The below article was written last year (Salaries accurate as of 98/99 season).<P>Five other dancers had their contracts not renewed: Philippe Dubuc (14 years), Michael Doerner (8), Sarah Marks (6), Misa Yokose (5) and Shandelle Warkentin (3). The NBoC engaged in a heated dispute with its dancers over the length of their pay in the summer of /97. Valerie Wilder tried to break a collective agreement guaranteeing 52 weeks of work to members of the corps once they’ve completed 6 years of service. Beginning next season, any artist in their 6th year of seniority will reap the benefits of a 52 week contract. Wilder wanted to whittle it down to a guarantee of 39 weeks. A year round contract is very unique. The New York City Ballet only guarantees 38 weeks of work. Canadian Actors’ Equity accused the National Ballet of failing to honor its contractual commitment to numerous dancers. One of which was Kim Glasco. With the fall edition of the Karen Kain Farewell tour on the line Wilder gave in. Ironically, Wilder used to represent the dancers to the Canadian Actors’ Equity Association (CAEA) when she was a ballerina. After she hung up her pointe shoes, Wilder became a dancer’s agent.<P>Did the pointe shoe fall on Marks and Yokose for their seniority? CAEA has filed grievances on behalf of them. Executive Director Susan Wallace says: “The National Ballet is going back on the principle, negotiated in good faith, that those dancers who have performed with the company for at least six years should be rewarded with a year-long contract. Instead, they are targeting them to leave the company.” This is all gray area. How do you prove the National Ballet released them to save on the extra 13 weeks of work? Andrea Burridge and Je-an Salas were both offered contracts for next season even though they’re eligible for a 52 week contract. Still, it’s hard not to see this being a factor. If the National doesn’t see soloist potential in a member of the corps they might be out the door before they commit to a full year. Based on 39 weeks of work at the union’s minimum guaranteed pay rate of $544.61¢ per week, a 1st year corps de ballet artist would earn $21,239.79¢. The number crunching for an artist with 7 years experience works out to $33,482.28¢ per year. If you have career aspirations in ballet the CAEA web site <A HREF="http://www.caea.com" TARGET=_blank>www.caea.com</A> is well worth the visit. It’s incredibly detailed high lighting everything from minimum guaranteed salaries to rest periods after a matinee performance to pay for Principals no longer in the company who appear in the souvenir program. Will Kudelka cough up $61 for using Glasco’s image as part of next season’s Cinderella?<P>Below is a salary comparison between the National Ballet of Canada and the New York City Ballet (All salaries converted to Canadian dollars). Please be aware that the New York City Ballet is one of the top companies in the world and the cost of living in New York is much higher than Toronto. The weak Canadian dollar also factors into the wide discrepancy in pay. The below salaries are the guaranteed minimums negotiated by the CAEA and American Guild for Musical Artists.<P>Please note: salaries for NBoC dancers with 1 to 5 years experience have been extrapolated to 45 weeks (next year’s tentative schedule). All New York City Ballet salaries are based on 40 weeks (38 week union guarantee plus an average of 2 weeks touring). NYCB dancer classifications differ from the NBoC. For instance, their principal dancers perform character artist roles.<P>The National Ballet of Canada <BR>Corps de Ballet Weekly Salary Yearly Salary <BR>1st year $544.61 $24,507.45 <BR>2nd year $570.40 $25,668.00 <BR>3rd year $584.58 $26,306.10 <BR>4th year $598.76 $26,944.20 <BR>5th year $612.95 $27,582.75 <BR>6th year $628.41 $32,677.32 <BR>7th year $643.89 $33,482.28 <BR>8th year $660.64 $34,353.28 <BR>9th year $677.42 $35,225.84 <BR>10th year $694.18 $36,097.36 <BR>10 and up $707.82 $36,806.64 <BR> <BR>2nd Soloist <BR>1st year $660.64 $34,353.28 <BR>2nd year $677.42 $35,225.84 <BR>3rd year $694.18 $36,097.36 <BR>3 and up $707.82 $36,806.64 <BR> <BR>1st Soloist <BR>1st year $770.23 $40,051.96 <BR>2nd year $796.02 $41,393.04 <BR>3rd year $821.79 $42,733.08 <BR>4th year $847.59 $44,074.68 <BR>5th year $873.37 $45,415.24 <BR>6th year $899.16 $46,756.32 <BR>7 and up $916.83 $47,675.16 <BR> <BR>Principal Character Artist <P> $921.09 $47,896.68 <BR>Principal Dancer <P> $957.18 $49,773.36 <P><BR>New York City Ballet<P>Corps de Ballet Weekly Salary Yearly Salary <BR>A $1,255.90 $50,235.90 <BR>B $1,507.08 $60,283.08 <BR>C $1,796.31 $71,852.56 <BR>D $2,093.16 $83,726.50 <BR> <BR>Soloist <BR> $2,435.68 $97,427.20 <BR> <BR>Principal Dancer <P> $3,044.60 $121,784.00 <BR> <BR>The payroll of the dancers for the NBoC only eats up about 18% of their costs. That pales in comparison to pro sports where athletes’ salaries account for between 50 to 55%. This isn’t an entirely fair comparison because the orchestra, sets, wardrobe and lighting play a major role in ballet. Regardless, Glasco making $97,000 per year (with an additional 33K guesting) really isn’t that much when you compare it to the multi-million dollar world of pro sports. The odds of becoming a ballerina are just as slim as making it into the big leagues. The National Ballet School auditions about a thousand candidates every year. Only around 50 will be accepted. Training at the school starts from grade 5. The competition never ends and neither does the auditioning. Not everyone will stay in the program ‘till completion of high school. Careers in ballet can end for many reasons: height and width have ended many. There’s also the ever present danger of a career ending injury. Graduation from the company does not assure you of a job in a professional company. Bottom line: You better love ballet because it takes many, many, many pawns to create a principal dancer. And even if you make it, odds are you’ll eventually be placed in the fork by a black knight like James Kudelka.<P><BR>------------------<BR>Michael Goldbarth<P><p>[This message has been edited by grace (edited June 13, 2000).]
The world revolves around the beauty of the ballerina.