Jump to content
Peanut68

Radio 4 Any Questions.....Ballet needing recruitment from overseas

Recommended Posts

OMG!!! Just tuned in & twice heard reference to Classical Ballet Dancer’s being on the list of jobs that cannot be filled by UK residents so requiring immigration!!!!

Blood boiling right now....!!! Need to re-listen from beginning to get full context so won’t have a chance to call ‘Any Answers’ but hoping another forum member is ahead of me here!! 

Why is the UK government & UK tax payers investing so much money training UK dancers with MDS/DaDas & so much money subsidising ballet companies through national & local arts funding if not to then try ensure that it is UK dancers who get the jobs? Either the training is not up to par.... in which case they need to rethink the investment in training? Pay fir the UK student dancers to gintraib abroad where the overseas dancers getting the jobs are being trained? Or actively recruit teachers from these countries? Or is it the fact that UK students are required by law to still do regular education up to 16 where many of the imported dancers have trained in a hot housed coaching way to be career ready at 15? 

Maybe just maybe UK companies should be encouraged (forced?) to look for home grown home trained talent & the be justly proud of those they employ instead of this outdated desire to be ‘International’ 

Russian & US companies do not seem to fill regular roles from overseas? Sure, have guest artists. Gain kudos & international status by inviting on short term visas the best of the worlds best to dance. But if UK dancers don’t get much chance to join at Corps level, how will they ever progress to soloist/principal level? Demoralised they seek roles away from ballet so it appears there are not enough UK top dancers.... well maybe they might have gone on to greatness? To becone International stars sought to guest artist abroad in exchange for overseas stars visiting us? 

A few thoughts.....

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Can we get 10,000 signatures to force a parliamentary petition? Can’t get nurses in which we do need but there are lots of UK dancers - ridiculous

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Exactly!! 

Andcwecare taking microscopic numbers of jobs in ballet v care/agriculture/nursing.

And an area where UK  dancers are desperate for jobs with huge numbers suitably qualified (yes, an overseas one may be ‘better’ but is that ‘better’ hold medal winning performer needed back row of the corps or indeed gonna be happy doing it?) 

The other sectors can’t fill all  the roles because too many UK residents are not happy to take the jobs on offer or are not correctly skilled or located to take the jobs. 

Edited by Peanut68
Added text

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is a very thorny problem. It is not so long ago that there was an outcry because Jonah Acosta was having trouble getting a work permit and many people welcomed the ruling that there is a shortage of dancers, so he got one! Is the thread still around or has it been archived?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 minutes ago, Pas de Quatre said:

It is a very thorny problem. It is not so long ago that there was an outcry because Jonah Acosta was having trouble getting a work permit and many people welcomed the ruling that there is a shortage of dancers, so he got one! Is the thread still around or has it been archived?

 

There have been several discussions over the years about foreign dancers.  None of them have been archived (unless they were on the original site ballet.co.uk) - it's just a question of searching them out.

 

It has been and continues to be a very emotive subject and IIRC we have had to close down several threads over the years.  And I have to say it is not new that ballet dancers are included on the list of jobs that cannot be filled - that has been the case for some years.  I would also say that the fact they we are no longer part of the EU is unlikely to affect the numbers of non-UK dancers recruited into British companies - it just means that EU dancers will have to go through the same procedures as the rest of the world.  

 

Russia is taking more dancers from abroad.  Xander Parish is not alone in joining a Russian company.  The young man who came from the Joffrey to dance in NB's 50th Gala was Scottish!

 

Statistically far more dancers are trained than there will ever be vacancies in companies.  Europe has been a fertile ground for UK dancers seeking jobs in the past and I hope that continues.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree it’s a difficult issue all round. A large reason we don’t have enough nurses (and other professionals) is that we can’t retain them due to poor pay and working conditions. So we recruit from poorer countries who then lack trained professionals and have less resource to replace them. They also don’t necessarily have the same training. It’s really shortsighted and I’m sure we’re wasting an enormous amount of money training people in various areas to then not employ them!

