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Training in the US vs. Training Abroad


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#1 artspatron07

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Posted 14 April 2007 - 12:18 PM

With the influx of European and Asian dancers joining American ballet companies, is it advantageous to study abroad prior to entering the profession?

#2 carbro

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Posted 14 April 2007 - 01:08 PM

That question, as a practical matter or request for advice, is really beyond the scope of this board, artspatron. We are a site for the audience. However, it is just the sort of matter to generate some discussion on our sister board, BalletTalk for Dancers, which is dedicated to training and studio-related issues -- everything, basically, that happens on the other side of the footlights. It includes special forums for dancers' parents, teachers, and dancers of all ages (above 13) and levels.

If you decide to join BT4D, you'll have to register, as we have not automatic reciprocity. If you do register, we ask that you keep the same screen name, if possible, on both boards.

Now, as a theoretical matter, the quality of the training, rather than its locale, must always be the primary consideration. Judith Jamison once said of her transition from a classically-trained ballet dancer to a modern dancer that with good training, a dancer at the professional level should be able to adapt to whatever is required of her/him.

#3 Treefrog

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Posted 14 April 2007 - 02:21 PM

Perhaps artspatron is not so much seeking advice, but advancing the hypothesis that European and Asian dancers get hired in preference to American dancers because the quality of training in other countries is better than in the US.

A) is the premise true, and B ) does this hypothesis have empiric support? Or if the premise is true, are there other hypotheses to explain it?

#4 Hans

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Posted 14 April 2007 - 05:54 PM

I don't think the premise is necessarily true, but I also think it's entirely matter of opinion. I've received both good and horrible training on both sides of the Atlantic.

#5 artspatron07

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Posted 15 April 2007 - 11:56 AM

Perhaps artspatron is not so much seeking advice, but advancing the hypothesis that European and Asian dancers get hired in preference to American dancers because the quality of training in other countries is better than in the US.

A) is the premise true, and B ) does this hypothesis have empiric support? Or if the premise is true, are there other hypotheses to explain it?


Thank you Treefrog for clarifying my point. My apology to Carbro if my post was unclear. I am familiar with the purpose for Ballet Talk for Dancers Message Board and am currently not seeking training advice.

#6 Mel Johnson

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Posted 15 April 2007 - 01:22 PM

Part of this, I think, is the "grass is greener" syndrome. It's an echo of a couple of decades ago, when Americans were populating European, notably German, opera ballets, "because that's where the jobs are."

#7 vrsfanatic

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Posted 15 April 2007 - 05:34 PM

Studying abroad will help a ballet student to experience so much more than ballet. If one can do it, go for it, however it is not that the teaching is better than in the US. From what I have observed, it is the culture that lends itself better to the professional schooling of ballet. European and Japanese culture (I have not been to China) instill in their young generations a great respect for history and the arts. Children are brought up with a different kind of discipline and work ethic than is prevalent in the US. The respect for the schooling of ballet as a profession enables the ballet teaching professionals to place demands on their students that in most school situations in the US, the teachers are unable to demand. American culture does not lend itself kindly to the professional training of ballet dancers. For the most part, the Europeans working in the US have attended government funded professional ballet academies that are their entire educational experience. The Japanese dancers or the other hand come from private studios, with very hard working teachers. Japanese society is very disciplined. The students work like race horses, never questioning, just doing as they are asked. It is an amazing process to see. :beg:

#8 Mel Johnson

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Posted 15 April 2007 - 05:39 PM

And besides, with the proliferation of regional professional ballet companies in the US over the past 25-30 years, this country is now "where the jobs are" and hard-charging dancers of every nation including this one are in there competing for them.

#9 ami1436

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Posted 16 April 2007 - 07:49 AM

Meanwhile, there's a great feeling in the UK that it's training is inferior, partly because culturally there is not the same 'ethic' as in America, Russia, or Australia...

(I'm not saying I agree, I'm just putting forth complaints I've often heard.)

#10 vrsfanatic

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Posted 16 April 2007 - 02:50 PM

Meanwhile, there's a great feeling in the UK that it's training is inferior, partly because culturally there is not the same 'ethic' as in America,...

The Royal Ballet School does not feel that way about the training in the US! :beg:


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