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Height of professional ballet dancers.


primrose
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A lot of the European companies seem to like a height of 5ft 5inch for girls which made it tricky for my DD who is 5ft 3inch! But happily not all want that so she could still audition for plenty of places. She emailed or wrote to 36 companies, did 11 auditions and was offered 2 short term contracts which she didn't take as she'd have had to leave school early. One offer but they didn't have a contract free yet (very annoying and an expense we could have done without) and a proper job offer...phew!

A good place to look is Network dance, auditions are put on there and you can also find company names and address and to be honest that's what we did. Dd sent her CV to a whole list of companies and just emailed them direct to ask if they either had an audition or if she could take company class. Actually once we got an idea of where companies were we started looking on a map for larger cities to see if they had ballet companies and that's how she found the the company in the Czech Republic where she has now been offered a contract starting in August.

 

Its a very expensive time and after we'd added up what we've spent I need to lie down in a dark room! :-)

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Congratulations Daisybell, your dd has done so well she is another girl who has worked so hard for what she has achieved. I am a bit worried at the moment as I think that Heather is about 5ft 7inch. She isnt worried at all saying that there are a lot of tall dancers amongs the Russians. From a mothers point a view you cant help worrying can you.

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Its really difficult with height as different companies (and countries) have an idea of what is right for them!! The one thing you can't change is genetics and how they grow!!! Too tall, too short, legs too long, legs too short, hips too wide, hips too small, the list seems to be endless!! Its a tough profession and one that takes such strength of character to pursue - I take my hat off to all of the DC out there. Congratulations to your daughter for getting a contract and to you as well for surviving the process!! :)

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Both BRB and NB have got lady dancers who, to me, look tiny. Actualy BRB and NB are both full of dancers through the height range. I think that's why I love these companies so much - they are full of individuals but they dance as companies (if you see what I mean).

 

On stage a smaller dancer can still fill the space with his or her presence - just think of the glorious Ambra Vallo! I remember being absolutely shocked when I saw Irek Mukhamedov come out of the stage door in Manchester once. I'd seen him dance Spartacus and I thought he was at least seven feet tall, his presence was so enormous! I think he's around 5'8"!

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My dd is tiny, 5ft . She is well aware that there will be much fewer opportunities for her. Still it does not put her off!

 

I am certain that will restrict any offers she may get for vocational training too.

 

She takes the view that it's her dream and there is nothing she can do about her height but she will try to perfect her technique and performance qualities!

 

On the plus side she should be easier to lift!

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My DD is now 5'8 and still only 13 so probably has not finished growing. She has begun to think that the possibility for her to dance is looking over. I know she is sad about it. Non dancing DD is 15 and shorter with smaller feet. Eleven years of ballet classes and various other dance classes for years too and the reality of height and physique is now here. We now have to think about what to do and whether to let some dreams go. There have been some tears shed already. We do have some dance things lined up for the summer but in the long run I don't know now.... :(

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My dd is 15, and not yet 5ft - if she reaches that dizzy height she will be ecstatic!

 

However, like your dd Ecarte, she knows there is nothing she can do about her height and focuses instead on improving technique and performance skills.

Height will definitely come into play at 16 for vocational sixth forms but there is always the more contemporary route at 18 - fortunately my dd loves both.

 

And sometimes, being small is an advantage: they will always be noticed in a line up, and often get to be at the front! And there are parts and solos that suit smaller ones - my dd has already been lucky enough to benefit from this and that has really helped her confidence. As far as any lifting goes, they all fight over her as it's just so much easier - and that includes the girls (in contemporary, I mean!)

 

I don't think height (whether small or tall) should stop anyone from pursuing their dancing dream.

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The stage of the Bolshoi Theater is the largest in the world. Some very petite ladies have filled that stage with their presence - with their aura such as: Ulanova, Maximova, Pavlova, Kschessinskaya, Plisetskaya - and many more.

 

One would think that the smaller the woman the easier to lift - but this is not necessarily so - can be - but not automatically so. The overriding goal is for the man and woman to compliment one another - thus a smaller woman would dance with a smaller man. If either is too short or too tall for the partner the lines will not match - the curves of space will look distorted.

 

It is more important in how a woman aids her partner in lifting her - her impetus - than size alone.