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well put Peony.... that is perhaps much of the problem....

It would be interesting to statistically look at this & compare across sectors.

eg. I wonder if we train more up to level of pro football players than pro football player jobs avaialable? I expect we do.... & again so many overseas players....will this be on the list of jobs ok to recruit from overseas? Bet that will equally upset those families who have put so much on the line to assist their football player children to pursue their dreams & goals (literally!) 

What do trained dancers & sat trained footballers who are unsuccessful in following chosen career go on to do? Re-train? Use qualifications/experience in allied areas allied to their dreams eg.Teaching/reffing/coaching? 

Anotger recent thread is springing to mind here about what help schools give with students seeking work....

Edited by Peanut68
Typo

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

just to address the question of whether US companies have foreign dancers: Here is San Francisco Ballet's roster of principals (just to take one ballet company at random)

Spain 1

Denmark 1

Canada 2

US 4

Italy 2

France 1

Estonia 1

Mexico 1

Australia 1

Japan 1

England 1

France 1

China 3

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For me it isn’t just about whether dancers should be on the list, as you say some UK dancers can go abroad so as long as there are equal opportunities that is fine. It is just about the consistency of the application of the arbitrary rules across all professions!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 minutes ago, toursenlair said:

just to address the question of whether US companies have foreign dancers: Here is San Francisco Ballet's roster of principals (just to take one ballet company at random)

Spain 1

Denmark 1

Canada 2

US 4

Italy 2

France 1

Estonia 1

Mexico 1

Australia 1

Japan 1

England 1

France 1

China 3

What about Corps roles? 

And a cross ref of other companies would be great to see!

Alk this is the sort of thing that ought be discussed bybschools career advisors.... do they exist in dance schools? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've no idea but the numbers of nationalities in various companies have been discussed ad infinitum in the past and I'm sorry but I haven't got time to go through the British company rosters yet again, let alone foreign companies.

 

Thanks Katherine.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And let’s face it.... if we just did a random comparison with an average Tesco store in a large city I’m sure we’d find a huge variety of nationalities represented....& all the better for it no doubt as I bet a store couldn’t open round the clock if reliant solely on employing UK citizens 

Edited by Peanut68
Typo
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A big thing to consider with employment for dancers abroad is that only the larger European companies, including UK, have year round contracts. In the USA even the best companies such as NYCB and ABT lay off their dancers for several weeks over the summer. Smaller companies may not even pay a living wage or provide health insurance, which is why employment on this side of the pond is very attractive!

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Peanut68 said:

What about Corps roles? 

And a cross ref of other companies would be great to see!

Alk this is the sort of thing that ought be discussed bybschools career advisors.... do they exist in dance schools? 

Feel free to visit San Francisco Ballet's website yourself and look at all the bios, and every other US and Canadian company website as well.

 

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Imagine if plumbers or electricians  had to go through all these obstacles to pay the rent? Not many would be signing up to train in these professions!!

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think you also need to fulfil multiple other criteria to get enough ‘points’ - speak English, have a job offer, earn £25k etc  so I guess it may make the more junior roles in most of the companies only available to people with existing permission to work in this country? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A sticky issue across many countries, Peanut68!  

 

In ballet, I guess the worry is if you close doors to foreign students then your own students and dancers will lose access to opportunities overseas.

 

Also, connected to this, is when some companies require dancers to have attended their own schools in order to join their corp or apprenticeship program.

This pushes overseas students to join the associated school when they might otherwise stay training in their own country - quite happily - for as long as possible

The logic of course is to mould them in their own style.  Nevertheless outstanding students and dancers are still admitted in the final year of training and at higher levels in the company. Still able to be successful.

 

I guess Paris Opera Ballet bring in yet another option/approach with entry into the company via the annual Concours.

 

Edited by DD Driver
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, Peanut68 said:

OMG!!! Just tuned in & twice heard reference to Classical Ballet Dancer’s being on the list of jobs that cannot be filled by UK residents so requiring immigration!!!!

