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Left: look inside our Studios and the Theaters hosting our Performance Season.
Center: Class with Artistic Director Chiara Ajkun
Right: AjkunBT Photoshoot with our Media Division
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Education in general, and Dance Education with it, evolves throughout time, especially in today's dynamic market. The outdated perception that the takeoff of a professional career should be dictated by age, rather than formation, is often responsible for the failure of many talented dancers. Realistically, neither the desire to have a job, the gift of being a performer or a perfect facility will land you employment. What will, are the skills to join a company in a productive capacity. Workplace awareness, physical strength and technical knowledge, pas de deux and repertory skills, style and musical versatility, the ability to remember and rehearse several shows at once, hands-on theater experience and life skills, including the ability to promote your services for the right establishments, will land you a professional job. No matter how committed you are, the limited hours dedicated to dance training while in school, the lack of partnering availability, performing and in-theater experience, the absence of daily interactions with seasoned company members leave a gap in your readiness. Experiencing the local Nutcracker or relocating children as young as 10 years old to attend a dance school affiliated with a professional company, are certainly not the answers. Inevitably, many graduates of preeminent Institutions lack the same skills. Not only do the standards of athleticism, variety of styles and repertory requirements no longer match the ones of the past century; a school is still a school, and you have been trained to be a student. The performing arts industry comes with a distinctive lifestyle that you must love and embrace to be successful. Familiarity with a variety of cultures, being accustomed to traveling, being comfortable speaking with an audience, maintaining ease in a photoshoot or a lengthy filming session, demonstrating knowledge of the use of space, lighting and scenery on a variety of stages, and proactively understudying roles, are some of the requisites to becoming an asset in the professional world.
The Primary Focus of our Trainee Program is to bridge the gap from a classroom dancer to stage-ready artist. To achieve this goal, Trainees train daily, are provided production and performance experiences, and are encouraged to constructively discuss behind-the-scenes, performance and life tools with professionals and peers during Symposiums. To enhance the experience, Trainees are regularly offered Seminars and Meetings with our full range of Artists, Production and Fashion Consultants, Well Being Unit Professionals, Accounting and Law Firms, and Media Representatives offering professional and career advice. Periodic assessments and visits by our Partners in Dance allow Trainees to move seamlessly towards a successful career.
There is a Legacy, in being an AjkunBT Artist: every Artist, past and present, has earned their place within this proud culture of traditions, symbols and values. Our Leading Artists lead by Artistic Director Chiara Ajkun inspire and mentor our Junior Artists on a daily basis, as a symbol of the trust and unique relationship that our professionals enjoy with the youngest. Our Alumni provide critical support to current and future generations of Artists, and our Partners in Dance allow AjkunBT to remain a premiere source for the employment of the finest professionals.
International Applicants are fully assisted to apply for an H-3 visa; this visa program is designed for foreign dancers who come to train in the United States with a qualifying dance institution. Our Trainee Program, exclusive to the Ajkun Ballet Theatre, takes place in New York, NY.
A FUTURE GENERATION OF LEADERS:
Ajkun Ballet Theatre's multicultural ambience balances the skills of accomplished professionals (Leading Artists) with the dynamic energy of rising talent (Junior Artists). Junior Artists are dancers of outstanding potential, deemed by our Staff to represent the future leaders of the World Dance Community.
Trainees are identified as one of the Junior Artist' s artistic ranks.
The Trainee Body: We, at Ajkun Ballet Theatre, strongly believe that Dance education shall be available to everyone. However, there are programs and programs, and our Trainee program is not for everybody. While our Trainees reflect an extraordinary diversity of accomplishments, talents, interests and backgrounds, they all have a common denominator: they are self-motivated, visionary in their ambition, extremely advanced in their way of thinking and determined to stay healthy and remarkably fit. To ensure that tomorrow's leading dancers reflect the same diversity as the audiences they serve, Ajkun Ballet Theatre is dedicated to admit talented dancers from a multitude of ethnic and economic backgrounds, especially from communities that have been historically underrepresented in the professional world of dance. An AjkunBT dancer is someone for whom the pursuit of excellence is a way of life. As one of the few chosen to embrace the highest artistic standards, you will find versed support in our Professionals, financial foundation and endorsement in our Community, Patrons and Art Organizations to become one of the World's Leaders of tomorrow.
