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Ballet Companies With 28 Week Contracts or More

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balletbooster   
balletbooster

I've edited my original thread starter with the updated information from Vicarmac and Mr. Munger showing both budget amounts and contract lengths for companies. Please add and correct as necessary!

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Guest balletmama   
Guest balletmama

I am a little confused. I am very interested in the lists provided here. But then I read that ABT only provides 36 weeks of work. Surely those are 36 pretty good weeks! I mean, their budget is $25,135,609. On the other hand, their productions are pretty lavish and undoubtedly costly. And they have some expensive principals, although some of these have individual sponsors. Just for the sake of comparison, there's Ballet Memphis, 40 weeks with a budget of $3,047,972; that's four more weeks...but a lot smaller budget. How can we begin to translate that into dancer's compensation? How do we make sense of these numbers? Is there a breaking point or some sort of ratio of weeks to budget to production costs we could use as a guideline, to determine whether a particular company pays something like a living wage? I am no economist, nor even an accountant, but I would like to understand better.

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Guest Leigh Witchel   
Guest Leigh Witchel

[barging in, but hopefully being helpful!]

 

Balletmama -

 

The magic number missing here is pay per week (and also types of contracts.)

 

Outside of NYCB and ABT which have their own pay-scales, the top companies are by and large members of AGMA (the American Guild of Musical Artists, which represents dancers) and/or have AGMA equivalent contracts. AGMA is a notoriously weak union compared to musicians' unions for instance, but it affords the dancers within it a minimum pay scale and certain controls over working conditions. Frankly, for companies in America to clear the bar and be able to offer a union contract is a big deal.

 

So it's not a perfect sign, but if you see a company that your child is aiming for offers an AGMA contract (or an equivalent), it means they are paid a living wage for the weeks they work.

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K8smom   
K8smom

This is not extremely helpful, but I seem to recall an issue of Dance Magazine (or maybe Pointe?) from a couple of years ago that listed information on companies, including - for many but not all - starting salaries for corps members along with number of weeks of work. I thought that it was to be an annual thing, like the "SI" and "college" issues. Sorry to be so vague; does anyone else remember this?

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Guest Vicarmac   
Guest Vicarmac

It was one of the first Pointe Magazines. They had that stuff and whether apprentices got a stipend etc. They also had an issue (either that one or right after) that had several dancers that told where they danced, how they got there, what they paid in rent, if they had to have a roommate and jobs they had in the off season or how they made extra dough. It was very interesting.

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Guest MommaJambe   
Guest MommaJambe

K8smom, are you thinking of the listings in the "company auditions" issues of Pointe and Dance magazines? In the listings you can find the starting salary, perks [shoes, insurance, etc.], number of weeks working and touring, number of company members and apprentices, and how many the company is hiring. I find it interesting how some big cities have small companies, and vice versa; and the perks some companies offer, like massages.

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Guest Vicarmac   
Guest Vicarmac

No it was not the audition issue from either. At least not what I am talking about. It was before Pointe had a company audition issue I think. It listed quite a few companies, their starting salaries, whether they apprenticed or how most dancers got there I think. It wasn't a listing from the companies like the audition issues have but an article about getting a contract and how it worked at several companies. What to expect pay wise etc.

Even though some of that info is in the audition issues this was different, telling you what you could really expect with different contracts not just a starting salary guideline. And what different companies do.

 

About that other article, it did have more guys but it had some women and it was interesting either way. Oops did you take out part of your message?

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Guest balletmama   
Guest balletmama

Thanks, Leigh. That AGMA affiliation sounds like an item for the list. Vicarmac, on your list I see you note that many of the companies are not union-affiliated. Does this mean that you have info re which ones actually are? Or is this information -- AGMA-affiliated ballet companies -- available somewhere?

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Guest Vicarmac   
Guest Vicarmac

If you noticed on my list I state it came right from one of the company audition issues of Pointe, Dance does it too. They list what companies have given them regarding that stuff. Some companies only give them numbers to call for info but many state whether they are union affiliated or not. Usually the ones that give contract length, perks, starting salaries and so on also tell if they are union or not with a few call for info. Dance Magazines company issue is always Febuary after the Jan. SI issue. Pointe so far has followed that lead I think by having it be after the SI issue but it is still evolving.

I got what I listed right from last winters issue of Pointe Magazine.

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K8smom   
K8smom

Thanks for the details, everyone. I was probably thinking of the company audition issue of Dance or Pointe, but I've only seen this listing once, and my daughter has been getting Dance Magazine for several years. I must have missed it last year, so didn't realize it was actually an annual thing. We'll be looking for it this year, along with the other information given above. This is a great thread, by the way!

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Guest Leigh Witchel   
Guest Leigh Witchel

BW -

 

Those are only sample contracts, I think. I believe several other companies are also AGMA. (For instance, I think Cincinnati Ballet is AGMA, but I could be wrong.)

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BW   
BW

Thanks, Leigh - you would think there'd be more wouldn't you? I'm going to see what I can come up with a little more effort.

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BW   
BW

Of course, Leigh, you were right (including the Cincinnati Ballet part)! If one wants to view the other members of the AGMA, use this link: http://www.MusicalArtists.org/companies.htm

 

You'll see all of their signatories but I think it's pretty easy to spot the ballet companies. The AGMA does plan to have all their contracts online at some point in the future.

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LMCtech   
LMCtech

Back to that ABT vs. Memphis Ballet issue. You have to also take into account how many dancers are in the company. I think Memphis only has about 20 dancers and ABT has upwards of 80. That will seriously affect the bottom line. ABT is also more principal heavy than a small regional like Memphis.

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