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Guest Jasmine

Work for a ballet company

8 posts in this topic

I am a japanese who is planning to study in USA. Why? I love ballet very much and I have wanted to work for a ballet company. I started ballet lesson 2 years ago. I was already 16, which is too old to learn ballet to be a ballerina. Though, I enjoy it very much and it's one of my favorite time.And I came to think about working for a ballet company.Now I want to know what campanies need and what should I study for that?

What do you think about Personal Relations, Event Organize or Art Management?

I want to learn more about ballet in depth, and wide range. Hope to listen your advice.

And I also want to have someone who can talk about ballet and etc..

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Hello Jasmine, and welcome to Ballet Alert Online!

We have a lot of very knowledgeable posters here who will be happy to talk to you and give you some input on various courses of study for work with a ballet company! My suggestions would be: a)to definitely keep taking ballet classes because the more knowledge you have of the art, especially of what it takes to become a dancer, the more you will have to bring to whatever area you work in; B) look for a college program in the US which offers good ballet classes along with a program in dance history, criticism, arts management, or design; c) try to locate in a major city which would offer lots of performances to see, both by local companies and visiting companies; d)do some part time work, while you are in school, with a company, in any capacity that will help you learn about the workings of the company; e)get Dance Magazines College Guide, which will help you locate the programs.

Hope this helps a bit!

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::::::::sliding soap box into center stage position::::::::

In this country I believe that we are too prone to establishing "majors" for undergrads in the arts. Young men and woman are expected to know at the tender age of 18 what it is they want to do for the rest of their lives, and then expected to stick to a narrow course of study supposedly preparing them for this life.

Now, I realize that in the case of a ballet dancer, their careers are decidely short, and the need to start the career asap is important, so I am not going to address dancers in this matter. However, in the case of designers, managers, actors, directors, etc., I firmly believe that these should not become a "major" until a graduate course of study.

How can an actor truly portray Julius Caesar until he has learned about Roman history. How can a designer adequately fulfill a design for "Cabaret" until he/she has studied pre-war Germany. How can a manager learn to write grants until they have taken a broad base of English and writing classes. Doesn't the director need some background in the workings of the human mind to prepare his cast for "The Iceman Cometh"? Preparing for a career in the arts should begin in the undergraduate world with a broad range of courses - English, history, other languages, art history, literature, art, computers, etc. Then you are prepared to start the trade-school like business of attending a school for the arts.

::::::::sliding soap-box away:::::::::::

Now, Jasmine, all that said, I would suggest that you try and get an internship or do volunteer work with a dance company. Volunteers in the arts are always desperately needed. You become familiar with the workings of, and different departments that make a company work. The company in turn gets the well needed assistance, and the benefit to both of you is that you become a familiar face...and familiar faces usually know when positions in a company become available.

Some of the areas I can think of that make up a ballet company that come to the top of my mind are:


Public Relations

Box Office

Administration (managingtelephones, copying, bookkeeping, scheduling, financial administration, development - fundraising, grant writing, endowment management)

Company Management (touring, travel agent work, insurance, people management, union relations)

Artistic (artistic director, ballet masters/mistresses, scheduling, casting, adminitrative assistance to the artistic staff)

Production Management (production manager, stage manager, technical director)

Production (props, sets, electricians, wardrobe, shoes, hair, makeup, lighting directors, sound, video)

Production Design (lighting design, costume design, set design)

Facility Management (scheduling, repairs, janitorial, maintenance)

Health (physical therapy, doctors, massage, dieticians)

Frequently a school staff (teachers, administrators)

A dance company is a huge organism, and it takes a lot of people to keep those dancers on the stage.

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Barb's idea about an internship is a good one. Definitely look into it -- arts organizations are always looking for cheap (or free) labor. Many, many moons ago, a friend of my sister's interned with the Atlanta Ballet doing public relations. It was, alas, an unpaid internship but she did get the inside view on how a ballet company works. She also got to give away some tickets, so my sister and I got to see the ballet for free several times that summer!

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Barb, I'm pretty sure, from her original question, that Jasmine is thinking of some other kind of work with a ballet company, as she said she only started classes 2 years ago and knows she will not be a ballerina.

Jasmine, I still think that you should get a copy of Dance Magazine's College Dance Guide. As to majoring in dance or not, I'm not sure if that would be the best way for you to get enough exposure to all the other areas available. I would think maybe majoring in theatre arts might be better, because then you could take dance classes but also get a lot of other courses that would be helpful in deciding which way you want to go towards a major.

Barb, help us out here, please! Would NYU be good for her, and what would be your recommendation for her to start with?

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Yes, I mean I want to have some other job in a ballet company, not as a ballerina. (I wish I could be...)

I really thank you for you all, for giving me

such helpful suggestions. I am very happy to have found this page!

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I wouldn't be worrying about a dance program if you aren't planning to dance. Now there may very well be excellent educational situations/dance departments out there that have a broad educational plan for folks other then dancers, but I have yet to find any that we've been to (though admittedly we don't do too many residencies west of Illinois)...they are mostly geared towards creating dancers or dance educators.

As to the New York issue, I personally

::::::::::Sliding out the worn soapbox and donning bullet-proof vest::::::::::

think entirely too much emphasis is placed on New York City being the dance capital of the universe as we know it.

My personal suggestion would be to find a reputable school, once you decide what your course of study is to be. And perhaps if the school is in the same city as a major dance company, so much the better. You don't have to live in NYC to have met and work with major dance names.

And another suggestion might be, if you just don't know what to go to school for, or where, to not do the school part yet, but try and find a place to volunteer or work, and learn about the business. And then from that use your contacts to explore which educational plan is right for you. Admittedly there may be a difficulty with that idea, being from another country and trying to get a visa.

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I thank you Barb, for your help!

When I think about having ballet related job in USA, I always worry about my visa stuff, as you mentioned.

You have told me an idea to have volunteer work for a company. I think it will be very nice and I will learn a lot. I don't need visa to volunteer, do I? And do you think compnies would be 0k to have volunteer worker

with few experience? And do they always need that?

I would be glad if you tell me more about volunteering in ballet companies if you can.

And now I am interested in Press kind of work, more than technical works. ( Of course it would be really good for me if I can learn them as much as I can.) Then do compamies have or need press job and if yes, what the job is exactly like?

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