What does under mean here, how do you define it?

From a biography:

Shum graduated from Arroyo Grande High School in 2000. He started dancing with his high school dance company team and continued his career in San Francisco under several different studios.

3 Answers 3


"Under the tutelage of"; "being taught by"; or possibly "as part of the professional company associated with". For another example, you could say that a novice artist studies under (i.e., is taught by) a master artist.

"Shum studied under such-and-such studio" (as opposed to such-and-such teacher) doesn't seem quite right to me, but the meaning is clear enough.


The ordinary English idioms are:

  • One studies under a master artist or craftsman; it’s a metaphor drawn from the old guild system in arts and scholarship, where an apprentice or student put himself under the master’s discipline.

  • One studies in or at the studio which the master directs.

COCA gives no examples of studying under a studio. Google yields 105 instances of under the studio of, mostly referring to artists artists and productions “under” a film, recording or animation studio. Eliminating duplicates leaves 21 unique uses. Of these:

  • Four occur in student biographies of pre-20th-century painters
  • One occurs in the biography of a floristry instructor
  • One occurs in the resume of a high-school dancer
  • One occurs in the self-written biography of a Russian jazz musician
  • 14 occur in program-style biographies of musicians, all of East Asian origin.

I have no hesitation in pronouncing “under the studio of” a mistake by persons unfamiliar with the accepted idiom.


Per the OED:

III. In senses implying that one thing is covered by, or included in, another.

18. With words denoting protection, care, or benevolent interest. See also auspice3, protection1b.

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