Jump to content

Ballet Companies in Germany


balletla
 Share

Recommended Posts

i have noticed that there seems to be an awful lot of ballet companies in Germany and that this might be a source of employment for DD in the future.

 

Can anyone give an overview of the companies, how prominent they are and what sort of dance style they are known for e.g. classical ballet along the lines of RB or BRB or perhaps a more contemporary style?

 

Has anyone got any experience of auditioning for or dancing in any German companies?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Try to get hold of the small paperback book published by Dance Europe - it is a guide to companies and updated every couple of years or so. Most major towns in Germany have an Opera house with a ballet/dance company. For generations British dancers have found employment there. It is not as easy as it used to be as many of the bigger companies now have their own vocational schools too, so lots of graduates chasing every job. Some companies are more classical, but many are now contemporary. However, in general everyone auditioning will have to be able to do both.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes Germany still has alot of companies ranging from the very small to the big ones. Stuttgart, Munich (Bavarian State Ballet), Berlin are probably the 3 biggest but there are also many other fantastic companies. Neumeier is still in charge of Hamburg. The Semperopera in Dresden.

 

Austria also has quite a few.

 

My son, trained 6th form at elmhurst, was an apprentice in Vienna and has now done 2 years in Munich.Vienna he approached the company directly but Munich he was hired through their open audition. However I think since Manuel Legris took over in Vienna he too does open auditions.

 

Munich is a classical company but one that is suberb at contempory. Recently they have done Bausch, Forsythe etc. Their season is a mix of well know classics and newer pieces.

 

I would highly recommend auditioning in Germany. Some companies do describe themselves as neo-classical. Magdeburg is one that does. The companies do differ in what they are looking for. Munich is a "tall" company. A minimum height of 5ft 10/11 for men for example. Not all companies are like this though so there is a range.

 

Re comparable standard. The big companies the standard is every bit as high as RB, BRB, etc. I have not seen any smaller ones but my belief is they are very good. I know of people who have been in the smaller companies and moved after a year or so to larger ones around the world.

 

The only company I know well is Munich. Pay is good though costs can be very high in Germay. Living in Munich is very expensive. The Bavarian state Ballet toured China this season and have just been to the festival in Granada.

 

Some of the companies also have junior companies. Munich does and this seems to be growing and they have done quite a few of their own performances this year. Dresden has an apprentiship scheme. I think other comoanies do too. There are some excellent schools in Germany, Cranko in Stuttgart, Heinz Bosel in Munich, Palucca in Dresden and Neumeiers in Hamburg. They seem to really understand the transition from school to full professional.

 

Not all the companies do open auditions every year but most seem to use Dance Europe to advertise if they do.

 

Hope this helps.

  • Like 8
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Birgit Keil directs the lovely classical company in Karlsruhe and just across the border is the Ballet du Rhin - Mulhouse/Strasbourg? Maina Gielgud did her production of Giselle for them I think

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Some years ago, a dancer I knew, spent three years with Circus Roncalli. They used to have a small ballet ensemble who danced while setting up the big acts. I don't know if they still do this, but this and other European circuses could be a potential source of employment.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Although it is a long time since I got my first contract in Germany , there are a couple of things I can add which my be relevant.

On a normal befristete vertrag ( seasonal contract), which generally runs from mid August through to the following July notice has to be given by 31st October. This means you may start on a years contract in late August, and within eight weeks you will know whether you have got a renewalfor the following season. For those auditioning it means that from early November the theatre knows how many vacancies it has for the following season. Of course additional spaces can become available at any time due to injury, pregnancy , illness or immediate dismissal.

 

 

Sadly ( ;))I don't have personal experience of dancing in one of the larger companies, but can let you know some of the positives of the smaller ones!

If the small company is part of a 'dreispartenhaus'( a theatre with an opera, ballet and acting company), there is a great variety of performance opportunities. The opera singers perform in operas, operettas and musical, the actors in plays and musicals, and the dancers in their ballet programmes, musicals and operettas.

