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Jobs for graduates in Europe - the future?


Goldenlily17
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Hi, I have just been collating info about where the graduates from British ballet schools find work and I see that it is overwhelmingly in European compnanies. We all know how hard it is to get posts in British ballet companies, especially for girls, and that visa restrictions in the USA are draconian, so it more or less rules out the USA. If we leave the EU and visa restrictions are introduced it will only make the job market even harder. Where on earth are out talented young dancers going to work? It seems to me that Europe is a vital market for them.

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Just thinking about Visas. I danced in Japan ,on various six month contracts, although sometimes longer. We HAD to leave Japan after ,I think  it was four months ,for our work visas to be renewed. The agency that employed us just sent us to Hong Kong or sometimes the Philippines [anywhere as long as you leave Japan for a few days] for 3 or 4  days and paid for everything. Then we were able to return to Japan a few days later and our visa was renewed. It was THAT straightforward. If a company hires you, they will sort out the paperwork for you.

Edited by Lisa O`Brien
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Ok. Thanks. I think this is such an important issue. It really concerns me that given the shortage of jobs anyway. As it is already impossible to get into Paris Opera Ballet, for example, it seems that it would be inevitable that other European companies would put up barriers, or just find the bureaucracy of visas too much of a hassle.

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Lisa, yes, but things may have changed since then.  Certainly the amount of bureaucracy will have increased. 

 

Ironic, isn't it?  I saw something the other day - think it was probably the front page of a newspaper - about some movement among mothers to vote for Brexit so that they could make sure their children could get jobs without having to fight those nasty migrants ;) for them.  Clearly they don't understand the concept of reciprocity, or freedom of movement to look for work.

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Just looking at the graduate destinations for Royal Ballet and Elmhurst students alone for 2014 and 2015, there have been more than 16 European companies which have provided jobs for young dancers. More jobs have been provided on the continent than in the UK, especially for girls. More than a third of these jobs have been in Eastern Europe, in Estonia, Romania, Czech Republic, Croatia, Slovenia, Serbia. If Eastern Europeans who wish to travel further west to work are no longer entitled to do so, why should these companies employ British ballet dancers?

I think anyone in the dance world planning to vote Out needs to think very, very carefully about the consequences. I can't see our national companies changing their bias for dancers from the Americas and Asia in particular, and if they do it will take a great deal of lobbying to achieve this. In the meantime our young dancers and no doubt musicians who want to build careers in European orchestras, could be the casualties caught in the cross-fire.

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Does no one think it strange that so many British trained dancers find work in Europe rather than with British companies? Is the explanation simply that there are far more dance companies in the EU than there are here and thus many more opportunities for employment in Europe than Britain can provide or are the directors of British and European ballet companies looking for very different things in the dancers whom they recruit?

 

I recognise that companies do not recruit a fixed number of new dancers each year and that this clearly affects the individual graduate's likelihood of employment. I also recognise that a graduate's chances of employment are heavily influenced by the tastes of the ballet directors concerned. But do these factors provide the entire explanation for the recruitment patterns of British and European companies?

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Speaking of the tastes of individual ballet directors, 6 out of 9 of English National Ballet's lead and lead principals are either South American or Spanish. Lauretta Summersales is the only British female lead. There are no British female dancers among their 1st soloists, soloists or junior soloists. Tamarin Scott is the only female first artist. It does make a travesty out of the idea of English National Ballet.

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Does no one think it strange that so many British trained dancers find work in Europe rather than with British companies? Is the explanation simply that there are far more dance companies in the EU than there are here and thus many more opportunities for employment in Europe than Britain can provide or are the directors of British and European ballet companies looking for very different things in the dancers whom they recruit?

 

I recognise that companies do not recruit a fixed number of new dancers each year and that this clearly affects the individual graduate's likelihood of employment. I also recognise that a graduate's chances of employment are heavily influenced by the tastes of the ballet directors concerned. But do these factors provide the entire explanation for the recruitment patterns of British and European companies?

Quite a lot of British-trained graduates are from overseas and came to the UK for their training, so maybe that could be part of the reason why so many leave our shores on graduation?