I think it's the disingenuity here that is so maddening. If the inclusion of Classical Ballet dancers on the list of jobs requiring immigration is purely to allow dancers from other countries to continue to be employed in the UK when they otherwise would fail to meet the salary or points-based threshold, then it is wrong for the government to hide this behind the implication that there is a shortage of classical ballet dancers in the UK.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, glissade said:

I think it's the disingenuity here that is so maddening. If the inclusion of Classical Ballet dancers on the list of jobs requiring immigration is purely to allow dancers from other countries to continue to be employed in the UK when they otherwise would fail to meet the salary or points-based threshold, then it is wrong for the government to hide this behind the implication that there is a shortage of classical ballet dancers in the UK.

The Government is not hiding anything in this instance, they have merely accepted what the UK ballet companies lobbied for.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I heard an interview on Radio 4 with someone senior at Northern Ballet a few months ago, can’t remember his name, but was basically saying that they can’t find ballet dancers in the uk ... to say I was incredulous is an understatement. I have absolutely no issue with global movement/competition and indeed, my own dd would not be dancing overseas without it, it is healthy. It was the suggestion that they struggle to attract the talent in the UK which I found just astounding. I just think that in the main they don’t really want UK trained dancers. Year after year many graduates from our ballet schools are struggling to find employment full stop, let alone employment in the UK.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, RMM1 said:

The Government is not hiding anything in this instance, they have merely accepted what the UK ballet companies lobbied for.

This is perhaps where the Questions need to be asked & addressed.....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, RMM1 said:

The Government is not hiding anything in this instance, they have merely accepted what the UK ballet companies lobbied for.

Ah. Then yes, questions need to be directed there then.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is on Northern Ballet  page  that i noted when internet browsing and wondering why NBT struggle when they too have a school/pathway  like RBS etc 

Audition

We are looking for male & female dancers.

You should be open-minded, creative & imaginative with strong classical technique and pointe work, exceptional partnering skills and strength.

Closed audition, by invitation only, will be held in Leeds on Sunday 2 February 2020.

Height Requirements

Ladies - minimum 150cm & maximum 164cm
Men - minimum 175cm & maximum 182cm

 

164 cm is only 5ft 3.8 inches   i noted for NBT , as many girls are now getting taller then   height / build still sadly comes into this whole career business, another topic in its own right  of course ....... of all the dancing kids in UK the RBS only takes 12-15 girls a year   and several of those are from overseas  so the number of home grown UK kids gets smaller still and still not all them will go on into companies at the end plus many get assessed out and replaced with other girls / overseas students along the way     .....i do often wonder at times what iam letting my daughter get herself into  at times as lots of kids trying to get thro the 'pinhole' into 'vocational'  schools'  never mind then the even smaller 'hole in the door'  of getting a contract directly from a vocational school ...... there seem to be plenty of auditions all over europe i note following a FB group  but that all costs money to attend plus of course they may only have 1-2 jobs open  so i suspect many must drop off after training  and enter other careers    .....  diversity if of course needed but as a parent i have to stop and have a reality check every now and then about how difficult it can be to get on stage with a company  and encourage my daughter to get educated properly and think of all the other avenues for work   just incase this one route  of 'dancing with a company ' gets blocked ....keeping our kids diverse in dance and mind is becoming increasingly important .... 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Astounded by the height limitations.....seeing a bit of a chicken & egg scenario here which perpetuates these height requirements & could well go some way to explain what appears (this based purely on viewing cinema broadcasts) a high percentage of dancers of Asian origin/genes where average heights are shorter generally.

So if they recruit shorter men, then they will have to recruit shorter women to pair up. But what if no stupid height restrictions were in place? Surely any government subsidised company (again, not specifically referring to Northern here as I know nothing of their status) shouldn’t be allowed to be heightest like this ??? As bad as sexism or ageism!!! 

And they are limiting their talent pool & diversity pool.... they just might recruit some perfect partners of taller female & taller male dancers!! They can’t be limiting purely to fit costumes I hope! 

