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DancinFeet

Dancer's Salary?

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DancinFeet

I heard that second companies only pay $100 a week from someone i know who's auditioning for Houston Ballet II. Is that true? and is it like that for all companies? or just second companies? Is that a normal salary for a dancer? It doesn't seem like something you could live off of at all..I mean, I know anyone who's a professional isn't doing it for the money, but they DO have to eat and live somewhere. :blink:

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Victoria Leigh

Every company is different, DancinFeet. Full company members will earn considerably more than that, and those who are in major and fairly large regional companies are usually able to support themselves. The salaries vary a great deal depending on the part of the country,the size of the company, and also whether the company is Union or not.

 

Apprentices in most companies are paid, but less than full company members.

 

As for second companies, that also varies greatly. Some do not pay at all, some pay a stipend, and some pay a little better but usually still not enough to live on. Dancers in second companies are usually young and considered still in training.

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Allegrodancer

$100 per week seems low from my knowledge for an apprentice. $250/week seems more the norm. However, as Ms. Leigh mentioned, many second companies do not pay at all and are actually considered more to be part of the company's school.

 

I was not aware that Houston Ballet II members received a salary? It was my impression that they were paid for their appearance in full company performances only. Perhaps I was mistaken?

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Clara 76

HB2 dancers are considered students and still pay tuition.

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balletbooster

Many non-union companies do not pay apprentices a weekly salary. They usually receive a performance stipend, shoes, sometimes PT and other such benefits.

 

I know of several union companies who pay their second company dancers between $100-300/week. There are a number of other union companies (such as Houston) that do not pay a salary at all to their second company members.

 

I also know of more than one well-known regional companies that do not pay a salary to their second companies, but the dancers do not pay tuition either. They are paid a performance stipend and get some benefits such as shoes, PT, etc.

 

So, as Ms. Leigh stated, there are as many variables in this equation as there are companies. You must look at each company's contract carefully and it is really impossible to generalize about this topic.

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balletgirl22sk

My dd is in Milwaukee Ballet 2 and gets $100 a week and pretty much unlimited pointe shoes. She also gets paid for gas when she drives to outreach performances. A few honorary 2nd company members do not get paid at all. MB is a union company. My dd also works a 2nd job and babysits.

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premaballrina

A "job" in a second company is great in that it will really make the dancer think...is it worth all of this work and no pay? It truly shows the young dancer what sacrifice is all about. It will sure make or break you!

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Victoria Leigh

Perhaps, prema, but I would hope that people who get that far in ballet have already committed to dancing for a living while knowing that they will never be wealthy. Also, the year or two in a second company are during the years when others your age are in college, so, the parents are still supporting you anyway. It probably costs a lot less to support the dancer for a couple of years than it does to send them to college! :)

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nmp1014

The point that Ms. Leigh makes about supporting a dancer for a couple of years vs. college is well taken -- my husband and I have begun to prepare ourselves for this and we never thought we would support the dance route rather than the college route. After watching many of our dd's friends begin to take trainee positions and apprenticeships (we're not quite there yet!) it only seems fair to support the dk during that time of their lives just as you would with if your child were getting a traditional education in a college. Maybe the low salary would be easier to stomach if you viewed it as what it really is -- a dancer's "higher education".

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premaballrina

Maybe in Washington there are wealthy families to support their childrens apprentice years, but this is not the case in all areas of the country. Parents look at college, though it may cost more money, as a better investment and more promising future, as there are more job opportunities with a college degree. Where as with being an apprentice or trainee in a ballet company there is a lesser chance of actually obtaining a job in that company.

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e'smom

I am currently supporting a company II member who will be getting a stipend for next year plus pointe shoes. However, we do not consider this to be in lieu of college and are trying very very hard not to touch the college money that is saved and intended by grandparents to be used for that purpose. The reality is that many of these dancers are postponing college for only a few years.

 

It should also be noted that some companies consider second company to be at a higher level than apprentice and vice versa. Some are under the union umbrella and others at union companies are at a a "pre-professional" level that is not.

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nmp1014
Maybe in Washington there are wealthy families to support their childrens apprentice years, but this is not the case in all areas of the country.

 

In Washington??? :D

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Clara 76

And...

 

Where as with being an apprentice or trainee in a ballet company there is a lesser chance of actually obtaining a job in that company.

 

Um...what? For many dancers, that has been a very good way to get a job with a company.....

 

I just re-read this post and thought perhaps I sounded a bit snippy. Didn't mean to- was just confused by your assertation, premaballrina. Sorry.

Edited by Clara 76

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Guest ingve

Hi,

 

it seems like you in America has a lot better organized second company/junior company agreements than what we have here in Europe.

 

When I started working as a professional dancer many years ago, a start in a junior/second company was a great step into the "real" company. What has happened here in many smaller companies is that some directors have thought "Hey, why do we not make all the company a apprentice company!" and now in many smaller companies they have inside of the companies as many students as dancers. If that is legal or not? It is normally a problem of deffinition.

 

But it seems that you have clearer systems of this in the US. Anyway, a lot of directors do not want to talk about money or sallary. :D It can all be very tiering. :blink:

 

ingve

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vicarious
It probably costs a lot less to support the dancer for a couple of years than it does to send them to college! :D

 

What can be done when the apprentices family can't give financial support? I thought the training we are paying for now, while she's a pre-pro student, was the "college money" and that by High School graduation she'd have her "degree" and be able to support herself. This past six months has been very enlightening as I've watched graduates go to low or no pay apprenticeships. I don't know how we're going to do it when the time comes for dd. We've always known we wouldn't be able to afford to send the kids to college and that they'd have to go to community college and get financial aid. This is turning out to be a lot more expensive for a lot longer period of time than I had expected. Now I have two DSs that are hooked as well. I don't know how we're going to do it. We've teased her that we would move to where ever she got a job so that she'd have a place to live. Is there a thread on "How to survive the apprenticeship years without Mom and Dad's help?"

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