I am so blessed to be able to pursue a career that I love. Over the years, I have invested thousands of hours in the studio—picking apart my technique, constructing my physique and developing my unique personality and character—all in hopes that someday I would become a professional dancer.
Any dancer can tell you that it takes discipline and determination to make it in this career. Sacrificing the little time I have outside of ballet to work for my dream is completely worth it. These past two years I’ve worked numerous jobs such as cleaning houses, nannying, teaching pre ballet and pilates and modeling to help pay for ballet expenses.
I am extremely fortunate to have received a ballet contract this season, but unfortunately dancers pay is very little. In total hourly I make less than minimum wage. Dancing with a company is rewarding and I love every part of this experience! However, due to the increase in work hours it is now often hard support myself and meet financial obligations.
Did you know that one pair of pointe shoes can cost $90? Dancers spend up to nine hours a day training and rehearsing, sometimes even more before shows, and most of our repertoire is on pointe, which means that a simple nine-hour day can be a full nine hours on pointe. Depending on the repertoire and rehearsal schedule, a single pair of pointe shoes can last anywhere from two to five days, but when we perform a ballerina will usually go through one pair of shoes per performance.
There are other costs, too, unfortunately. Early on in a dancer’s career, jobs are neither stable nor consistent. Most dancers only have a one-year contract, and most contracts range from 32-44 weeks. That means we must supplement the weeks of the year that we aren’t under contract with other work, and, we must continually audition for new companies in case our contract does not get renewed at all. Auditions incur a fee and traveling to different company auditions around the country or the world is expensive.
To get a sense of how much money it costs to be a professional dancer, here are my expenses from last year:
HOW TO SPONOR ME
Whether you are a company or an individual, you can easily sponsor me as a dancer. You can contribute towards my pointe shoes, audition fees, or even airline ticket to an audition. Everyone who donates will receive a personalized thank you card in the mail and will be listed as a sponsor on my website. Those who donate $200 or more will also receive a signed pair of used pointe shoes.
Ian Richardson Grace Choong Dana Contra Marshall Meadows
Thank you so much for your support!