Registered: 1248285652 Posts: 2,166
Registered: 1212174184 Posts: 1,877
Reply with quote #2
Unfortunately, dd and I know many people who have spent the money and taken 4 years to get a degree, only to never get a job. These days, almost no one gets a company job straight out of school meaning college OR high school. Companies know that they can use people for at least a year or two of either free labor or worse - making students and parents pay to be a "trainee" in the top level of the school or second company member, which doesn't necessarily mean dancing with the company.
One person she knows graduated from a good dance university, became a trainee or second company member (whatever it was called at the time), got injured, took the year off, was an apprentice for 2 years and is now in Corps, but is at least 24 or 25. Another good friend graduated early with a BFA, paid to be in a second company and after that year got a job offer at a tiny regional company for basically enough to pay a week's rent and one offer where she would only be paid if she performed, and the trainees and second companies there are huge. No guarantees of performance. She's not dancing anymore. There are many more who just audition at cattle calls and never get anywhere. I am almost positive that one person in the Company at OBT went to college first out of everyone, men and women, but I didn't go check bios to confirm. AD's do not care if you've been to college. They want you to dance well, be extremely tough, learn fast and deal with life. How you get to that point means nothing to them. It wasn't the right move for dd. She was ready, but I'm sure it depends on the person. Like the article says, some kids need maturity and college can help with that. People should keep in mind that women have a shorter ballet "life span". My personal opinion is that there are so many talented girls coming straight out of high school, it's not worth it to go to college first. You are going to put your free and/or very underpaid time in no matter when you go, so do college later. Also, by doing that, focus can change......maybe been there, done that, don't want a BFA anymore. People may have a whole different look on life after a ballet career. There is no "formula". What works for one person, won't work for another. Just my thoughts.
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Registered: 1407373522 Posts: 607
Reply with quote #3
I suspect that directors don't think much about the background of the dancer.
Is s/he technically flawless and arresting in their presentation? Lets invite her/him to the next audition, with 30 or 40 other technically flawless young dancers with amazing feet and lines and see which catches our eye the most. In fact, lets have them come for a five or six weeks of summer intensive so we can really get to know them and get a feel for their personality and work ethic. Then we'll invite some of them to hang around for the next year training and performing for free and buying their own shoes. At the end of the year maybe we'll give one of them a contract for 36 weeks out of the year... If they don't mind making minimum wage for their time in class, rehearsal, and on stage. I honestly think the ballet world is that brutal. I suspect commercial dance is about the same.
Registered: 1329494474 Posts: 6,375
Reply with quote #4
Originally Posted by
ggsmith I suspect that directors don't think much about the background of the dancer. Is s/he technically flawless and arresting in their presentation? Lets invite her/him to the next audition, with 30 or 40 other technically flawless young dancers with amazing feet and lines and see which catches our eye the most. In fact, lets have them come for a five or six weeks of summer intensive so we can really get to know them and get a feel for their personality and work ethic. Then we'll invite some of them to hang around for the next year training and performing for free and buying their own shoes. At the end of the year maybe we'll give one of them a contract for 36 weeks out of the year... If they don't mind making minimum wage for their time in class, rehearsal, and on stage. I honestly think the ballet world is that brutal. I suspect commercial dance is about the same. It's certainly not for the average bear lol If someone is looking for safe, easy, routine... ballet is not for them. But, of course, the same could be said for a lot of other professional ventures. 'Brutal' in different ways, but brutal just the same.
As far as college for ballet though... I just can't make it make sense for my own dd. I'm still of the old school mindset in that I think that the purpose of college is to prepare for a career. Does it add life experience/opportunities for personal growth? Sure. But it's not like the alternative is locking them in a closet. Dancers who don't go to college have many life experiences/opportunities for personal growth that dancers who go to college do not. And having been to college myself, I know for a fact that college can just as easily stunt your personal growth LOL. Generally speaking it's more what you do than where you do it. I actually think that 4 yrs of college would be more likely to derail dd... make her less likely to want to risk taking on the true challenges associated w/pursuing a performance career (given all that debt) than increase her odds of success. Plus, the way we view it, not spending money unnecessarily now is just more money that will be available later.... for whatever education may be necessary to successfully switch gears when that time comes. I'm all about rolling with it.
eta: also, I wouldn't expect any popular dance magazine to dissuade dancers from going to college. College is where it's at right now... more colleges offer dance programs than ever before. We're talking big business. And magazines get ad revenue from these programs. It'd be like expecting a seminar at a convention that offers college scholarships to advise dancers that college is not really necessary. The article, if you ask me, was predictable.
Registered: 1248285652 Posts: 2,166
Reply with quote #5
"Most programs sell a dream that they know they can't deliver," cautions Mikko Nissinen, artistic director of Boston Ballet, where hiring college graduates is far from common. He notes that a resumé listing connections and repertoire performed at school may provide entry to the audition studio, but dancers then have to prove their technical and artistic abilities.
Many people in the ballet world still view most BFA programs as too dissimilar from the professional realm to be truly competitive. The insulated bubble of campus life can mean students don't realize they're not performing at a high enough level.
"Students need more exposure to the realities of what the professional world requires—they have to understand that if you want to get a job, there is no optional class, you have to be serious, show up day in and day out and know all your material," says Carney. In a company, you would lose your job for frequently missing rehearsals or eating in class, but in some dance departments, undergraduates may be allowed to slip in their professionalism.
Some directors feel the hardest part of attending college can be the many distractions, like parties, all-night study sessions, excessive drinking and a disregard for the basic human need to sleep. "Dancers must keep their bodies healthy and strong," says Julie Kent, artistic director of The Washington Ballet. "A lot of times the college lifestyle renders proper nutrition difficult."'
Even with limited dining-hall options and little time for cross-training, students must maintain their physical form in the same way a professional would. However, it is by no means impossible to keep up the daily intensity required to stay in shape: One of Kent's first hires after arriving at TWB was EunWon Lee, who earned a BFA from Korea National University of Arts in Seoul.
The key is staying passionate and competitive. If an undergrad wants a career in the professional ballet world, it is up to them to find an institution that provides the tools necessary to train at the level the industry requires, and then take advantage of every resource and opportunity to improve. College may not be the most common pathway to a professional ballet career, but it has all the potential in the world to develop artists who can change the art form for the better.
Registered: 1329494474 Posts: 6,375
Reply with quote #6
Classydance..... given that you have now followed up with a snippet from the article, can I assume that there is some point you believe is being made that we have missed? Is there a specific direction you're hoping to take this thread?
The first segment "The Benefits Graduates Bring" combined with the final paragraph is why it just looks like another typical plug to me. The supposed warnings from a handful of ADs? They're just there as a heads up, not to suggest that dancers should perhaps reconsider the path. The very last line in the article says it all imo.