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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Auditions: Asking about Salaries...


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Your dd could try finding the contract online. I did that for a company outside of the US and came up with a contract from 2 years back which gave an idea of salary structure. I think I googled "ballet company" contract. It may not work for all companies though.

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*also important is checking out cost of living versus salary before getting excited about seeing what appears to be a decent salary or "poo-pooing" another.



FABULOUS POINT (Sorry for shouting, but really important)


Cost of living example: (I used the soloist rate since the corps rates at ABT are greatly affected by seniority. All rates are US Dollars)

Soloist base rate at Houston Ballet: 1220

Soloist base rate at ABT: 2219

Cost of living Index shows you would need to earn 2972 in New York to remain at the same standard of living in Houston earning 1220. (ouch!) Incidentally, this example was brought up my management while negotiating a salary increase during one of the years I was on the negotiating team. We lost the argument of course.


Also, Houston has a 44 week guarantee while ABT is only 36 weeks. (Actual weeks vary from season to season but this represents the minimum guarantee of paid work weeks within a season.)


This was just to illustrate you cannot simply compare salaries as Mom stated.


Agreeing with gcwhitewater on the issues with non-union companies. But you can find non AGMA companies who follow those guidelines pretty much to a T.


I completely agree! There are many great companies non-AGMA that treat their artists well and stay close to the AGMA contracts.

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By major, we simply mean those larger, more well-known companies in the US. However, it's important to understand that this used to not only be ranked on reputation but also size.


I'll also note that this is only a sampling of AGMA ballet companies, there are some I know to be AGMA that are not listed. There are also a couple on there who have been known to not pay their dancers as well as some non-AGMA companies. So this list should not be used to rank in any way, simply to see what "might be".


Thank you for the information, Momof3.

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Twinkle Mom...you had asked how one would know if a company was working under an AGMA contract. The company manager should answer that for you without any concern even if they do not share the actual salaries. If they won't share that with you, I am sure an e-mail to AGMA would be answered.

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The other thing to remember when reviewing these AGMA contracts is that they sometimes do not cover 2nd company members - who are under a separate contract and are paid weekly and are fully participating in all company classes, rehearsals and performances. In other words they are attached to the company, not the school but they are not AGMA dancers. In some contracts they may be specifically identified as non-AGMA dancers. This is important both for pay and other protections provided in AGMA contracts, such as the dates by which dancers must be notified of renewal or non-renewal. It all depends on the company. It's important to look at more than salary. And 2nd company salaries may not be listed in AGMA contracts.

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gcwhitewater -

I looked on the ABT contract and see a weekly salary of 907 for a first year corp member. I realize that it's not a full year contract, but I was just wondering how you got the 2219 for a soloist and if you meant weekly or monthly?

By the way, that link is great! There are a lot of good companies on there offering AGMA contracts, and it's a great link to reference pay for them.

Thank you for posting it!!!!

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Mobadt- Scroll to the next page of the contract. There you will see soloist and above base rate table. The section where you found the corps rate is only for the various corps rates based on rank or "steps". As you can see the range is much greater with corps base rates which is why I used the soloist base in the example. That is the weekly rate.

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I'll be glad to sparky when I return home. It's an older list but one I looked at when DD graduated and it's in that file. I'm away for a couple of days though. So it won't be immediate. Hopefully, in the meantime, some of those parents whose dancers were job hunting about the same time mine was will share additional ones for you.

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