jimmattimore

salaries

70 posts in this topic

To all-------

I wonder what dancers earn.??

They're so great, and they work so hard.

Here's what I hope-----principals 100K, soloists, 80K, corpsmembers 60K

I am hoping someone will know.

Thanks, JIM

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Thanks for posting that, Jim. I'm sure someone will. The salaries should be on line somewhere, I think, from the unions, but I don't have the URLs for those. If someone does, I hope you'll post.

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Reading through Boston Ballet's agreement (under agreements on the AGMA website, URL posted above by Major Mel), provided this information on page 25 (if you go by the Adobe Acrobat page numbers and not the numbers printed on the pages):

Boston Ballet, Pay per week:

New Dancer $697.52 (lowest pay)

3rd year principal dancer $1300.56 (highest pay)

and to quote the mastercard commercial-living your dream-priceless!

Salaries for all other levels of the company are posted as well.

Houston Ballet, pay per week, from AGMA website, p. 13 of HB agreement:

First year corps $685

Principal dancers $1125

Both companies also include extra pay for extraordinary risk, which is defined by each.

NYCB, p. 10,11

Pay by week:

level A corps $956

principal $1743 (rehearsal week)

principal $2060 (performance week)

ABT is not listed.

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Reading through Boston Ballet's agreement (under agreements on the AGMA website, URL posted above by Major Mel), provided this information on page 25 (if you go by the Adobe Acrobat page numbers and not the numbers printed on the pages):

Boston Ballet, Pay per week:

New Dancer  $697.52 (lowest pay)

3rd year principal dancer  $1300.56 (highest pay)

and to quote the mastercard commercial-living your dream-priceless!

Salaries for all other levels of the company are posted as well.

Houston Ballet, pay per week, from AGMA website, p. 13 of HB agreement:

First year corps $685

Principal dancers $1125

Both companies also include extra pay for extraordinary risk, which is defined by each.

I just posted companies that I'm interested in, not the specific ones mentioned.

Wonderful wonderful. Thanks you

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ABT has a separate union, similar to, but different from, AGMA.

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I don't believe that companies hire dancers for an entire year (52 weeks). They are typically contracted for a season, which could amount to considerably less than 52 weeks, depending on the company home season and touring season. Please correct me if I am wrong.

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keep in mind, those are for union companies, in non union companies, dancers make VERY little... trust me, i know from experience... its not enough to live on and some work for free

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It's true--- the AGMA companies whose contractual salaries are available online represent only the small (and VERY lucky) minority of ballet dancers in the US. Non-union companies typically pay their principal-level dancers about the same as (if not less than) what new corps members earn in NYCB, ABT, or any of the other AGMA companies. True, NYC cost of living is much higher than the cities that many regional companies are located in, but the difference in pay is not proportionate. Couple the salary differences with a lack of other benefits (not health insurance, which virtually all companies provide) such as physical therapists on staff, unlimited pointe shoes, travel expenses, reimbursement for physical maintenance costs (massage, chiro, etc.), built-in seniority pay, exit pay when a dancer retires, and you've got a whole lot of dancers in this country who really DO do it for that priceless joy of doing what they love.

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And another thing is indeed the number of weeks they're employed per year--- I don't think any dancer in the US is employed year-round, but the bigger the company, the more weeks they can offer their dancers. A good contract in a regional company would be around 30 weeks. The rest of the time they're collecting unemployment, which is a tiny fraction of their normal salary.

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Just for balance, in Estonia the corps salary is just under $500 U.S. a month. The soloists do not earn much more. The contract year is 12 months with two months off (mid-June to mid-August). The dancers have class and rehearsal 6 days a week, with an average of 2 performances a week.

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Houston Ballet is guaranteed a 44 week season, which means that (barring any exceptional risks) :

First Year Corps Salary = $30,140

Principal = $49,500.

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The gap between the top, unionized companies and the employment terms described by emhbunhead is sad and dispiriting. Income inequalities (gap between top earners and median earners) are increasing generally in most job descriptions in the US, so I guess it's not unique to ballet.

This may be of-topic, but I wonder how job termination is handled legally and contractually in ballet companies. Must contracts be renegotiated each year, or is there some sort of seniority-based job security? How (if at all) are dancers protected from frivolous termination due to personal discrimination, personality conflict, etc. How are issues like age, weight, technical and aesthetic concerns, etc., handled?

I raise the issue because I'm aware of several dancers -- former soloists and at least one principal in large regional companies frequently mentioned on Ballet Talk -- who have come to smaller and (I assume) less well-paying positions in this neck of the woods. Age and performance ability do not seem to have been an issue in these terminations. I'm also have read (on Ballet Talk) about charges of anti-union hiring/firing policies in at least one major regional company.

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First of all, I must say that the scenario described by emhbunhead has become more and more rare these days. Interestingly, it seems that the smaller the company, the more direct and tyrannical control the management tries to wield over the dancers. The larger, unionized companies obviously are restricted by union regulations on working hours, travel conditions, etc., but I dare say there's more to it than that. This is verging onto another topic, but I will say that I feel psychology has a lot to do with it---- the need of a management to assert control over their employees to make them feel more substantial, or something like that. Anyway...