QUALIFICATIONS AND PROCESS TO BECOME A TRAINEE:
To qualify for admission, applicants must be aged 16 and above, demonstrate acumen and the physical prerequisites to sustain intense daily training, strong ballet and pointe (women only) background, interest and predisposition for contemporary movement and other styles of dance, aptitude to professional partnering, and have the potential to suit the world's finest companies. Admission is highly competitive, granted by Audition on a first-come, first-serve basis, to the exhaustion of the limited spots available. There is no official deadline to apply for a position. As AjkunBT Trainees advance to employment, positions become available. Early application is strongly recommended. Candidates may audition at anytime to be offered the first available opening, or may contact our office to be advised about any upcoming opportunities before submitting the audition request. Auditionees may request an approximate traineeship length assessment; such evaluation is not conclusive, and is primarily based on previous qualifications and the short time experience of their performance in the audition. Trainees are evaluated quarterly on their progress towards the market standard. Dancers may be invited to join for a single term, based on qualifications and at the discretion of our Artistic Staff. Talent and qualifications are the driving force behind our decision, regardless of race, color, national origin, citizenship status, religion, creed, sex, sexual orientation, or any other protected characteristic as established by law.
Requesting a Special Audition: candidates have the option to join the Ajkun Open Classes for an extensive period of time, before a formal audition. This opportunity is offered to facilitate Dancers with special conditions to perform at their best by growing familiar with the Staff and environment (for example: dancers recovering from injuries, individuals that do not test well, etc.).
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or visit our Audition page to download the audition form.
The program is structured in Terms, corresponding to The Company's repertory productions. Terms are numbered for the only purpose of facilitating understanding, in no specific attendance's order. Term is thereafter indicated as T and a number. For example T1 reads Term 1. Each Term begins with emphasis on IPPS and Training, evolves in Production Experience, and ends with Performance Evaluation.
Training: Under the leadership of the Company's Artistic Director Dr. Chiara Ajkun and our Trainee Division's Coordinators, Trainees participate in an extensive schedule of classes and rehearsals taught by the outstanding Ballet Masters, Repertory Répétiteurs and Choreographers on our Roster. Throughout the day, a variety of Leading Artists demonstrate steps and choreography. As Dancers incur in periods of intense strain during the performance season, AjkunBT focuses on periods of pure training in preparation, and gradually progresses in longer measures of repertory training and rehearsals.
Daily Curriculum: Each day commences with CLASSICAL BALLET TECHNIQUE CLASS, integrated by IPPS (Injury Prevention - Physical Strengthening Plan) in support of a healthy and long career in the field; POINTE (Women) and GRAND ALLEGRO (Men) work follows. PARTNERING, REPERTORY, and LABORATORY CHOREOGRAPHIC expose dancers to the Ajkun Methodology and other styles to include: MODERN DANCE TECHNIQUES, AMERICAN CHOREOGRAPHY and ELECTIVE CLASSES.
Repertory Concentration: Each Term offers a specific Repertory concentration, matching the Season's production. Trainees complement their experience of Repertory by concomitantly observing our Leading Artists rehearsing and performing the productions taught to them. Trainees work with Company Residents and Guest Artists to learn AjkunBT and other Repertory performed by preeminent Companies, worldwide.
T1: October-November & December. Primary focus on XIX & XX Century Repertory Ballets;
T2: March- April – May. Primary focus on Innovative Neoclassical and Contemporary Creations;
T3: June & July (European Residencies). Primary focus on XX & XXI Century Repertory Ballets;
T4: July & August: July & August (Summer Residency). Primary focus on Large -Scale Ballets and Contemporary Creations.
T5 & T6: September, January & February. Primary focus on Contemporary and New Creations.
Production Experience: Trainees are provided with hands-on theater experience in areas critical to the performing arts. Lighting designers, Make up Artists, Stage Managers, Costume Personnel, Photographers and Filmographers side our Choreographers to provide all-around exposure. Trainees learn the differences between technique classes during training and performance weeks, assess a variety of stage dimensions, and understand interactions of lighting, props, and costumes with the dancers' execution. The production experience is supplemented by Seminars in WORKPLACE AWARENESS, STAGING & PERFORMING, NUTRITION & INJURY PREVENTION, MAKE-UP & HAIR, CAREER PREPARATION & PROFESSIONAL NETWORKING and LIFE ON TOUR.