Edited by taxi4ballet
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English National Ballet, formerly called London Festival Ballet, is so named because it tours around England. The name does not refer to the nationality of its dancers just as Birmingham Royal Ballet doesn't just recruit dancers from Birmingham and Northern Ballet doesn't just recruit dancers from the north of England. It's true that most of ENB's senior dancers were born abroad although many of them trained at UK upper schools eg Erina Takahashi, Fernanda Oliveira, Shiori Kase, Ksenia Ovsyanick, Alison McWhinney, Junor Souza, Fernando Bufala. Btw, Begona Cao is a British dancer, born in London I believe, who trained at the RBS; she is a principal with the company. I have to say that Tamara Rojo seems to have a penchant for Cuban and South American dancers. I can't say why that is but you've probably heard of the concept of people recruiting in their own image ie people like them/people who they can identify with. David Bintley seems to like dancers of East Asian origin, possibly because he has worked a lot in the Far East.

 

Returning to the original question, I think that the future will be bleaker for British dancers. Rightly or wrongly, in practice non-EU dancers seem to get visas to work in the UK without any difficulty but there must be a disincentive for European companies to take British dancers if they have to get a work permit for them. Of course, it would all depend what deal was struck following a Brexit. If the UK signed up to the Single Market and had to agree to free movement of people (like Norway and Switzerland) then presumably nothing would change. However, if the UK chose to forgo the Single Market and required everyone from outside the UK to obtain work permits then no doubt the whole of the EU would impose similar visa requirements. Are there more British dancers working abroad than there are European dancers working in the UK? I would be interested to know the answer to that question.

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There is the issue of (currently) non-EU workers having to earn at least £35K to stay here eventually.  Presumably that would apply to non-UK workers if we come out.

 

I don't think anyone except the top-flight dancers at the Royal earn huge amounts so that could affect the lower ranks of the UK companies.

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Personally I don't find it strange that so many British trained dancers find work with European rather than British companies.  If you look at Britain versus all the countries in Europe, then obviously there are way more companies abroad.  Even if each country had only one ballet company, the numbers of companies and dancers required would still outnumber the number of British ballet companies. Yes a directors taste will influence who he or she hires but I am sure that if you looked at the destinations of graduates training in any single country in Europe getting a contract in the same country versus the rest of Europe, the same picture would emerge.

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Personally I don't find it strange that so many British trained dancers find work with European rather than British companies.  If you look at Britain versus all the countries in Europe, then obviously there are way more companies abroad.  Even if each country had only one ballet company, the numbers of companies and dancers required would still outnumber the number of British ballet companies. Yes a directors taste will influence who he or she hires but I am sure that if you looked at the destinations of graduates training in any single country in Europe getting a contract in the same country versus the rest of Europe, the same picture would emerge.

Are there any female Artistic Directors of ballet companies anywhere ?

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Is the explanation simply that there are far more dance companies in the EU than there are here and thus many more opportunities for employment in Europe than Britain can provide

 

 

 

Actually, pretty much. Most largeish German towns have a "Stadttheater" - the city theatre, which is usually a set of permanent companies: opera, ballet, and theatre, plus orchestra. Imagine if:

Newcastle

Manchester

Liverpool

Plymouth

Bristol

Exeter

Hull

Cardiff

Swansea

Chichester (or Canterbury)

Chelmsford

Norwich

 

all had permanent professional ballet companies, as Birmingham & Leeds & Edinburgh do? 

 

In all the scare stories about EU migrants,  we forget about the huge numbers (in the millions) of migrants from Britain in the rest of Europe. And the rights of UK citizens to move freely and work throughout Europe.

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Lauretta Summersales is the only British female lead.

 

No she isn't.  Begona Cao has been a principal for years.  Just because the name doesn't sound British is no reason to assume they're not British.

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In 2015 there were 28 graduating students at the Royal. Only one of them, a girl from Japan, Chisato Katsura won a contract with the company. There were only 3 female students from Britain who graduated. 2 of them got apprenticeships at the Royal, but that isn't a job. Neither of the contracts given to female dancers by ENB were won by British girls and the only other Brit to get through the Royal's third year, Grace Horne, got a job at Scottish Ballet.

The situation at ENBS wasn't much better, two girls from the UK got contracts with ENB. At Elmhurst the situation was worse. One graduating British girl out of a year group of 17 got a job with BRB.