Getting back to salaries and bart's query about job termination: Again, unionized companies provide dancers with greater job security, to a certain degree. A non-union dancer has literally no recourse if their contract is not renewed for the following season. (Yes, they are offered--or not-- on a yearly basis, though the opportunity to "renegotiate" is, for the most part, not an option). The artistic director's opinion is the final word on hiring and firing, and law suits claiming discrimination are rarely successful. "Artistic standard", and really the whole nature of the ballet business, is hugely subjective. An aging dancer is, yes, aging, but their technique may also be slipping as a result--- who's to say, other than the artistic director, which is the reason they are not rehired?

Union companies require that the director answer to the union when someone is not rehired. This may help prevent intimidation of dancers, or obvious cases of "spite" terminations, but the whole issue of job security is still a big and scary one for most dancers. One final note, which is that most non-union contracts have a clause that gives the company the right to terminate anyone's contract without notice for various (vague and unspecific) reasons having to do with changes in appearance, performance, attitude, or financial hardship of the company. I don't know if this is standard in the business world.

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Not a ballet company (though many members danced for ballet companies): Hubbard Street Dance Co. is a 52-week contract! :clapping:

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From my experience, being in a company and from my friends experinces where they are,the average mid-sized company has a starting pay of $450-$550 and then it doesn't really go up too much after that. If you are a star dancer and have been there a few years you could make between $700-$900. I know some dancers who've been with a company 5-6 years and still make under $600 dollars! Now what the company offers as extras(which shouldn't be considered extras) varies greatly. I would say the majority of your known mid-sized companies provide, Health Insurance and Physical Therapist and the such, but some don't have ANY of that! Just workmans Compensation. Also dancers have to deal with when they are layed off being on Unemployment which also varies from state to state. Some its not even half your salary, others it's almost what you make a week. Then there is dealing with unemployment while trying to do other jobs, as in teaching or performing, but not losing your unemployment.... :clapping:

What we do for the love of our art! :beg: It's ok money isn't everything and I think dancers tend to be happy knowing they are doing what they love and being surronded by such great people, mostly!

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Yes, most dancers are not employed for a full year. In the U.S., I would definitely say that dancers dance for the love of it and nothing else, because they would certainly make more in other jobs. I think that the situation is better in Europe, where they have more respect, more touring (which could also be viewed negatively), and maybe more money proportionately though less than what they would make here. I know of a few dancers that have to have second jobs to make ends meet here in the states. I wonder if that happens as much in Europe?

there are also companies that provide a stipend once a dancer retires. I doubt that I will see that offered during my lifetime in the US, if it is EVER offered!

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This is a bit of an aside, but I was in Romania last year and the ballet in Bucharest was lovely. But the tickets were so cheap that I kept wondering how much do dancers in less economically powerful countries earn? I'm guessing the pay in Russia would be good, but what about elsewhere in eastern europe for example?

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At the recent meeting of Dance/USA, in a session about dancers transitioning out of performing and into second careers, a dancer from Ballet Austin spoke about a "Job Bank" program they have matching dancers skills with temporary jobs during their layoff periods (everything from manual labor and car washing up to more skilled work) His comment was that it made his career as a performer affordable.

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I would caution against comparing salaries in different countries. It's really comparing apples and oranges.

I am not a dancer, but just as an example, I am presently earning in the US a salary which is below average in my profession for someone with my experience, credentials, etc., however it is still MUCH more than I was earning at home where my salary was above average.

Of course, this disparity in salaries is not a problem as far as I'm concerned. :dunno:

Obviously, it's more problematic for Americans who go abroad, as Marga's posts demonstrate.

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In the General Reading & Literature forum, balletbooster brings to our attention a book called Mozart in the Jungle - Sex Drugs & Classical Music.

While much of the hype about this book focuses on the wild times in the classical music world of the seventies, the focus of the interview was on Tindall's research into the disparity between the salaries of performers and artistic directors, conductors, etc. She includes the ballet world in her discussion, as there are many similarities in the way artists are treated across the board in many of the performing arts. This is all part of the book, but it is not getting the press time that the more titillating subject matter is receiving.

http://ballettalk.invisionzone.com/index.p...topic=19984&hl=

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At the recent meeting of Dance/USA, in a session about dancers transitioning out of performing and into second careers, a dancer from Ballet Austin spoke about a "Job Bank" program they have matching dancers skills with temporary jobs during their layoff periods (everything from manual labor and car washing up to more skilled work)  His comment was that it made his career as a performer affordable.

The saddest thing about this whole discussion, to me, is that classical artists who have spent as many years training in their field as a surgeon have to resort to taking side jobs washing cars to make ends meet. Does anyone think this country will ever see a time when classical dancers can realisticly expect to be hired to perform year round?

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Do the companies provide health insurance, dental insurance etc.? I know that they provide free pointe shoes. (which is a must considering how many they go through in their career)

It seems like doctor bills would take most of their money since the average dancer has a humble pay.

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Some do, some can't. In this case (AGMA), you can find it in the contract.

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