CriticalDance Forum

Professional ballet dancer as a career?
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Author:  ballerina91 [ Mon Sep 05, 2005 4:43 pm ]
Post subject:  Professional ballet dancer as a career?

I am fourteen and take ballet six days a week. I take ballet professionally with really great teachers, and my parents support me. The problem is, I heard dancers don't have too high of a salary, which is not OK with my mom, though it's fine with me, because I really, really love ballet. Does anyone know the annual salary of a professional ballet dancer, let's say with a company like the Pennsylvania Ballet or Housten Ballet? If not, does anyone know where I can find that sort of information out?

Author:  citibob [ Tue Sep 06, 2005 6:17 am ]
Post subject: 

I believe that NYCB salaries start at just over $20,000. That is a pittance, considering that it's hard to find a good place to live in NYC for less than $700/mo, which is about half of the takehome for that salary. And other things just eat away at take-home pay at an amazing rate.

Dancers in Houston live somewhat better, once you consider that the cost of living is so much lower.

The vast majority of dancers never make it into a job that pays as well as PA or Houston Ballet. In that case, you can expect to make maybe half of what the big companies pay, and no health insurance.

Your mother has very valid concerns, which are easier to understand if you DON'T have the things money can provide --- food, shelter, health insurance. Unfortunately, far too many dancers barely get these basics, if that. It is a very difficult life, economically.

Author:  ksneds [ Tue Sep 06, 2005 2:08 pm ]
Post subject: 

Actually, I think NYCB corps members make quite a bit more than that... though it's still not a great salary compared to jobs outside the arts.

This year, the weekly salary for a starting corps member is $ 956 , and with about two months on layoff this is close to or more than $40,000. And it doesn't include overtime, payment for photo shoots, hazardout-role payments etc.

You can see the actual contracts for about 10 US companies at the AGMA site: ... tracts.htm


Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Tue Sep 06, 2005 3:06 pm ]
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Great info, Kate, re. the premier company in the US. But in the context of many professional ballet dancers' pay, particularly outside the top 10 or so US companies, I'm confident that citibob's comments are correct.

Author:  ballerina91 [ Tue Sep 06, 2005 3:19 pm ]
Post subject: 

Thank you all so much! That sets my mid at rest. Thank you again and again. I really appreciate it!

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