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body shape in USA


pointyfeet
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I'm not generalising and certainly not qualified as a teacher however my DD was in the Freed shop last year and some New York City Ballet dancers were in there and they looked tall and slim with very nice posture and poise.

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I think it depends on the company. There are a lot more classical companies given the size of the US. Smaller regional ones are possibly less strict on body shape than the top well known ones. Even then, I think the different top companies look for slightly different things. Some are more well known for taking a taller dancer, for example.

Edited by munchkin16
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Companies. My daughter will be starting her 3 year training from September and she has not got the typical ballet figure. She lacks leg length thats all. Her ballet teacher keeps telling me she should dance in the US as they are not as fussy with shape.

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Will your daughter be starting 3 years of vocational training in the States? If thatis the case,then I think the fact she has been offered a place at a vocational school proves she DOES have the correct shape,and her length of her legs must be perfectly fine.

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Every ballet company will have its own preferences which are linked to the AD's preferences, and ADs can change quite frequently in some cases. However, there does seem to be a growing trend in Europe towards taller, thinner dancers with very long legs, which I believe is following the general trend which exists in Russia and America. However, the U.K. companies seem behind the trend on this and quite a few of the dancers hired at the Royal Ballet in recent years seem to have relatively longer bodies and shorter legs again.

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Does anybody know how long legs should be. ( silly question i know ). My daughter wants to know

Don't take this as gospel, since I'm not a dancer or anything myself, but it really depends. For instance, there seems to be more of an emphasis on long limbs, long neck, small head, etc. on Balanchine dancers (ex. those at SAB). 

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In all honesty, pointyfeet, there is absolutely nothing that can be done about leg length. It is what it is.

 

If any student makes it through Upper school training without being assessed out or sustaining a game changing injury, then they are lucky. At that stage, some change their mind and go to university. I have heard of beautiful, perfectly proportioned dancers graduating from top schools and being unable to get a classical ballet contract. So to worry about leg length at this stage is an unnecessary worry. Your daughter may not have finished growing yet, or she may have. If she is at - or going to - a good school where they will be constructive but honest, she may be told at some point that she does not have the right proportions for a classical company. That would give her time to rethink. But all these are "if"s and "but"s and there will be many more things to worry about over the next three years than leg length. :-)

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Yes, I think Harwel is right. It will be hard to get a paid dance contract in the States without being a US citizen. I've heard of dancers who have been employed in European companies as soloists being unable to get a work visa for the States, even though they had job offers.

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This is a vast generalisation, but I think that tall female dancers are more accepted in the US than they are in Europe, which is not to say that shorter dancers are any less accepted.

 

In terms of proportions, the US is just as strict, if not more so in some companies.

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I can't say how it is in Europe, but in the U.S., varying companies employ dancers with varying body types.  Everyone looks at NYCB as the ballet company who hires tall and lean dancers.  Take a look at their dancers and you will see that they all vary in shape.  Sara Mearns is very athletic, Ashley Bouder is tiny and then you have other dancers who are average height.  I'm sure they have their tall and lanky dancers, but it is not a prerequisite.  If you look at ABT, they also have varying body types.  PNB and Ballet West have the reputation for hiring taller dancers and San Francisco Ballet has a reputation for hiring shorter dancers.  I guess it seems that one can find a company that suits his/her body type, audition and then wait and see!

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