Junior Companies

Many ballet companies now have their own Junior Companies, as well as apprentices working with the main company.

Neither guarantees a later placing with the main company.

However, members of Junior Companies are trained specifically to meet the requirements of the main company, and in general the rate of progression into the main company is high.

In addition, a stint with a Junior Company offers the invaluable opportunity of individual tuition for maximum development of a young dancer’s potential.

Junior Companies tour with their own programmes, but are required to take part in performances by the main company.

As well as their own classes, they are required to attend some of the main company classes.

As a rule, Junior Companies employ students or new graduates up to 21-years of age.

Pay is necessarily lower than that for a full corps de ballet first year contract. However, many offer benefits in kind, such as accommodation, as well as relevant scholarships and bursaries.

Next you’ll find information on three European junior companies and one American.

Dutch National Ballet Junior Company

Founded: 2013
Based: Amsterdam
Number of dancers: 12
Preferred age range: 17-21
Maximum length of stay: 2 years
Access: by audition (pre-selected) or by direct invitation from the Artistic Coordinator
Year 1 remuneration: monthly pay €300 + 2 pairs of pointe shoes. Full scholarship to attend the DNB School. Accommodation
Year 2 remuneration: €2,059 per month
Repertoire: the classics, eg pas-de-deux from Swan Lake, Napoli; modern masters, eg, Hans van Manen; specially commissioned pieces from young choreographers eg Ernst Meisner, Robert Binet
Progression: 7 out of 12 from 2013 intake progressed into the main company; 3 remained in the juniors; 2 found employment in main companies elsewhere.

Zurich Ballet Junior Company

Founded: 2001
Based: Zurich
Number of dancers: 13
Age Range: 18-22
Maximum length of employment: 2 years
Access: post-graduation by audition (pre-selected)
Remuneration: CHF 2,400 per month (incl. paid holiday) tax deducted at source + performance pay (CHF 80 approx. after tax – per performance)
Health Insurance: (mandatory in Switzerland) – subsidised by private benefactors
Repertoire: besides being required to dance with the main company (up to 60 performances per year in the opera house), the junior company dance their own programme of specially commissioned pieces. Extensive international touring.

Bavarian State Ballet II

Founded: 2010
Based: Munich
Number of dancers: 16
Age Range: 17-20
Maximum length of employment: 2 years
Access: trainees of the Bavarian State Ballet and holders of full scholarships from the Heinz-Bosl Foundation.
Benefits in kind: heavily subsidised accommodation at the Heinz-Bosl Foundation’s hostel in central Munich.
Repertoire: ranges from Balanchine to Hans van Manen and Nacho Duato and includes specially commissioned works.

American Ballet Theatre Studio Company

Founded: 2000
Based: New York
Number of dancers: 14
Age Range: 16-20
Maximum length of employment: 2 years
Access: open auditions held in New York and Long Beach, California
Curriculum: extensive, including all the dance disciplines + eg nutrition, stress management and injury prevention.
Progression: more than half the dancers in the ABT main company started their career in the ABT studio company.

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