Originally posted by Amy Reusch
Is it really true that anyone with a chance of getting into a good company has always gotten into a company by age 22? I admit any principal has already shown their potential by then, but aren't there exceptions to that rule?
Did you check the Verdy interview? She lists the companies that the Indiana U students enter after graduation. Mid or lower level regional companies, all. Nothing wrong with that, and you can have a satisfying career, but it's highly unlikely you're going to get into ABT or NYCB.
A few years ago, at Goucher College, which had an excellent ballet program, there was a girl named Pamela Croce who discovered ballet at 18. She was so good that for her graduation performance, Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux, who was the artist in residence, not only made a ballet for her, but staged Rubies for her, and she was terrific. She could not get a job. At 22, she was "too old to train to our ways." The companies all wanted young kids -- 15, 17, 18. For some, 18 was too old.
And, as Mel said, of course there are always exceptions. Another anecdote, this time a modern dance one, at D.C.'s Dance Place in the 1980s, a young man (and I cannot remember his name!) came to watch his girlfriend take class, became enchanted with it, decided to try it himself -- he was 26. Within two years he was dancing with several companies in New York, and dancing well. (This was in the minimalist phase of modern dance, though, where running and walking with elan could get you far!)
As for the rents, I think the oil crisis years of the late 1970s were the turning point, weren't they? I remember stories of friends in college then desperately trying to get an apartment, and being forced to triple-up or taking filthy sublets with roaches and rats. But the Glory Days of New York dance, the '40s and '50s, that's when rents, both apartments and studios -- and tickets! -- were cheap. Listening to people talk about those times, it's as if the city were one big, happy commune. I'm sure that wasn't the view from the Upper East Side, but it sure sounds like it would have been fun to have been a dancer or a dance follower then.