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calieber
05-03-2014, 06:53 AM
What is the administrative structure of a smallish ballet company? I assume there's a ... manager, I guess? And a choreographer, possibly, or would that tend not to be someone permanently attached? And someone telling the corps de ballet what to do?
I'm looking for a job for a character. I'm thinking some of the younger/newer/poorer members of the corps will have group housing of some sort in a place owned or leased by the company for the purpose (I know how they could afford this), and this character works as a chaperone or security guard or something like that. Is this an arrangement that happens, and if not, is there a job I can give him that would give him a similar relationship to the dancers?

Ketzel
05-03-2014, 08:39 AM
The administrative structure of ballet companies can vary somewhat, but broadly speaking, there is an Artistic Director who is in overall control of the company repertoire. In many cases, the AD is also the principal choreographer, although work can be commissioned from outside choreographers. There is also a chief financial officer, or some similar title (comptroller, e.g.) who manages the finances, the rehearsal and performing spaces, the purchasing, etc. If the company is large enough, there may be someone who is responsible for running the rehearsals (the ballet master or repetiteur) and someone who is responsible for making and maintaining the costumes. There may also be a PR person. Since most ballet companies in the US are non profit organizations, there will also be a Board of Directors, who oversee the operations of the company, but who are mostly responsible for fundraising.

I know a lot of working dancers who share apartments, but I don't know of any dance company that provides housing with a chaperone to company members. They don't have the money, time or personnel to provide housing for their employees, except when the company is touring. Besides, in my experience, dance companies don't hire underage dancers. As employed adults, company members would be expected to take care of their own housing needs like any other employee.

If the company is a resident company at a particular theater, the theater is likely to have security staff that checks people in and out of the building, so the doorman would get to know the dancers. Would that work?

cornflake
05-03-2014, 09:02 AM
They're dancers, not models. It's a skilled job acquired through years of training - like being a pro athlete. I only say this because the apartments/chaperones thing sounded very like what's done by some agencies with young models they recruit and I thought you may have sort of melded the two.

Seconding what Ketzel said about organization - some artistic director/choreographer mixes are former principal dancers who either form small companies or take those roles to garner funding for existing ones.

Also seconding that dancers just find their own places to live, and security would only exist as to the theatre. Some theatres have a guard on the stage door, as it's used for load-ins and -outs as well as for people arriving and leaving after shows. Depends on the size of the place, etc.

frimble3
05-03-2014, 10:33 AM
Although, I suppose your character could run a boarding house, or manage an apartment building near a ballet company? If he's deliberately scouting for dancers, it might seem a little creepy, but if he's running the building for someone else, he can't help it if in the theater district, most of his tenants are in the theatre, one way or another. And if the rent is reasonable, word would spread among the company.

Siri Kirpal
05-04-2014, 12:02 AM
Sat Nam! (Literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

I find the idea of group housing for a ballet troop rather unlikely. But ballet dancers all renting apartments in the same building wouldn't be so odd.

Underage dancers do occur. Especially if the ballets are presented by ballet schools...which is the standard way ballet companies make money (at least where I was raised in San Diego), much more so than ticket sales.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal

katci13
05-04-2014, 01:22 AM
He could be a janitor. Or an office manager at the studio where they work out and practice in during the week. And also, a lot of ballet dancers teach classes or take extra classes, especially in the off season because they don't just sit around and wait. So depending on your character, he might can take a class.

Also, he could work in marketing (like marketing coordinator or director). He could be a website designer. He could be a photographer or videographer because they take a lot of promotional pictures and video before the season starts to promote their shows throughout the year. He could work in customer service. Fundraising manager. Special Event manager. A secretary or assistant to any of those positions. He can intern someone there, depending on how old he is. Ballet companies have to make or acquire costumes and set pieces throughout the year. So you really have a lot choose from depending on how big your company is.

Ketzel
05-04-2014, 02:49 AM
Underage dancers do occur. Especially if the ballets are presented by ballet schools...which is the standard way ballet companies make money (at least where I was raised in San Diego), much more so than ticket sales.
Of course, there are underage dancers. :) And they do appear in recitals put on by their ballet schools. But they aren't hired by ballet companies, in my experience. If they are in a school with an affiliated dance company and show promise, they may, while underage, be apprenticed to the company. But they will not be employees, they will not be paid, and their participation will be very limited. In the US (which is what I know the most about) it is far more complicated to hire a child performer than an adult, and there are too many qualified dancers for the few available positions for a dance company to take on the additional burden of an underaged dancer.

calieber
05-04-2014, 04:08 AM
This is tremendously helpful, the character is now a guard backstage and I will refer to this thread frequently during outlining and writing.

Niiicola
05-05-2014, 04:29 AM
Some dancers start at companies when they're under 18, particularly in the case of ballet prodigies. Tiler Peck joined the New York City Ballet when she was like 15. It does happen in special cases. I think in a lot of those kinds of cases, their family (or at least one family member) moves with them to the city where they work.

cornflake
05-05-2014, 07:50 AM
Some dancers start at companies when they're under 18, particularly in the case of ballet prodigies. Tiler Peck joined the New York City Ballet when she was like 15. It does happen in special cases. I think in a lot of those kinds of cases, their family (or at least one family member) moves with them to the city where they work.

She was at SAB - it's not like they hired a 15-year-old from Iowa or something off an audition. She moved into an actual company role, yeah, but I don't think she joined the corps until she was 16? - which is working age.

I'm not debating it may have at some point happened, but I'm with Ketzel -I've not heard of, at least in the modern era in the U.S., a company hiring underage dancers. I'm excepting the Peck type of thing, as she was already there and was of an age to legally work, so not what I consider hiring underage dancers (which I'm taking as the hiring underage model thing - where they'd be recruited or try out and move and then there'd have to be alternate schooling set up or something).