As a student I only ever dreamt of classical ballet, but I cannot begin to describe how much I enjoyed dancing acting and singing in productions from Rocky Horror Show, through West Side Story and Evita, via Banditenstreiche and la Perichole to Firebird and Petrouschka.

Heels, fish nets and leather one night, tutus the next - it was fabulous to have such diversity, and a decent classical class plus warm up every day.

 

I had friends who spent 6 months doing the same show 8 times a week in the West End, and others in larger ballet companies who were dancing less than they ever had before. In a small company we danced a lot!

 

There is a heavy tome available, issued annually, that lists all the German theatres, and all employees. You can see which theatres have a ballet company, who the director and the 'ballet master/mistress' is, how many dancers and what rank. As the surnames are listed, you can hazard a guess at what nationalities they are too, which can be helpful.

The book is called deutsche Buhnenjahrbuch, and is of course in German- but the relevant info is easy to translate- I've added a link to the order form!

 

 

 

http://www.buehnengenossenschaft.de/publikationen/jahrbuch

 

Hope this helps

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

In Vienna the ballet company did dance in Operas too a little. This hasn't happened in Munich but I know in other companies it does. Martin rang me from Vienna once to say had I heard of "La Traviata" as he was in it:-)?

 

I think in Munich you do know by the end of the Dec whether contracts are being renewed. That may be the same as the UK I've no idea I'm afraid.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

So interesting to hear about the number and variety of companies in Germany. They must spend a lot more on the arts than we do in the UK - perhaps they can afford more because they are more successful economically.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes I wish my dd had done German now but she chose Spanish and French back in year 7 when ballet companies weren't at the front of our mind! :)

 

Luckily my dd seems to be quite gifted in German, getting 100% in her recent exam! She's taking Russian too in Year 9 - she's decided it might be useful in ballet! :-))

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

 

Luckily my dd seems to be quite gifted in German, getting 100% in her recent exam!

 

That's great Spanner,I managed 90% aged 12, and at 16 an o level, then 3 years no German whilst at Central....when auditioning there I knew lots of useful phrases, ( what is the best way to the train station? Etc), but hadn't the foggiest idea what the replies meant.

I think once working there it only took 6 weeks before I was dreaming in German - complete submersion really helped, I'm really glad I had my rusty school German as a basis.

I hope your dd is Russia bound :)

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

So interesting to hear about the number and variety of companies in Germany. They must spend a lot more on the arts than we do in the UK - perhaps they can afford more because they are more successful economically.

They are state funded in Germany, so you become an employee of the state. There have been many cutbacks, and a lot of smaller companies have gone, or amalgamated with neighbouring cities. Still the arts are held in greater esteem in Germany, and a Sunday afternoon operetta followed by coffee and cakes is a regular occurrence. Perhaps it harks back to the amount of great composers, pets and playwrights who are German born?

The theatre is part of everyone's life. There are plenty of children and youth theatres, providing productions for the young all season, thus from a young age children become theatre goers.

I spent many seasons as a freelance choreographer, choreographing musicals at theatres which were acting companies.When they put on musicals they hired musical directors, orchestra/band, and dancers ,alongside their core of actors . All state run and funded.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes, it's a fantastic school if you're academically minded! In year 9 she can choose between Russian, Italian or Spanish as a third language, with the option of Japanese in year 12 as well. She adores German and likes French too, so is excited about starting Russian. I don't know of any other schools in our area that offer so many languages. :-)

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Do the German and Austrian companies recruit many of their junior dancers from their associated schools or is the situation like that in the UK ie their dancers come from many different schools at home and abroad? Similarly, are their principals dancers who have worked their way up through the companies or are many recruited from outside?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Angela has interesting news about funding cuts. So Germany isn't immune. I'm not totally sure but my understanding of somewhere like Munich is they do have funding but by no means 100%.

 

Aileen you asked about recruitment. both Munich and Vienna do take from their schools.When Martin was an apprentice in Vienna he was the only one not from the school. In Munich certainly I think the junior company has ex Bosel members.

