Friday, July 23, 2010

NY Times Article - Ballerina for Hire

Ballerina for Hire
Check out this article that ran in the NY Times this month, "Ballerina for Hire." It tells of the harsh realities of trying to make it as a freelance dancer and ballerina in New York City. Getting to the top is not at all glamorous, and is only reserved for those with iron wills, dedication and sheer determination. Nevermind talent! The ballerina featured in this article only made $25,000 last year dancing with the Rockettes and a union job. Yet, she's truly talented and smart, having earned a master's degree in publishing, she's even interned at Pointe Magazine.

I couldn't help but wonder why life in the arts must sometimes be so degrading and hard. Isn't here another way? I worked in corporate America for two years with a comfortable salary, excellent benefits, paid vacation and holidays, and job security. But it didn't matter because it was empty for me. My heart wasn't into it and I was no longer fulfilled. Now back in the dance world, I'm making about the same an hour, but have no paid vacations or holidays, absolutely no benefits, a significant amount of unpaid time outside the studio planning and choreographing, and no pay for time spent working at performances! I sometimes ask myself why I chose this path, but there is nothing like the high of performing or of sharing my passion and love with my dance students.

Most accomplished dancers and teachers have been dancing since childhood and therefore have as much experience and training as someone with a graduate degree or higher. Yet, dancers and other performers struggle through dehumanizing, cattle call auditions, little pay, no health coverage (amidst injuries), and not much job security, all for the thrill of the stage, the lights, and the pride of accomplishment. Why do you do it? Send me your stories!

Read more about how the freelance ballerina survives...
Ballerina for Hire

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