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Corps member Matthew Murphy leaves ABT


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It must be so hard for a dancer (especially a young dancer) when they are felled by an illness that essentially ends their career before it really started (or had a chance to take off).

It's bad enough that dancers have such a short shelf life (pro athletes too), but Mr. Murphy (whom I see at the NYCB a lot. He's friends with a bunch of the dancers) didn't even get his shot. I never saw "Tanny" (at 51 I'm a little too young. How great to say I'm too young for something!:;) but

I've seen her dance on films and DVD's and WOW! As awful (and it truly was) as it was when polio struck her, she was already a star (and

her legacy will live on). I just know that Mr. Murphy will do well in whatever he chooses to do next. I wish him all the best, as I know we all do.

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It must be so hard for a dancer (especially a young dancer) when they are felled by an illness that essentially ends their career before it really started (or had a chance to take off).

It's bad enough that dancers have such a short shelf life (pro athletes too), but Mr. Murphy (whom I see at the NYCB a lot. He's friends with a bunch of the dancers) didn't even get his shot. I never saw "Tanny" (at 51 I'm a little too young. How great to say I'm too young for something!:;) but

I've seen her dance on films and DVD's and WOW! As awful (and it truly was) as it was when polio struck her, she was already a star (and

her legacy will live on). I just know that Mr. Murphy will do well in whatever he chooses to do next. I wish him all the best, as I know we all do.

But pro athletes get paid enough to keep them comfortable in later years (if they were smart with their money sense). Ballet dancers in comparison get pennies on the dollar.

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Printscess,

There are plenty of pro athletes that do not get paid much money at all (I have a bit of a professional frame of reference here ) - especially in the minor leagues etc. Also some dance companies (the biggest ones), from what I know, pay their dancers semi-decently.

I've always admired dancers who find the time/energy -- I'm not sure how they do it! -- to attend college or courses (like Jenifer Ringer of NYCB) to prepare for the future. It's a short shelf life for sure.

And look at what a great job Kristin Sloan has done (again NYCB. She's the new media director) in reinventing herself.

There's a "Dancers in Transition" program (national. Non-profit) that is there to help dancers transition. I do know that Matt Murphy partook in that program, as did Stephen Hanna (who will be the older Billy Elliot on Broadway).

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There are plenty of pro athletes that do not get paid much money at all (I have a bit of a professional frame of reference here ) - especially in the minor leagues etc. Also some dance companies (the biggest ones), from what I know, pay their dancers semi-decently.

I agree. Stars in the big sports (NFL, NBA, MLB, non-U.S. soccer/football, Tennis and Golf) do well, but there are many athletes on the fringes (minor leagues, satellite leagues, semi-pro, etc. ) and in other sports who are trying to get by. Also, most female athletes aren't raking in the money other than an elite few.

Even in the major leagues, even though the league minimum usually gives a good living and something to start a new life, I don't think it's something most athletes can support their families on for the rest of their lives.

I wish Matt the best. I have enjoyed reading his blog, and look forward to his new adventures.

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To further the analogy, dancing for ABT is the "big leagues", which for men pay:

Minimum Starting Salaries:

NHL: 450K

NFL: 285K

MLB: 390K

NBA: 427K

For the women?

WNBA: 34,500

Very few of these athletes are living in NYC or San Francisco, either. Maybe not enough to retire on after four years, but certainly enough to live comfortably and a good start in owning a home.

Not to mention the huge tax breaks and stadium/arena-renovation subsidies that major league sports teams get from cities, states, and counties -- sometimes even overriding the citizen's votes (but I'm not still bitter about the Mariners' last stadium, no...) -- that dwarf the amount of money that arts organizations receive from government.

But back to the topic, I wish Matthew Murphy luck and happiness.

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I just wanted to mention that Matthew Murphy seems to have taken his blogging to a new level and has started a new career as an arts journalist. He has been a contributing feature writer and commentator for Playbill for both theater and dance. There is an article about Christopher Wheeldon's "Morphoses" company by Matthew Murphy in the current October 2008 playbill that is being distributed for San Francisco Ballet and ABT at City Center.

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