Hello! I'm currently writing a fiction about a young ballet dancer who starts in a trainee program, earns an apprenticeship, and eventually gets into the corps de ballet of a (fictional) major ballet company. But I've got a few questions that, sadly, no google search can answer. And my goal is to write as authentically as possible. I understand answers probably vary based on the company, and I apologize in advance if they seem obvious or downright stupid (bear with me; I'm a ballet enthusiast who really doesn't know much about ballet or professional life). But any knowledgeable responses are HUGELY appreciated!
*Note: the main company I'm using for inspiration is San Francisco Ballet, because I think they're an awesome company and I'm fairly local to them (unfortunately, getting in to view anything is currently impossible). But I'm working on combining aspects of various companies to create a fictional one, so no copyrights are tread upon. So, if you know anything about SFB, that would be amazing!
1. Naturally, probably the hardest/most varied question to answer, but: what's a performance in a trainee program like, especially if it's a performance outside of the company (like how San Francisco Ballet takes their trainees all over the bay area)? Is there an average number of performances trainee programs tend to perform a week?
2. Do trainees always perform together, or do they sometimes get assigned different opportunities (I.E. would someone be selected to work in a company performance, while others would not/be assigned to a different performance within the program)?
3. Do apprentice schedules tend to be just like the corps de ballet, or are they more/less busy or carrying more/less responsibilities (like understudying)?
3. Can an apprentice ever understudy for a principal/soloist role, or do they only understudy for corps roles? Or can you be understudying for both at the same time, depending on the company's needs?
3. (Relating to question above) If you are understudying for a role, and the person you are understudying for gets badly injured, would you cover that role for the remainder of the season? Or would you cover maybe one night until they replace you with a contracted member?
4. Do female apprentices (or professionals) still take pointe classes on their own time, or is that only something students do because they're assigned it as part of their curriculum?