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Nationality of dancers


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England seems exceptional in that the majority of dancers at principal/soloist level in the main companies here do not come from the home country.  Now I am not saying this is a bad thing as it is great to be able to see, frequently and in-depth, some great dancers from abroad.  But it puzzles me.
 

Current figures, from company websites:
Royal Ballet – 17 from UK 27 from abroad (total 44)
ENB – 3 from UK, 21 from abroad (24) – making one wonder if English National Ballet is the correct name
BRB – 13 from UK (one even from Birmingham!), 15 from abroad (28)
Northern Ballet – half from UK and half from abroad (20)
 

Contrastingly, the Paris, Milan, and Russian companies are comprised of an overwhelming majority of home grown dancers with very few ‘imports’.  The same applies to ABT, Australian Ballet etc. Why do you think this is?

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If the UK is able to offer top-flight dancers from around the world job opportunities that they are keen to take - presumably as being better offers than anything available to them at home - does it matter?  Ought we not to rejoice in such a situation?  And if not ...........?  

 

By and large, it's not an issue I'd lose sleep over.

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37 minutes ago, Sim said:

The English Premier League has very few English players and it is considered the best football League in the world.  Just sayin'.....

 

The UK is not the best place for ballet in the world... with or without foreign dancers...just sayin’.

 

Edited to add that the football analogy itself is rather hotly debated. That’s probably for another forum...

 

very few of the worlds best players play in the premier league. (This season may be considered an anomaly if you read today’s news based upon the success of the 2 UK teams in the champions league last season.

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@toursenlair wrote:  Stuttgart Ballet: 2 from Germany, 23 from abroad

Royal Danish Ballet: 5 from Denmark, 17 from abroad

Dutch National Ballet: 2 from the Netherlands (soon to be 1), all the rest from abroad.

I only looked at the largest companies, although I know the above three have a good reputation too.

@alison Scottish Ballet is a smaller company, much as I love them.  I  was thinking of the 'big fish'.  I didn't have time to investigate every little company that exists.

@Ian Macmillan wrote: 

If the UK is able to offer top-flight dancers from around the world job opportunities that they are keen to take - presumably as being better offers than anything available to them at home - does it matter?  Ought we not to rejoice in such a situation?  And if not ...........?  

 

By and large, it's not an issue I'd lose sleep over.

 

I'm not suggesting anyone should lose sleep, I am just curious about people's opinions.  And I am not particularly happy that these top-flight dancers are getting better offers abroad than at home, no.  I can understand a certain amount of movement - which can only be a good thing - but this seems extreme.  Take Xander Parish's case, for example. He was overlooked at RB but has now blossomed.  I don't think we, as a country, can afford to lose too many male dancers in particular.  We are obviously doing something different and I wonder what, and whether it is by design or accident.

@Sim I am not sure that most would agree with you about the English football league, but that's another story altogether.


 

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14 minutes ago, SwissBalletFan said:

 

The UK is not the best place for ballet in the world... with or without foreign dancers...just sayin’.

 

Edited to add that the football analogy itself is rather hotly debated. That’s probably for another forum...

 

very few of the worlds best players play in the premier league. (This season may be considered an anomaly if you read today’s news based upon the success of the 2 UK teams in the champions league last season.

Well many people think the UK is the best place for ballet in the world.  It’s entirely subjective.  Just sayin.  And the English league isn’t just about its players.  It’s also about its history and how it functions.  More people around the world watch the English league than any other one.  

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I never normally partake in these discussions. I have no idea what ratio of home grown artists versus foreign ones are employed in the UK, Germany, US etc, nor do I care. The Royal Ballet Upper School has long been seen as the best bet for getting into the RB, BRB (Sadlers Wells in my time) But for years graduate dancers have done the tour of Germany, which used to and still does, have many more state funded opera houses than the UK. Others joined smaller touring companies and later, with more experience under their belts went on to dance with Northern Ballet, Cullberg etc Now, with the advent of the internet and budget flights of course the ballet world has become smaller. I'd never heard of many European schools 30 years ago, let alone found the opportunity to fly to different countries and audition. Ballet is international. For all those students at RB, ENB, Elmhurst etc who don't get a contract with the associated companies, well maybe 20 years ago, that might have seemed 'end of story'....Now they can audition all over the place. Look further afield to Eastern Europe for example, there are plenty of British trained dancers employed. Please lets not enter into an unnecessary discussion about who is better, and why. Every company has it's merits, as does every dancer. And lets not forget that the vast majority of extremely talented dancers may not have the opportunity to dance for the 'Big' houses. Ballet is International, but in terms of physique, luck, being in the right place at the right time, having the 'right look for the contract the company needs to fill, it is, as so many other professions, elitist........I have no idea about football.

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4 hours ago, Colman said:

Didn’t we have this discussion recently? 

After reading this, I had another search through and found an interesting old thread (from 2012) in which @Jan McNulty listed the numbers of English vs foreign dancers in the RB, ENB etc at that time... and the numbers of English dancers were considerably higher than they are now.  So the situation seems to be becoming more extreme.

I honestly didn't mean to cause controversy by opening this topic, but am genuinely puzzled as to the state of affairs.   We still get to see good ballet, so it isn't really a problem for the audience, but I do wonder if it is a problem for would-be dancers here, and if so, what can be done about it.  The old thread did mention that maybe teaching isn't competitive or strict enough here.  I have  no idea if that is a reason or not.

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