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Which companies generally prefer the tall/short dancers?


DD Driver
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 The perennial question:  What are the companies that tend to like tall dancers? What are the likely companies for shorter dancers?

 

Of course this changes over time & with changes in AD's & depending on what is needed at any one time & there are many stories of exceptions to what a co. usually accepts

BUT there are trends - right?

 

We are looking at which summer schools - internationally -  to focus on and part of the consideration is understanding the preferences of the company that they feed into.    Given the costs for us it is worth considering the best prospects for our DC given her height.

 

Usually the answer to this is to do your research.  Trawl thru the co. dancer bio's etc.  Fair enough.  Asking here is part of my research.  

I am looking a couple of years in advance so only thinking about general trends.

 

Sometimes requirements are well known or openly stated.  The Bayerisches Staatsballet (Munich) recently put up an audition call for dancers:  Ladies min. 1.65 m / 5'5'' and Gentlemen min. 1.80 m / 5'11'' https://www.staatsoper.de/en/staatsballett/audition.html

 

 

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It's an interesting question. Here in NZ the shorter dancers seem to head for Asian (as in Oriental) companies. But another thing we've noticed is that foot size affects height en pointe. My DD is 5 ft 3 and the same height as many of her peers when standing 'flat'. But en pointe, her tiny feet mean she is suddenly shorter than them (and their legs look longer, unfairly!).

Edited by Cara in NZ
Remembering that in the UK 'Asian' often means Indian/Pakistani/Bangladeshi, whereas in NZ we mean 'Oriental', ie China/Japan/Korea/Hong Kong/Singapore
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Just now, Cara in NZ said:

It's an interesting question. Here in NZ the shorter dancers seem to head for Asian companies. But another thing we've noticed is that foot size affects height en pointe. My DD is 5 ft 3 and the same height as many of her peers when standing 'flat'. But en pointe, her tiny feet mean she is suddenly shorter than them (and their legs look longer, unfairly!).

 

Oh, that is ineresting Cara.  In Australia, I don't hear a lot about students doing Asian summer schools or more importantly audition tours.  However I do hear of people getting contracts, once they are trained and may have professional experience, working in Singapore and HK.

 

Given the success of many Chinese, Korean etc students at big comps it must be time to get serious about investigating their schools.   Or them getting serious about promoting summer schools.

 

I will tell my daughter - not tall but long feet - to start considering mentioning her height en pointe when filling in forms!  She is already rounding up her height and rounding down her weight.

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This is a whole new train of thought for me...

 

I see Universal Ballet Academy in Seoul does have summer and winter schools and I had not realised that they are linked with the Kirov Acadmy of Ballet in Washington D.C. http://www.universalballet.com/eng/education/school.asp

 

Also in Seoul there is the  Sunhwa Arts Academy and KNUA.  They offer Vaganova programs but I can't see a summer/winter school.

Edited by DD Driver
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Closer to home @DD Driver, Isobelle Dashwood of Australian Ballet is I think 5'10" maybe even a bit taller, and Yuumi Yamada is not quite 5'0". Clearly the current AD, whatever his other failings may or may not be, doesn't have an ideal height for female dancers!

 

Also, that audition call for Bayerische Staatsballett is weird. Their principal Yonah Acosta is 5'8", yet wouldn't qualify if he were required to audition!

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I think sometimes they just need a dancer or couple of dancers etc in a particular height range for the Company at the time of audition

 

Another year they may need a couple of smaller dancers depending on retirers and leavers in any year etc.

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2 minutes ago, LinMM said:

I think sometimes they just need a dancer or couple of dancers etc in a particular height range for the Company at the time of audition

 

Another year they may need a couple of smaller dancers depending on retirers and leavers in any year etc.

 

Yes, that seems to be how it works.  

Some of the feeder schools do get descriptive about what they want though.   POB, Vaganova and Bolshoi Academies publish their height/weight charts. 

They are traditional classical ballet schools/companies so maybe the conformity of the corp is more important for them.
 

I just wondered if people had experienced feedback on height preferences at any schools/companies.

I'm happy if the answer is don't worry about your height (within reason) - worry about your technique and artistry!

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A former professional dancer who now coaches students in Sydney stays with us when he's running workshops in NZ. He says that for women, they just have to have a 'matching pair' in the corps, ie another tall/short dancer to balance them out on stage. And that the height of the male principals often affects what they are looking for in female height ranges. He's average height, and partnered Sylvie Guillem back in the 1990s but found her just too tall when en pointe, and the centre of gravity made lifts difficult so he said no when she asked him to partner her again! (What a decision to have to make!)

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11 hours ago, Jan McNulty said:

Certainly, to my eyes, both BRB and NB have dancers ranging from the shorter side of tall to the tall.  I would say that RB and ENB also has a decent mix.  It's a while since I've seen Scottish Ballet so I can't comment on them.

