Helene

First Position

59 posts in this topic

If you look at the judges panel, that should give a good idea of who is recruiting, but maybe more for their summer programs, given the age ranges, or their schools, not directly into a company.

So the judging panel isn't at all 'neutral'? It's made up of recruiters from the interested schools/companies? That is kind of disappointing, though I guess I shouldn't be surprised.

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If you look at the judges panel, that should give a good idea of who is recruiting, but maybe more for their summer programs, given the age ranges, or their schools, not directly into a company.

So the judging panel isn't at all 'neutral'? It's made up of recruiters from the interested schools/companies? That is kind of disappointing, though I guess I shouldn't be surprised.

They're neutral in a way, but this is a small world we work in, and people have multiple affiliations.

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They're neutral in a way, but this is a small world we work in, and people have multiple affiliations.

I'm neutral in a way too, until I open my big mouth. ;)

I was impressed to see Sergei Filin in one of the shots (sitting behind the English ballet school director, I believe it was), but I doubt the Bolshoi recruits much that way for school or company.

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So the judging panel isn't at all 'neutral'? It's made up of recruiters from the interested schools/companies? That is kind of disappointing, though I guess I shouldn't be surprised.

I think so-called neutrality is important only if the goal is to choose who had the best performance, and even then, judges' personal preferences for style and content are part of the assessment process. Not all ballet or arts competitions have that as the only or even a goal: many are just as interested in potential.

Where the judging panel is part of the institution that is doing the choosing, or are choosing on behalf of a single institution, like the Met Opera Council Auditions, it's all about potential and the ability to sing at the Met and meet the company's needs The Seattle Opera International Wagner Competition is all about choosing potential major Wagner singers, not just for Seattle Opera. For Seattle Opera, so far, Speight Jenkins has only cast non-winners, Jason Collins as Froh in the 2009 Ring and Steersman in "Dutchman and Carsten Wittmoser as Ramfis in one cast of "Aida", although 2006 co-winner, Miriam Murphy, might have been hired as a cover. (She's listed in Operabase as the Gerhilde in this summer's "Das Rheingold" but the Seattle Opera website lists Wendy Bryn Hamer in the role.)

One of the upsides of looking for potential is that in many ways, it doesn't matter whether a dancer wins one of the official competition awards: if someone on the panel likes a dancer and offers that dancer a scholarship to its summer program, that has nothing to do with anyone else on the judging panel or whether that person wins the prize. Likewise, not being chosen by, for example, Adam Sklyte might mean that dancer's type (physical or stylistic) doesn't fit into what he's likely to need in the near future, or he might be waiting to see what that dancer is like in a few years.

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One of the upsides of looking for potential is that in many ways, it doesn't matter whether a dancer wins one of the official competition awards: if someone on the panel likes a dancer and offers that dancer a scholarship to its summer program, that has nothing to do with anyone else on the judging panel or whether that person wins the prize.

That is what I was wondering. It certainly sounds better if the judges are looking for potential over time, and not just a performance without any noticeable mistakes.

So there must be times when a particular dancer at YAGP is given competing offers, and the others hope most of all to be noticed, and remembered, by the powers that be.

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(Sometimes it takes being quoted to realize that I wrote a circular sentence. I'm just glad you managed to understand my point, nonetheless :))

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I've often wondered how this hiring from competition thing works. For women, a major company will rarely - really never hire a competition winner as a soloist or principal. So if hired, after spending a lot of time working on virtuoso solos, the dancer has to be in the corps of Swan Lake or what ever. I know that in ABT Zhong-Jing Fang, Sarah Lane, and Hee Seo were all competition winners. Fang is still in the corps after about 8 years. Lane is a soloist and Seo a recent principal, I just wonder how these dancers took to the being in the corps after being so focused on their competition solos.

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Almost all of the top students in the company pre-professional schools are stars of their student performances, dancing the major roles, and almost all of them start as apprentices or corps members. There are rare exceptions to that, and some may get soloist and principal roles from the get-go, but rarely exclusively. I would think that competition winners would have the same expectations as top students at SAB, for example, and the same hopes that they'll rise quickly through the ranks and put their corps days behind them.

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"First Position" is scheduled for broadcast on Bravo on basic cable Friday, July 5, very early morning.

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