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Ballet Talk for Dancers

what life is like for professional male danseur


Guest happycc

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If you're in a company environment, then time spent in rehearsals starts every day with a company class, then moves into rehearsal. You can count on being in four to six hours of rehearsal. Then in performance, you start with company class, have a couple of rehearsals, then on to the performance. It's a more than eight hour a day job. During layoffs, there is no shortage of work for male dancers, between guest dancing and teaching. You have to account yourself self-employed for those periods and make the necessary tax and social security arrangements for yourself. If you're not careful, you can work yourself right out of two weeks' vacation every year. These breaks are necessary. Injuries on the job are covered by workers' compensation, but the loss of time is a problem for everyone involved, but especially frustrating to the dancer.

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Will our sons be able to live on dancer income, or will thye need to plan a second job into the off weeks? Do you think there is enough guest teacher/dancer work available to carry a young man though the non-contract time?

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Speaking from my limited experience: a few of the dancers who dance with the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre have second jobs but most do not. It is a union company though and while the wages are not high they are livable. Most seem to teach and guest through the summer as well as take needed time off. I am assuming (perhaps naively) that my son will be able to live on the money he earns as a dancer.

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  • Administrators

It really depends on the company. Major companies, like ABT, NYCB, Houston, SF, PNB, Joffrey, and Boston pay well enough to live on. Some of the regional companies which are not union, like Washington, Ballet Florida, Texas Ballet, etc., usually have shorter seasons and also pay considerably less than the big companies. I think there is a pretty big range in the pay from the very small companies, to the medium size companies (like 20-30 dancers) and the big companies.

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However, the off-season dance jobs, carefully managed, can realize more $$$ than the "regular" job, and on tour you can make out like a bandit with per diem, and creative use of friends and relatives! :yes: There's lots of work out there. The trick is, finding the people who are willing to pay properly for it! Lots of men and women are finding them, though, and doing quite well.

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Guest happycc

I take it there is a lot of traveling involved as well. I suppose it is hard to have a family life with wife and kids.

Is it eary morning hours at work or late night hours?

Carolyn

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Both, happy :yes: Seriously, it's early morning on the rehearsal schedule, and late nights during performance schedules.

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Guest PAmom

Some of the things that were surprises to my son this year include how long the days were and how much the overtime paid. He would be totally dead at the end of a day that started before 10 am and ended at 11pm but still say, "Yeah, but the overtime today was sweet."

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Carolyn, dear, what are you doing? Are you trying to line up reasons why your son shouldn't dance?

 

http://www.collegegrad.com/careers/proft25.shtml

 

Here's the money angle on it. These figures include all dancers, ballet, modern, tap, ethnic, things there are no names for, and eccydiasts.

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Guest happycc

No no of course I want him to dance if that is in his heart. I just want to know everything about it ahead of time. Just want to know.....prepare if we need to.

 

That is just me.....

Even before we purchased a beaded dragon I did all kinds of research before bringing him home. Same with this--it is unfamiliar territory for me.

If he wanted to be a school teacher-no problem I have done the research on that as I am one. If he wanted to be a doctor, no problem-did the research as I was premed before being a teacher. A clothing designer-no problem my mom is one and know what life is like being one. A business man or woman-no problem my dad is one. A scientist-got one of those in my family. A computer geek-got that in our family as well. But no one is a dancer so just want to know more about.

 

I wholeheartedly support him in being a dancer as I just want him to be happy and content with life.

Carolyn

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This dancer business is a whole 'nother universe from teachers, or doctors, or pro cybernerd, or anything else. I believe that this website just used US Dept. of Labor statistics and classed dancers and choreographers together. Earnings made from teaching, I think, are computed under the job heading for Teachers. That's why dancers hustle so much in the off-season for teaching positions!

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