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Getting a job - what type of school?


pastel
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Is it necessary, or strongly advisable, to attend a high profile vocational school in order to get a job?

 

I know it is very difficult to get a job no matter where you train. 

 

We are in the process of considering vocational schools (from Australia). The problem is that there is only 1 company school here (Australian Ballet) and Queensland Ballet run a pre-pro year, so the competition to get into these two schools is fierce. DD is currently training full time at a lovely school.

 

The majority of vocational schools here list where their graduates go. Many of them continue on to high profile vocational, company schools overseas. Sometimes the schools tell where their ex-students are currently dancing, but that doesn't mean they went straight to the company. Most times, they have done a year or two overseas first.

 

The programs in the UK look brilliant, their websites lists scores of graduates in companies, but the cost of sending a student from here is high. Firstly, the fees (which are full for Australian citizens), then airfares etc. The cheapest fees seem to be a standard GBP16,900. That is a lot of money, particularly when converting from Aussie dollars. It also doesn't include board.

 

Do companies actually hold auditions or do they spot kids they like at performances and competitions? At auditions, do they consider people they haven't seen before, or do they pick kids who have been in the lime light already?

 

My dd looks at the kids from various vocation schools who are training at her level, and sees them going off to Prix, Genee, YAGP etc and wonders how she can ever get a job over any of those kids.

 

Knowing how tough the job market is, do they need to be out there getting seen in order to ever land a job, or is it acceptable to work hard with quality training and turn up at auditions as an unknown?

 

Or - how does anyone ever afford to help their teens achieve their dream of being a dancer?  :wacko:

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The main difficulty these days is actually getting invited to audition, very few auditions are open to all comers.  Usually the dancer has to send photos and CV (sometimes a DVD too), so the better known the schooling, the more chance there is of being asked to attend the audition.  Once there of course, it is what you show on the day that will get you the job!

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If you're talking about jobs in ballet companies, I think you'll find it's virtually unheard of (although someone will probably manage to come up with the odd example!) to get a job without having been in full-time training of some sort.  The contracts at every audition my son went to (and all the ones I've ever heard of results from over the last few years with various friends) went to dancers either just graduating from a dance school, or already in a job.  Those dance schools however, were from all over the world.

 

Mind you, you don't have to go to a full-time vocational school to get full-time training - you could try private coaching.  Would be very expensive I'm sure, but perhaps not as much as moving to a full-time school abroad.

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Perhaps attending a summer school here where known Royal teachers etc go eg: Yorkshire Ballet Summer School when she is 18 and therefore nearing graduation age. Or if possible try to attend a couple of years running leading up to 18. It could be a way to get noticed.

 

The other route would be to try to get on one of our Dance degree courses eg at Central School of Ballet in London. I was wondering whether if a child is accepted on such a course from Australia even though they may not get funds from the UK towards this.....is there any scheme in Australia which would allow funds to go to this if not taking up a place in Australia?

I think Australia is still a member of the Commonwealth......I may be out of date on this.....but are there any funds from that direction for Australians to study in UK?

 

I suppose if you were proactive enough with certain Ballet Company's when your daughter gets to 18 you might be able to get an audition but it would just be harder especially for the main companies like the Royal Ballet.

 

There are smaller company's though both here and in Europe but don't know how easy it is to get an audition for these as opposed to the big ones like Royal and ENB etc. But many people have a happy career in one of the smaller company's where you often get a chance to dance bigger roles and so on.

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The question is: how good is the training at your dd's current school? Do pupils go on to dance with classical ballet companies, or any dance companies? Does your dd have the opportunity to enter competitions, both in Austalia and abroad? I read somewhere that Australian students enter a lot of competitions and that it's thought that this is an advantage when they come to audition for schools and companies. Would it be possible to find a former principal dancer to teach your dd? There must be quite a few who have returned to Australia after careers abroad as well as ex-dancers with Australian Ballet, Queensland Ballet etc. There is another thread on this forum about the necessity of full-time post-16 training. You may find it helpful to have a look at it. It mentions a few dancers who have not gone to vocational school but have been training full-time with a well-known teacher (or with their parents in the case of Daniil Simkin).

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There are smaller company's though both here and in Europe but don't know how easy it is to get an audition for these as opposed to the big ones like Royal and ENB etc. But many people have a happy career in one of the smaller company's where you often get a chance to dance bigger roles and so on.

