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Artistic directors sift through hundreds of audition packets a season, and your resumé is often your first chance to catch their attention. Naturally, you want a document that makes a positive impression. But some surprising (and seemingly minor) details can inadvertently turn a director off. So, how do you make your resumé stand out—for the right reasons?

Focus on Essentials

At an audition, directors need to see your essential information at a glance: where you trained and what companies and choreographers you've worked with. Cincinnati Ballet artistic director Victoria Morgan scans for names she recognizes. "It's good to know if a dancer has worked with a respected leader in the industry, and if there's a colleague I can call as a reference. I'm also more inclined to take a second look at a student if I recognize a particular school or teacher," she says.

Your resumé should be no longer than one side of one page. "When I've got 600 resumés sitting here, a three-page resumé is a disincentive to me," says Kansas City Ballet artistic director Devon Carney. "It comes down to time—how quickly can you present your information to an unknown pair of eyes?"

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Tyler Donatelli, shown here in Etudes, initially turned down an offer to train at Houston Ballet Academy. Photo by Amitava Sarkar, Courtesy Houston Ballet.

Harper Ortlieb knew something needed to change. Her three-hour commute to daily classes at the School of Oregon Ballet Theatre was unsustainable, and her obsession with ballet was intensifying. The family considered “away-from-home" training, but when Ortlieb, then 14, was accepted to the Bolshoi Ballet Academy's year-round program in Moscow (after attending their summer intensive in Connecticut), they were caught off guard. “Harper had an unshakable dream of training in Russia, but until that point it was just that—a dream," says Layne Baumann, Harper's mother. “We knew time was moving swiftly, and this was one of those rare opportunities that can truly shape your future."

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Oregon Ballet Theatre is back from the brink, thanks in no small part to its many friends in the ballet community. On June 12, the company—facing severe financial difficulties that left it scrambling to raise $750,000 by the end of that month—held a fundraising gala dubbed Dance United. Dancers from all over North America, including members of New York City Ballet, Boston Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, The National Ballet of Canada and The Joffrey Ballet, performed together to save OBT.

 

“Dancers have a bond that transcends time and distance, and that was really apparent to me that evening,” says OBT principal Gavin Larsen, who also performed in the gala.

 

Dance United raised $330,000 and lent the fundraising campaign much-needed momentum. The company ultimately exceeded its goal, pulling together $907,747 by the end of June. “The enthusiasm for this gala reassured me that art is not a dispensable item and that people won't let it leave their lives,” says Larsen.


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