 

Re the company principals. Munich seems much like BRB, RB etc that there aren't necessarily many nationals as members. I think Munich has very few German dancers. Vienna I'm not sure and also, since Legris took over I'm sure there have been changes. Also Vienna has two companies one for the Staatsoper and one for the Volksoper. Munich has many nationalities, English, Russian, American, Brazilian, Australian just to name a few. A wonderful experience to work in such a varied cultural group.

 

I would highly recommend that if someone fancies a week-end away and can get to Munich to see them dance it is a treat. they are a very talented company. The National theatre is beautiful, all very central and Munich is a great city. I haven't been to the Prinzregenten Theatre but am going on Sunday:-)

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for updating Julie & the link. I knew that budgets were being cut,and companies were regrouping and indeed smaller companies have been lost along the way. Those employed in Staatsballett and at Stadttheater are still employed by the state though?I second the advise to visit Munich is a beautiful city with a wonderful company.

There are also a number of small independent contemporary companies, with a strong contemporary dance scene in Cologne.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This makes me so sad because although my DD loves German and they have been tasting German, French and Spanish languages this past 2 years, the school is dropping German as a choice in Year 9 due to lack of interest!! She will have to choose Spanish (doesn't enjoy French) and I am wondering if she could do a correspondence type course for German?
Link to comment
Share on other sites

If she is really keen some of the CD courses are really quite good. They give a good grounding. My husband loves the Michel Thomas ones, though I don't. Martin did a month in Berlin before he went to Vienna to kick start the learning and a CD course at home. Not sure which one but just one from Amazon.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On the language question, whilst it is highly desirable and (IMO) polite to speak the language of the country one is staying and/or working in, I glean from the fairly wide range of teachers I have watched give class to usually a very international mix of dancers or students that English is the lingua franca of ballet - apart from the of course traditional French names of steps, positions etc so that with a bit of both usually a dancer can take class anywhere in the world and know exactly what's what!

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On the language question, whilst it is highly desirable and (IMO) polite to speak the language of the country one is staying and/or working in, I glean from the fairly wide range of teachers I have watched give class to usually a very international mix of dancers or students that English is the lingua franca of ballet - apart from the of course traditional French names of steps, positions etc so that with a bit of both usually a dancer can take class anywhere in the world and know exactly what's what!

 

Perhaps because I was only in smaller companies, I don't know...but this wasn't the case for me. I could manage in class, as the enchainment were in French, but for the first few weeks I really struggled in rehearsals as I couldn't understand the directions, or the corrections, which were all in German. My first performance had been in the repertoire the previous season, so there were only a couple of newbies, and just a few studio rehearsals before we went to the stage. It was daunting to say the least.

Our director was Hungarian, and the majority of the dancers Polish, and the common language was German. Later we had a Polish director and after some awkward situations we were told officially that all rehearsals were to be conducted in German.

It was a small company though, with only 20 dancers on full contracts.

You do pick it up quickly though when needs must.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

This makes me so sad because although my DD loves German and they have been tasting German, French and Spanish languages this past 2 years, the school is dropping German as a choice in Year 9 due to lack of interest!! She will have to choose Spanish (doesn't enjoy French) and I am wondering if she could do a correspondence type course for German?

 

 

Could you and any other parents rally round and ask the school to change their minds? Or even perhaps ask the current German teacher to set up a German club at lunchtimes or after school for those wanting to continue.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We have actually challenged the Board of Governors but they are being told to make cut backs and this is the language that will go, including the teacher. I'm thinking that we spend so much time in the car to and from lessons that we could BOTH do a course on CD!!

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

 

Could you and any other parents rally round and ask the school to change their minds? Or even perhaps ask the current German teacher to set up a German club at lunchtimes or after school for those wanting to continue.

 

A surprising amount of towns have German-British clubs, it might be worth googling. Not the same as learning it, but exposure to it will help., and perhaps lead to you finding someone who can pop round for coffee and conversation?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...