 

Northern Ballet recently advertised for those wishing to audition in Jan 2019 to join the company - max height 168cm for women (no minimum stated). 

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I think that was a brave decision to make to say "No" to Miss Guillem.....but who was apparently at one time with the ROH famous for saying "Non" herself.....by rumour rather than fact will add!! 

However what a wise decision. If a male dancer feels uncomfortable partnering a female dancer because of physical differences like this he should feel absolutely free to refuse because it is potentially dangerous. 

Partnering is beset with dangers at the best of times which is why it's so totally amazing that mostly it all comes off so well in performances.....but imagine if the extra danger in an unbalanced partnership led to the loss of someone's career either to the male or female because of injury .....not a good scene I think. 

I think for Principals even the psychological elements in a partnership should be taken into account.....so that if one dancer feels particularly uncomfortable partnering another they should be able to say so .....regardless of perfect height matches .....which is probably why I would never have made it as a professional dancer even if I had the required talent as a dancer lol.....Just not tough enough!! 

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Definitely an important point!  In the 60s when I was looking for work I lost several possibles because of height - my lack of!  Although I was 1.62m which isn't too bad.  I remember doing a class audition with the Stuttgart Ballet and feeling totally as if I were in the land of giants!  Marcia Haydee, their star, was tiny and all the corps were tall in order to emphasize this.  Although they liked me, they couldn't accept me, because I wasn't ready to start as anything but corps.  Such is life!  Of course the bonus was that I often got picked at RBS to be Wayne Sleep's rep and pas de deux partner😊

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Lucky you!!

Wayne Sleep occasionally turned up to a Saturday class I used to do ....way way back now ....at Andrew Hardie studio in South Ken and it was great having him in class and he worked really hard too so a good example for us!! 

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Not officially as far as I know Tops. On most application forms they ask for parental heights so I think they use that information along with current height to guide decisions (especially for MDS). I know one DC who was told they didn't get an MDS due to being too short.

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On 30/10/2018 at 09:02, FlexyNexy said:

Taller dancers: Eifman Ballet i believe as well: Height: women - not less 172 cm ( 5’6”); men - not less 182 cm ( 5’9”). 

 

Men usually seem to be 5’10” minimum for a lot of European corps

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On 31/10/2018 at 12:45, Tops said:

Slightly away from original post but hopefully related. Does any one know if the UK vocational lower schools have any upper and lower height limits ?

Not that I know of, but we were worried when DS auditioned, as he is tall for his age. There is head and shoulders difference between the tallest and shortest boys in his class, but they are the best of friends.

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On 01/11/2018 at 17:38, sarahw said:

Not officially as far as I know Tops. On most application forms they ask for parental heights so I think they use that information along with current height to guide decisions (especially for MDS). I know one DC who was told they didn't get an MDS due to being too short.

The idea of using parental heights to work out final height of a 10-15 year old is completely fallible....

Dad 6’2”, Mum 5’6”, sisters 5’9”,

me??? 5’ (if I round it up!!)

And yes.... heard all the usual “ is your father the milkman?” jokes for years 🤣

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On 31/10/2018 at 12:45, Tops said:

Slightly away from original post but hopefully related. Does any one know if the UK vocational lower schools have any upper and lower height limits ?

 

I do know one girl who had to have a full assessment by one school to see if she would ever hit 5ft if the answer had been no they wouldn’t have taken her, the answer was yes but not any taller. 

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8 hours ago, Pointetoes said:

 

I do know one girl who had to have a full assessment by one school to see if she would ever hit 5ft if the answer had been no they wouldn’t have taken her, the answer was yes but not any taller. 

Even that can be wrong. I was always tiny as a child and did not reach the percentile charts. When I was 10, I had scans and x-rays of my bones including my hands. Drs told my parents I would be lucky to reach 4ft 8. I refused growth hormone injections-luckily. I am now 5ft 2- not a giant but outdid all of their assessments.

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On 05/11/2018 at 09:48, invisiblecircus said:

Generally speaking, American and German companies favour taller dancers, or at least accept them. Of course, I'm sure there are exceptions.

Germany, certainly. My DS was rejected by Berlin- reason: he has small feet, so was unlikely to grow tall enough 🙄 Never mind his father is 6’2” and shoe size 10.

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On 11/11/2018 at 06:13, Boys_can_dance said:

Germany, certainly. My DS was rejected by Berlin- reason: he has small feet, so was unlikely to grow tall enough 🙄 Never mind his father is 6’2” and shoe size 10.

 

Yup, my DH is 5ft 11 with size 8.5 feet. DD is 5ft 3 with size 3 feet that haven't grown since she was 12 (now 15)!

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On 05/11/2018 at 16:01, Canary said:

I was always told a male child will always be taller than the biological mother 

yet to meet the exception 

There is always the exception though.  My mum's best friend is 3 or 4  inches  taller than her eldest son, though her younger one was much taller than her.  

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