you and take care,

Thanks

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Last edited by mkl6462 on Sun Jun 05, 2005 8:49 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jun 04, 2005 4:51 am 
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Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2001 12:01 am
Posts: 1876
Location: New England
Don't be surprised if you're not as close to a professional career as you might imagine. You might need some time in a larger ballet academy. Have you been to any summer intensive programs outside of town? If so, what feedback did you get there?

This thread probably belongs under Student Questions.


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 Post subject: Re: citibob
PostPosted: Sun Jun 05, 2005 8:55 am 
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Joined: Fri Sep 19, 2003 11:01 pm
Posts: 4
Location: New England, US
I have been to out of state programs, including Joffrey's summer program in New York, Kaatsbaan Summer Intensive, and Briansky Saratoga Ballet Center. I have been accepted to other programs, sadly there is only so much time in a summer and so much money in the bank account. However, that hasn't seemed to give me a lead on any companies. I am hoping that going back to Kaatsbaan this summer will help me... And Iwill be auditioning for some schools as well.
Thanks for your comment. I don't know how to transfer this post to another forum... If anyone can help let me know. Thanks again,

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jun 05, 2005 2:26 pm 
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Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2001 12:01 am
Posts: 1876
Location: New England
I can only answer these questions based on my own experience, for the most part at Jose Mateo's Ballet Theatre in Cambridge, MA.

1. The female dancers I know tend to lose fat and build muscle within a year of moving from student to professional status. This is a gradual and natural process that's a result of rehearsing 8 hr/day. Healthy eating is always a good idea. Drugs, eating disorders and "special" diets are all bad ideas. The companies I know look more for a dancer who can dance well than for a dancer of any particular build.

2. Unless they enter later, dancers enter the company as an apprentice upon finishing high school. This is the point at which they have time for company rehearsals since they're done with school. Of course dancers enter the process at varying levels, but sticking it through and commiting the time are half the battle.

3. From what I've seen, the main difference between the studio and professional company is one of time: studio company dancers rehearse afternoons and go to school during the day; professional company dancers rehearse all day. Of course, this difference in time results in different levels of work over time.

If you had the time to commit to the company but were not yet at the required level, you would likely end up as an (unpaid) apprentice until it were possible to hire you. I did that for two years.

> How do we know which companies to audition for? And when?

Like many directors, Mr. Mateo will allow someone to audition at just about any time. A resume, cover letter and headshot will be summarily ignored; presence in the studio is required to get his attention. He's willing to teach anybody starting at any time; however, he hires new dancers when slots open up in the company: most often for the Fall or Nutcracker seasons. This is because Nutcracker shows require more dancers than other shows; Nutcracker is always the easiest time to get hired in ballet.

The surest way to make it into the company has always been to study at the school, work hard, be patient, and find a way to support yourself in Boston in the meantime. A demonstrated willingness to stay and train with the company goes a long way as well. Many directors would rather hire someone they've worked with as a student and know can do the job and will behave reasonably, rather than a random dancer off the audition circuit who might turn out to be a nutcase and might move on quickly. A lot of investment goes into dancers, and that investment is lost every time a dancer moves on.


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