Performance: Experiencing the needs of a variety of audiences is paramount for a dancer. Dancers in the Trainee Program will gain performance experience through dedicated Residencies and Performances, Collaborative Projects reaching out to the community at large, and participation in performances. Trainees are fully prepared to perform a variety of repertory and provided the chance to experience leading roles. A series of Meetings with Art Administrators and Performing Art Students of the Public School System, Museum Curators, Seasoned Patrons, and Industry Professionals help Trainees identify the need for a variety of audiences. Trainees will be trained for Public Speaking and Media Interviews leading up to performing experiences. Our season will continue to serve as a platform for our dancers to broaden their experience around the globe as well as to receive Employment opportunities. Producers, Presenters, Agents and Company Directors who regularly invite AjkunBT Artists and Alumni to be part of their productions and that are part of the Company's network "Partners in Dance" have the opportunity to assess the performing viability of our Dancers during Performances, Arts in Education, Showcases, Open Rehearsals and VIP events throughout New York City and New York State. Trainees who apply, and are approved by our Artistic Staff, are able to study and perform in Europe during the Tours. Auditions in Europe may be planned for the same period facilitating employment opportunities in European Companies without the additional expenses budgeted for an audition tour.
WORLDWIDE PROMOTION & PROFESSIONAL NETWORK:
The AjkunBT Press & Communications Division promotes all of our Artists on a global scale. The campaign comprises of online, printed, photographic and video materials. The network created by AjkunBT Administrators, Artists, Alumni, Patrons and Partners, alongside partnerships with many Dance Companies, help our Trainees to move effortlessly toward a professional career. Our organization is regarded worldwide as a primary source to seek out some of the worlds finest artists for employment openings. As of December 2019, over 150 companies - worldwide - have employed AjkunBT Artists & Alumni.
LIFE WITH AJKUNBT:
Since New York will become your professional home away from home, and no single arrangement suits all needs equally, we gladly provide our Trainees with an extensive housing list to secure suitable options for a thriving life in New York City. Trainees invited to join the Company on its National and International Tours will be provided with accommodation arrangements. The Ajkun Ballet Theatre Staff will assist all Company Trainees who need information concerning visas to enter the United States, and in case of a medical emergency on premise.
GRANTS, STIPENDS & EMPLOYMENT:
The Ajkun Ballet Theatre absorbs a significant portion of the Traineeship costs; the actual amount is notified at admission, and varies on individual basis and financial availability. Such amount is based solely on merit. The Trainee Division strongly encourages applicants to seek financial support from extramural agencies. Trainees who are awarded competitive extramural funds, which will be used toward their traineeship support, upon succeeding in our program, may be eligible for a Stipend allowance to be applied towards living or traveling expenses. The Company does not accept unsolicited financial requests. The Artistic Director will advise the AjkunBT Boards about qualifying Trainees, and the grant awarded will be directly communicated to the recipient. Contributors have the option to stipulate their donations or underwrite a Dancer by supporting the Dancer's Ring. The AjkunBT Fund may award Trainees with additional Educational or International Exchange Grants. The Trainee Division's Coordinators, a core of Senior Artists and Independent Experts constantly evaluate Trainees and consult quarterly. A Trainee is deemed to have successfully completed his/her Traineeship when demonstrating to have acquired the skills to be a productive member, in a Corps de Ballet capacity, of the recognized standard of many preeminent Dance Companies, worldwide. At the completion of the Traineeship, the Trainee's Coordinator informs of industry's upcoming employment opportunities, and a Senior Company Artist advises Trainees about the applicable procedure to audition for the befitting establishments. When appropriate, professionals from our Accounting and Law Firms meet with the Dancer for advice. To raise contribution for your traineeship, have your sponsor visit Bravo! on the Dancer's Ring or www.nycharities.org
Past experience indicates that University/College Credits may be earned toward completion of Undergraduate and Graduate degrees. A maximum of 30 credits was earned for a full season of attendance. Teacher's Certification Credits can only be earned through participation in the Arts in Education Program, held in the New York State Public School System. These credits have been provided by Universities and Colleges that partnered with AjkunBT. Please contact your College/University advisor about this option.
Chiara Ajkun created the first Ballet Trainee program in the Country.
Designed for EXTREMELY ADVANCED DANCERS in the Performing Arts and located in the Dance Capital of the World,
our program offers unparalleled professional expertise and understanding of the Industry and Touring opportunities.
Our Alumni have been employed in over 150 professional dance companies around the world.
"Training with Chiara Ajkun is life changing. Chiara' s knowledge, artistry and outstanding leadership has no comparison in today's ballet world and attracts the most brilliant talents of the Globe. Chiara's coaching is behind the most notable dancers gracing the stages of Australia, Asia, Europe, the Americas and the United States. If you can get into the Ajkun Ballet's Trainee Program, you will be on your way to success".
The Ballet World - Grace Ann Whitman
Dance Students interested in learning about other educational offerings, please click to visit our Education for Dancers Page.
You are encouraged to contact us by any of the means listed at the bottom of this page, and we look forward to hearing from you.
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Ballet Trainee| Ajkun Ballet Theatre, New York City Dance Companies