For many students today, the last step before going pro is a traineeship—a one or two–year program where dancers can polish up their technique and gain professional performing experience. While more and more companies are launching trainee programs, the opportunities they offer (and tuition they require) vary dramatically. Some trainees get to take company class and dance with the corps in larger ballets. Others get private coaching from the ballet masters. In certain programs, trainees participate in some of the company's most innovative projects.
Take The Joffrey Ballet: This Sunday, Joffrey Academy trainees will perform three premieres by the winners of the company's 2013 Choreographers of Color Awards—Ma Cong, William McClellan and Jeremy McQueen—at Chicago’s Harris Theater. The trainees were given the chance to collaborate with each of the dancemakers in the studio, getting first-hand knowledge of what it's like to be cast in a premiere by an up-and-coming choreographer. "These are talented young artists," says McQueen. "Their thirst for knowledge and willingness to take risks and explore new ways of approaching classical ballet is truly inspiring."
Curious about what else a trainee program might do for your dancing? Keep your eyes peeled for Pointe's first-ever Trainee Guide in our June/July issue.