 

These are the sorts of jobs we're already talking about LinMM.  You often only get to audition for the really big ones (RB, BRB etc) if you're invited and that would be through the school (or sometimes the directors come into the schools).  Other major companies and the smaller ones have auditions that are sometimes open to anyone to turn up (but there then can be hundreds there including students from the big schools all over the world), or you apply and they are invited to come to the audition (often still a huge number at the audition).  I can't stress enough that students from RBS, Elmhurst, ENBS etc, plus those from major schools in many other countries will also be at auditions for these smaller companies.  My son is at a company that would be considered one of the smaller European ones - their new company members have mostly come from Elmhurst, or from other European schools.  (And, yes, smaller companies can be great for getting more dancing opportunities.)

 

There's always a possibility of being "noticed" at a competition if you're an exceptional dancer.  A few of them offer prizes of vocational training or apprenticeships.  Isn't there an excellent one in Australia (I was watching some videos of it recently)?  But it would be rare for someone to get a job in a company from just being spotted dancing in a gala or summer school etc.

 

Full-time training is there for a reason - dancers need to be of a certain standard to be able to dance in a company.

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I agree completely with Julie.W.

 

if competition for the schools is tough, competition for companies is even harder.

 

of coruse, there are things like Genee and others that attract the attention of schoo directors and that is another route to major schools. It is how sergei Polunin went to the Royal Ballet School who sorted out his sponsorship as well I think. But then, he is Sergei Polunin and if our children were of that calibre, we probably wouldn't be worrying! :)

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I'm not sure that Sergei Polunin got into the RBS (at 13) as the result of entering a competition. I believe that his mother sent a recording to the RBS and he was awarded a scholarship by the Rudolph Nureyev Foundation. He did win a gold medal at the Prix de Lausanne (and the audience prize, I believe) later.

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Thanks for all of your helpful input. 

 

Aileen, the training at her school is good. She has access to about 25+ hours of face to face teaching, plus she is free to use the studio as much as she likes to practice - she spends an extra hour or so each day. Both of the main teachers are ex-principals. There is no graduate history to help with my decision as the school has only been running since the start of last year. The owners are quite young and only stopped dancing a couple of years ago.

 

So far the school has done well with sending kids off. There are only a handful of seniors. All 4 of the older kids have been offered placements into more high profile schools in Australia. Two were also offered places at Joffrey NY as was my dd. I just don't have it in me to send my 16yr old to NYC alone. London doesn't seem quite so threatening, perhaps because I've lived there and also, I wouldn't send her until this time next year. 

 

She does have access to competitions in Australia and overseas. She's currently preparing dvd material to send to some of the big international competitions. Unfortunately, the reality is that we can't afford to pay for all the airfares and accommodation for her to attend the OS ones. 

 

I'm thinking we should just save as much as possible and use the money to pay for fees over the next 3 years or so.

 

From reading your comments, it seems to me that we need to keep walking down the path of looking at the bigger schools with degrees etc. I wonder if it is possible to just attend the 3rd year, or if we'll need to send her to all three. I suppose it doesn't hurt to email the schools and ask about that.

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Spanner, to be honest, that is partly what I'm trying to figure out! There are some excellent schools here. My dd has been offered places in a couple of the big school's full time courses. However, our hesitation to move her interstate to attend is that their graduates don't seem to be getting into companies, they all end up doing 1-3 years overseas (or occasionally at the Australian Ballet school). 

 

So, if the route to complete training and employment is via one of the overseas schools, she is better to audition from her current school than to move for a year and have another upheaval. 

 

We will send an audition dvd to NZ Ballet School as well as to the UK ones.

 

There are dance degrees at universities but they are quite contemporary and I've never heard of anyone getting into a classical company from an Australian university course. That doesn't mean it doesn't happen, but we don't know of dancers who have taken that route either personally or through reading magazines which give news of up and coming dancers.

 

We've had helpful chats with her teachers but they can't see any easy solution.

 

????? Trying not to send myself crazy figuring this out! 

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Not surprised! So - and pardon my ignorance - am I right in thinking that Australian Ballet mostly takes on graduates from the Australian Ballet School?

 

And when you say that the big schools' graduates aren't getting into companies, does that mean Australasian companies? Or companies anywhere? Are they continuing their training overseas? Or getting jobs overseas?

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The AB takes dancers from many different countries, quite a lot from Asia and also from AB school. 

 

As far as we can tell, the graduates from big schools are continuing training overseas - they must be quite a bit older than kids in UK and US schools by the time they actually graduate. Many kids move from the big schools here while they are about 14-16yrs.

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I'm sure you are already aware of the situation, it's just that I don't want you to be under any illusions that a place at any of the UK's Upper Schools is easy to come by - for any year. We may be a small country, but competition for places is huge.

 

When my dd auditions, we would be beyond delighted for her to get one offer, let alone have a choice. Even then, you have the worry of not being able to complete the three years, either through injury or not being offered another year's training. With chances being as slim as that, I wonder if I would take my chances nearer to home if I were you, and take it all a year at a time?

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