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 Post subject: Professional
PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2001 3:04 pm 
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Joined: Sun Feb 11, 2001 12:01 am
Posts: 21
Location: Australia
What do you need to have to become professional?


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 Post subject: Re: Professional
PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2001 5:26 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2000 11:01 pm
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Location: San Diego, California, USA
I assume you mean as a dancer. You need good teachers. You need to be dedicated, focused and work hard. You need a certain amount of inborn facility. And, you need some luck, too. <P>Never hurts to have some luck.<P>If you make your question more explicit - so I will endeavor to make my anwer more explicit.


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 Post subject: Re: Professional
PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2001 12:45 am 
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Joined: Tue Sep 05, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 3129
Location: Guildford, Surrey, UK
I went to a workshop yesterday and some of the lectures were lead by West End professional directors and performers and all of them said that nowadays to be a professional dancer you not only have to get the choreography quickly in an audition you also need to adapt to lots of different styles very quickly.<P>I would say that taking lots of different classes or attending workshops in different styles is important for a dancers training these days - obviously in addition to the grounding work of technique.<P>As one of the lecturers said - there is no easy way to make it, just hard work and lots of it. Luck will certainly help - but the grounding has to be there.


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 Post subject: Re: Professional
PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2001 2:16 pm 
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Joined: Sun Feb 11, 2001 12:01 am
Posts: 21
Location: Australia
What do you need to have to become a professional classical ballet dancer, to join a big company such as the royal or australian ballet?<BR>


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 Post subject: Re: Professional
PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2001 5:01 am 
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Joined: Tue Feb 13, 2001 12:01 am
Posts: 241
Location: the Netherlands
I am curious also, Basheva and others! <BR>What is the maximum age to do audition? What is the maximum weight for length 1.68 (age 13)? What do they look on at auditions? And well, all that kind of things?

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The man who makes no mistakes does not usually make anything...<P>


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 Post subject: Re: Professional
PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2001 6:06 am 
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Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 13071
Location: San Diego, California, USA
I think you would find that different companies look for different things. There is no one answer. Of course they want you to have a good technique - a good basis. <P>Companies are getting away from weight measurements - even height measurements. Sometimes they need a specific type of dancer - someone who is very good at dramatic dancing - or sometimes a lyrical dancer. It depends on what they need at the time.<P> But mostly I think they look for an all around dancer. Someone who learns quickly - that is important. If you are hired into the corps de ballet, they want someone who is good as working as a member of a team. A dancer who is adaptable to different styles of dance - like classical - or romantic - or neo classical. Dancers today have to be able to do many different types of dance.<P>All of this is much more important than height and weight. So, if I were you I would concentrate on working hard at getting a good strong basic technique. Get all the experience you can. <P>


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 Post subject: Re: Professional
PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2001 7:08 am 
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Joined: Fri Dec 15, 2000 12:01 am
Posts: 498
Location: neworleans, louisiana
Re another aspect of what it takes to be a professional:<P>Show up on time. Have a good attitude and be ready to work. Don't make excuses about why you aren't doing or can't do something. Nobody cares about the myriad of reasons you muffed that turn or step. Nobody also wants to see you cry or whine. This is particularly pathetic the older you get. <P>Maintain a good expression and positive attitude while attempting again and again. Be able to laugh at yourself. Also, remember a major point of class and rehearsal is to goof up. Go ahead and get all those errors out of the way. Don't let anyone else tell you otherwise. Those who act like they're perfect during class and rehearsal and behave like hypercritical hawks while advising you of your flaws are the very people who screw up on stage, where it really counts. You, on the other hand, will have worked out all your kinks ahead of time with humor and grace, and will know how to correct what previously went wrong.<P>Finally, rehearse full out. Energy is a wonderful thing. The more you use, the more you generate. <P>Again, the more you use, the more you generate.<P>There are people who constantly say, "I'm saving it for the performance. If I don't, I won't have anything left." What a bunch of bunk.<P>The best people I ever worked with, and who also had great longevity as performers, were those who really performed all of their work, all the time -- body, face, attitude, the works. <P>Also, be prepared physically and mentally. Be organized. Don't create histrionics in the dressing room or backstage -- e.g., "I can't find my belt!!! Has anyone seen my eyeliner? Did anyone bring a brush?" Blah, blah, blah.<P>Be ready to work with a variety of dysfunctional people, but don't become one yourself. Maintain other interests. Read, learn about history and geography and current events. Listen to music. Go to art galleries. Cook. Have some friends apart from dance as well. Get enough sleep and allow yourself ample time alone.<P>Also staying mentally sharp will enable you to pick up and maintain combinations better. You can establish yourself as the intelligent dancer. Don't forget to think about the combinations and routines a bit after class and rehearsal. Directors notice the dancer who always returns doing things just a bit better than the day before. <P>The more professional you are, the longer you will last in the business. <P>


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 Post subject: Re: Professional
PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2001 8:01 am 
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Joined: Fri Dec 22, 2000 12:01 am
Posts: 68
Location: IL, USA
Great post, Christina! If I give you credit can I post this on the studio bulletin board?