It really isn't encouraging, especially if you look at the composition of the national ballet schools in for example Denmark or Germany, where the bulk of students will are from the host countries.

Only two British girls made it through from White Lodge to the Upper School for entry in September 2015. The other two British girls who got in came from Elmhurst and from Tring.

I don't know how many parents who are trying to support their daughters through training really know how bleak the prospects of success are. It is gutting to see how 11 year olds who get into White Lodge think they will be the next Darcey when so few will get into Upper School and even then the chances of getting into the company virtually nil. These days the only more certain route to success is winning or at least getting noticed at an international competition

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Ballet is an international art. It always has been. The first performers of what we now see as ballet in London were French, Italian, and German. 

 

At an elite level, British dancers work all over the world. And aspirant dancers come to Britain from all over the world, for the training which leads the world. I think this is something we should be proud of!

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I don't know how many parents who are trying to support their daughters through training really know how bleak the prospects of success are. It is gutting to see how 11 year olds who get into White Lodge think they will be the next Darcey when so few will get into Upper School and even then the chances of getting into the company virtually nil. 

 

Twas ever thus. 

 

We live more than ever in a globalised world. As a taxpayer who pays a shedload of tax which goes toards subsidies for ballet, opera, contemporary dance & so on, I don't necessarily want the Royal Ballet or other UK companies to become backwaters for "UK-born only" dancers. I want the opportunity to see the best dancers in the world without having to go (again) to MOscow or Seoul or Tokyo or Sanfrancisco (well, I wouldn't mind going there!). I can see them in LOndon, in BIrmingham, or even in my little countty town here via cinema live broadcasts.

 

If we want the very best performers in the world to entertain us, then that's what we should be aiming for. Or do we consider ballet as akin to an industry which needs protecting from the competition in the rest of the world?

 

Please, remember that all the training in a performer's lifetime is not just or only for the achievement of a little girl's dream to be the next Darcey Bussell: it's to produce performers, who entertain us. They have to be very good to do this, and as audiences, we deserve the best. 

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And, while talking about prospects target than the EU and the dreams of those entering WL in year 7 (for example), it's about giving them the opportunity to earn a living doing what they love and maybe finding they'll turn out to be something special. But it's good we have discussions like this if it means people go into it with their eyes a bit more open. Too many parents I met in our vocational school years seemed to think that getting the place meant future success.

 

And another female AD in Estonia - my son's old boss!

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Northern Ballet took 10 new dancers on last year (including apprentices) - 5 of them are British and trained in British vocational schools.

 

Kate_N has made some excellent points.

 

Just to say, too, that with only 5 "big" companies as well as the smaller companies like Ballet Black, Ballet Cymru - if you look at the number of students graduating and the number of places available it is obvious that only a small percentage of those graduating will get jobs with British companies.  And those jobs are dependent on vacancies being available at the companies.

 

British-trained dancers are lucky that our world-class training gives them job opportunities all over the world.

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There is the issue of (currently) non-EU workers having to earn at least £35K to stay here eventually.  Presumably that would apply to non-UK workers if we come out.

 

I don't think anyone except the top-flight dancers at the Royal earn huge amounts so that could affect the lower ranks of the UK companies.

 

You can stay if you've been here for more than ten years regardless of your income I believe. That might mitigate the exodus a bit.

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Do other countries have such a poor success rate for their dance school graduates? If not then I would support a degree of protectionism. It's a bit analogous with football - our young players not getting a chance as overseas players are bought in. Does the quality of dance in the USA suffer for protectionism?

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It's not necessarily a bad thing for students to have to move abroad: I think it must be a pretty blinkered life for many, and taking at look at something from the outside can give fresh perspectives.

 

sarahw, it's a question, as ever, of reciprocity - we can't have it both ways.  If you would support a degree of protectionism for UK students, then how could you complain if e.g. German companies (given that Kate_N has mentioned them above, not for any other reason) decided to apply the same to their students, thereby blocking out UK students from *those* jobs (and don't forget, we have at least two British dancers who made it to Principal in German companies)?  Not to mention that from what I understand about the Swiss situation it doesn't sound as though a Brexit would allow the UK to apply such protectionism anyway.

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