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Klaris, height shouldn't stop someone's dream but the harsh reality is it probably will and unfortunately tall is probably worse than petite in that respect. DD does do contemporary but even with this I am sure there are some limits to who passes auditions.

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I think being very short and being very tall does make you stand out from the crowd when all stood at the barre, but is this for the right reasons. Life would have been much easier I would imagine if my dd had have stopped growing at about 5ft 5. Nice and average. We are not at the professional audtition stage yet and I was just wondering if there were many tall dancers of say 5ft 7/8 who were at the auditions who managed to get selected. I know many companies look for different things but averagely what do they look for.

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I have one DD who is 17 and 5 ft 2 also very petite,we thought for years that she would be too small for a company but she is in full time training and hasnt been told she is too short.My other DD is taller and only just 14 so chances are that she will get taller.We have been to see a lot of ballet and have noticed that some are short and some very tall.Last night on sky arts we watched Paris Opera there was one girl who looked a lot taller than the other ballerinas and she had a main part.

Well done Daisybell to your daughter.

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I do understand what you mean, Robin64, but take heart - there are an increasing number of taller dancers out there now. And as far as contemporary goes, we have seen a lot of that over recent years and have noticed a number of really tall girls dancing so beautifully.

 

It is definitely true that whatever end of the scale a dancer is, if they are not average height then they will absolutely have to be excellent.

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Most companies give their requested heights on audition info. One of the best places to find out about auditions is "Dance Europe". They also produce a book listing European Dance companies. Not all companies do open auditions. Look up companies and send a C.V to those you are interested in and ask to attend Company Class. Some will let you some won't. Make sure you are attending on a day the director is around!

 

Extremes in heights are difficult either way. We have found certain countries look for taller , or shorter. For example Germany seems to have taller dancers. 5ft 10/11 is the minimum height for a male auditionee in Munich whereas in many other countries it is 5ft 7. Not all German companies of course. My son's general experience after auditioning was France and Portugal were "smaller" than Germany and Austria. But again that is a snapshot of that time.

 

The real problem is a corps is meant to be balanced so no-one sticks out. I'm sure life becomes simpler for soloist role:-)

If a girl is very small it is as much of an issue as one who is tall but there are jobs. Asia has some little girls.

 

Congratulations to all those who have job offers for the new season. A huge achievement.

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taxi4ballet - my DD is the opposite.

 

The other girl she's always paired with took a stretch a while back and is now at least an inch taller than my DD - however when they are in their Inter Foundation class and doing their pointe work DD is back to being the same height - her friend has tiny feet and my DD is a size 4. She's only 12 and not yet 5' tall - so we liken her to Coco the Clown when she's walking in her pointe shoes as her feet just look enormous! (I believe it's my job as a parent to laugh at my DD with these things - then if anyone else makes a comment she just shrugs it off as it's nothing she hasn't heard before from us! - ha ha)

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Robin - my daughter is currently dancing with a girl who is just over 6' so her height hasn't prevented her from a career in dance, although not currently in ballet. My advice, for what it's worth, is for your daughter to continue training, hold onto her dreams, whilst always being realistic, as at 13 who knows what artistic directors and choreographers will be looking for in 5 - 6 years time. We all try to speculate as to what vocational schools and companies are looking for but in my experience it's impossible to second guess.

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who knows what artistic directors and choreographers will be looking for in 5 - 6 years time. We all try to speculate as to what vocational schools and companies are looking for but in my experience it's impossible to second guess.

 

I don't think they know what they're looking for half the time!

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Thanks for the encouragement. Last week I went in to finally hand in our notice to stop ballet lessons after DD had reluctantly gone to a pointe lesson and I felt it was time to stop and she agreed. After 11 years it was a very big decision and quite emotional. Well, what do you know..DD came out of the lesson saying "I hope you haven't given in the letter, I know it's been hard but that lesson was great, the teacher was supportive and I just can't give up, I love it too much" I didn't know whether to laugh or cry! So we are back on the rollercoaster! I have been away this weekend but coming back and reading your responses has been so nice. I am glad we have faced a bit of a crisis in a way because DD has had to really think and assess what she loves about ballet and has made the decision for herself with no pushing from me although deep down I was disappointed about her giving up. It won't be easy but she is determined to work through the issues with her difficult feet and ankles and her teacher feels that it is not an impossible task. Luckily for her other forms of dance seem to come quite easily but as you all know ballet is just very special.

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