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It is not knowing the answer that matters, but what question to ask...<BR>


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 Post subject: Re: Professional
PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2001 9:34 am 
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Posts: 498
Location: neworleans, louisiana
Thanks, and sure.


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 Post subject: Re: Professional
PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2001 1:02 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 13071
Location: San Diego, California, USA
It is a great post Christina - really.


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 Post subject: Re: Professional
PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2001 1:47 pm 
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Joined: Fri Dec 15, 2000 12:01 am
Posts: 498
Location: neworleans, louisiana
Thank you, as well, Basheva. It's simply a mishmash of thoughts about my experiences with other people over the years. Inside every one of those points is a story I wish I could transmit telepathically. <P>Also -- when you work with a consummate professional, you are pushed to not let up yourself. I worked with a Danny Kaye type who could sing, hoof, play guitar, and act, and he looked and moved like a youngster even though he was well into his 40s when I worked with him. Although we were partnered occasionally in a group number, people always said it was a shame that something could not have been choregraphed specifically for us together because our energy was so well matched. He was also an intelligent, curious person who made friends easily and had an outrageous sense of humor and a strong sense of independence. I think we were much alike there, too. Personally, I think that the directors (who also performed) tried to reel us in from time to time. It was a sad day in France when they became so controlling in this respect that in the span of one minute, he gathered his things and left the tour and the troupe for good, bounding about the country on his own, and having quite an adventure, I'm sure. It's amazing that while we are encouraged to exude and shine, we are also curtailed if it becomes threatening. <P>I was the lead singer in this troupe as well, but one year, did not sing, and instead did far more dancing. There were several new 'singers' added that year, who were not familiar with me in that 'hat' until one singer became ill and a replacement was required on dress rehearsal night. We did a quick and dirty run through in the dressing room, and one of these 'accomplished' singers said to me, "Nothing personal, but you don't blend." In order for me to blend, I had to bring it down to a whisper. When the director heard the result of this person's admonition to me, he quickly ordered everyone to open their #$%!!!?@#$ mouths and start singing for real. <P>I remember reading in Ann-Margret's autobiography that she was considered to be the female equivalent of Elvis. What she meant was that they both were like comic book characters in their larger than life stage personas. She was the only female, I believe, who ever could share the stage with him and hold her own. In every number she does with him in "Viva Las Vegas," they actually feed off of each other's energy. It's over the top, and yet wonderful to watch. There's one number they do where they don't sing at all, just dance together while a black blues combo plays and sings. Throughout the whole dance, they maintain complete eye contact and stay within about a quarter inch of each other. It's possibly the sexiest duet I've ever seen by two hoofers. <P>I'm sure we all can relate to how wonderful it is to take class with the kind of dancer who pushes and pushes, and in so doing, gives you the impetus to keep up. That's why I love to take class with a really good male dancer. Call me sexist, but there's an additional energy I don't find in a class of women alone. However, this doesn't mean that I don't also find it wonderful to take a class with women alone when the teacher really focuses on nuances that are particular to women and makes it a very 'feminine' class. I am thinking, in particular, of taking the Uzbekistan workshop, using veils and bells and flirtatious eye movements. Such a welcome respite from the squatting and huffing and puffing that is indigenous to a steady diet of Eastern European fare.


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 Post subject: Re: Professional
PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2001 2:24 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 13071
Location: San Diego, California, USA
I also loved taking class with the men. When there wasn't a separate class for them - I would go down the diagonal with them.<P>I am fairly tall for a dancer - 67 inches and I really like to <B>MOVE</B> - I cover a lot of ground - and dancing with the men really made me feel great.<P>Going down the diagonal with the women was fun, too, of course - but sometimes I just needed to "feel the wind in my hair" and then I knew it was time to join the men.


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 Post subject: Re: Professional
PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2001 2:44 pm 
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Joined: Fri Dec 15, 2000 12:01 am
Posts: 498
Location: neworleans, louisiana
You are the same height as Shirley MacLaine. Cool.


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 Post subject: Re: Professional
PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2001 6:50 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 02, 1999 12:01 am
Posts: 2708
Location: Seattle, WA USA
I saw an all-male class at NYCB once; only female in the class was Patricia McBride. She did everything the men did, except big diagonal grand allegro at the end. She was very spirited and worked incredibly hard...your post Christina about "attitude" reminded me of her. She seemed like the consummate "professional".


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 Post subject: Re: Professional
PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2001 7:34 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 13071
Location: San Diego, California, USA
Prima Ballerina Maya Plisetskaya was also well known for taking the men's class and her large movement and jumps.<P>The thing that I noticed about those consummate professionals that you mention Trina - was their single mindedness of purpose, and their clear vision of the goal they were pursuing.


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