Just some thoughts based on the post about advertised jobs..... not based on any precise personal knowledge & happy to be contradicted! 

(Also somewhat gutted.....at 150cm myself there were never ever such low heights listed for dance jobs in the 80’s!!!) 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

164cm is actually 5feet 4.6 inches, so a fraction over average height in this country. If partnering is involved I don’t think it can ever be a free for all. Purely a personal opinion but it does seem that many dancers in training are short to average height, and that taller dancers can find classical ballet more challenging. Not saying there aren’t amazing taller dancers, of course there are but a slightly lower centre of gravity and lower mass for pointe work do make things easier

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

now what we need is a table of all british dance  companies and a breakdown of nationalities and schools breakdown of numbers graduating and numbers getting  into  companies from UK   to fully understand whats going on in employment of british trained dancers ... a task that iam sure would be interesting and iam sure its been done somewhere by someone .... plus would have to take onboard tho all the kids who leave a school but didnt want to dance on stage but enter choreography or teaching  etc  and of course those injured and unable to take up a physical contract  plus some ballet trained students go into 'commercial ' contracts instead  ..... its seems very complex......luckliy we are not at this stage of looking for jobs  or on the audition trail   just yet ....... its a global market and kids have to be ready to move across the world is what iam picking up on  at this early stage in our journey 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, leotardmum said:

This is on Northern Ballet  page  that i noted when internet browsing and wondering why NBT struggle when they too have a school/pathway  like RBS etc 

 

 

Northern Ballet (NB (not NBT, which they haven't been for over 10 years now) does not have a school/pathway like the RBS etc.

 

Northern Ballet's CAT is only Lower School.  If graduating students are carrying on they have to go to US or equivalent.

 

Northern Ballet is the least heightist company I can think of and always has been in my near 35 years of watching them.

 

Northern Ballet employs a wider range of male heights than any other company I have ever seen.  Obviously, to give those males partners they also need some smaller ladies.  As a matter of interest I think this is the first time my friends and I have noticed height specifications on a NB audition call.

 

And finally...  I don't know about the UK but most companies in most other countries have height requirements.  I can remember in the past members of this forum complaining because certain European countries have a minimum height requirement that is taller than their DDs.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, Peony said:

164cm is actually 5feet 4.6 inches, so a fraction over average height in this country. If partnering is involved I don’t think it can ever be a free for all. Purely a personal opinion but it does seem that many dancers in training are short to average height, and that taller dancers can find classical ballet more challenging. Not saying there aren’t amazing taller dancers, of course there are but a slightly lower centre of gravity and lower mass for pointe work do make things easier

Err.... in my DD class at WL height makes no different to quality of pointe work or indeed to jumps . At 5’8  (& she’s not the tallest !!)It seems my dd will definitely be seeking work overseas rather than U.K. purely because of her height... at the moment. However , this might change as it depends what dancers are in the company; the opinion of the AD etc..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The government's policy paper on the UK's points based immigration system says

"Under the current immigration rules, there are a range of other immigration routes for specialist occupations, including innovators, ministers of religion, sportspeople and to support the arts. Our broad approach for January 2021 will be to open existing routes that already apply to non-EU citizens, to EU citizens (the current ‘Tier 5’)."

 

I think this means that dancers (and others) won't need to meet the criteria to get enough ‘points’ - speak English, have a job offer, earn £25k or have a PhD, etc

 

The policy also says

"We will not be creating a dedicated route for self-employed people. We recognise that there are several professions where there is a heavy reliance on freelance workers. They will continue to be able to enter the UK under the innovator route and will in due course be able to benefit from the proposed unsponsored route. The UK already attracts world class artists, entertainers and musicians and we will continue to do so in the future. The UK’s existing rules permit artists, entertainers and musicians to perform at events and take part in competitions and auditions for up to six months. They can receive payment for appearances at certain festivals or for up to a month for a specific engagement, without the need for formal sponsorship or a work visa.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
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

×
×
  • Create New...