Career Advice

How Much Can You Make In Dance? Here Are More Than 200 Actual Salaries

What was your 2017 income? Photo by Fabian Blank/Unsplash

Dance Magazine asked readers the question you're never supposed to ask: How much money do you make?

More than two hundred readers filled out our online survey about how much they earned through their work in the dance field in 2017. Here is a selection of the user-submitted entries, which have been edited for clarity, consistency and to help ensure anonymity.

For more findings from the survey—including everything from benefits to other sources of income to the pay gap between genders—be sure to check out our July issue.

Job Title 2017 Income from Dance Weeks of Work Part- Or Full-Time Organization Location Years of Experience
Stage manager $8,000 6 Full-time Non union dance tour New York, NY/tour 7
Freelance dancer/choreographer $13,000 32 A mix Multiple project-based dance companies. For choreography: one residency supported by a foundation Brooklyn, NY 6
Administrative manager $54,000 42 Full-time A private university's dance program Massachusetts 10
Dancer $10,000 25 Part-time Small companies Philadelphia, PA 2
Freelance dancer/choreographer $19,000 40 A mix Several small modern companies; teach at a dance studio Philadelphia, PA 4
Dance teacher $420 12 Part-time Dance studio Pennsylvania 3
Dancer, graphic designer $15,000 30 A mix Small modern dance company, other project-based events. Graphic design for a major dance company San Francisco, CA 5
Senior dancer $31,000 48 Full-time Modern dance company Rochester, NY 10
Dancer $6,396 42 Part-time Dance company Chicago, IL 3
Dancer, dance teacher, choreographer $28,000 48 A mix Contemporary dance company, dance studios Chicago, IL 10
Studio owner and choreographer $325,000 50 Full-time Private dance studio and summer stock theater Southern U.S. 20
Professional ballet dancer, ballet teacher, Pilates instructor $28,000 44 A mix Ballet company Ohio 11
Coryphee $21,350 35 Full-time Ballet company New York, NY 10
Admin manager/dancer/choreographer $10,000 50 A mix Small modern dance company Philadelphia, PA and New York, NY 5
Choreographer, director, fellow $8,000 36 Part-time Public university Arizona 10
Dance instructor/arts integration $7,000 22 Part-time Educational oureach for local theater Vermont 10
Dancer $10,432 30 A mix Three project-based dance companies New York , NY 0.5
Dance instructor $35-40,000 45 Part-time Studio, community centers Chicago, IL 10
Freelance artist $8,200 45 Part-time Dance company & two studios Chicago, IL 9
Corps de ballet $30,000 36 Full-time Ballet company Philadelphia , PA 5
Dance teacher $30,210 36 Full-time Public high school South Carolina 4
Dancer $23,000 30 Part-time Opera House New York, NY 18
Studio owner/artistic director $30,000 52 Full-time Dance Studio Richmond, VA 10
Teacher/choreographer $800 30 Part-time Dance studio New Jersey 15
Second company member $8,000 32 Full-time Ballet company Philadelphia, PA 2
Dancer $32,000 35 A mix Dance theater company New York, NY 8
Programs manager $3,200 16 Part-time Small modern dance company New York, NY 3
Ballet teacher $8,375 36 Part-time Privately-owned company Maryland 36
Dancer/choreographer $3,500 15 A mix Independent choreographers Chicago, IL 17
Dance educator $30,000 50 A mix Community college, private college, studio, competitions, outreach program, nonprofits Bay Area, CA 22
Administrative assistant $40,000 56 Full-time University New York, NY 2
Administrative coordinator $40,000 50 Full-time Public University Richmond, VA 11
Ballet teacher $15,895 47 Part-time Dance/performing arts studio Fresno, CA 19
Company dancer $8,000 32 Full-time Ballet company Rhode Island 6
Instructor $27,000 42 Full-time Ballet academy Minnesota 11
Theater dancer $68,000 42 Full-time Musical theater New York, NY 26
Dancer $8,000 48 Part-time Burlesque troupe & bellydance/bollywood troupe Los Angeles, CA 20
Dancer $10,000 26 Part-time Ballet company Virginia 12
Dance teacher $19,000 32 Part-time Dance studio St. Louis, MO 12
Freelance dancer $2,500 40 A mix Not for profit dance companies Washington, DC 6
Dancer/actor/teacher $42,000 40 Part-time National tour, Broadway Dance Lab, various performances New York 5
Dancer $60,000 46 Full-time Ballet company New York, NY 20
Artistic director; instructor $15,000 48 A mix Children's performing arts group, private ballet and barre classes Illinois 14
Arts administrator $20,000 34 Part-time Residency Center Florida 6
Freelance dancer & social media editor $1,038 6 Part-time Ballet company & dance studio New York, NY 1
Dance instructor $24,000 45 Part-time Private studio Berkeley, CA 20
Freelance dancer/teacher $2,000 48 Part-time Multiple small dance companies New York, NY 6
Dance teacher $26,000 31 Part-time Dance company and affiliated school, plus public university Charlottesville, VA 22
Company member $3,300 15 Part-time Project-based LLC New York, NY 4
Adjunct dance professor $28,000 46 Part-time Public and private universities Peoria IL 21
Dance instructor $52,000 44 Full-time Public school dance teacher and the owner of a small studio Virginia 19
Freelance dancer $200 10 Part-time Ballet company New York, NY 3
Dancer $4,000 40 Part-time Modern dance company New York, NY 7
Dance instructor/studio assistant director $25,000 40 Full-time Dance Studio Iowa 15
Dancer $35,000 42 Full-time Modern dance company Chicago, IL 5
Dancer $14,500 27 Full-time Ballet company Saint Louis, MO 13
Dancer $7,000 45 Part-time modern company Jersey City, NJ 16
Dancer $25384.64 52 A mix Ballet company Columbia, Missouri 9
Freelance performer/operations supervisor $5,000 20 Part-time Dance school New York, NY 6
Visiting assistant professor $56,100 52 Full-time Higher education Pennsylvania 5
Ballet dancer and academy teacher $5,200 16 Full-time Ballet company and school Huntsville, AL 1
Teacher/dancer $10,000 32 Full-time Ballet company, modern company, own company Cleveland, OH 7
Company dancer $4,350 30 Full-time Ballet company Rochester, NY 1.5
Dancer $2,100 45 A mix Ballet companies New York , NY 5
Dance instructor/professional dancer/choreographer $14,000 52 Part-time Professional company and two dance studios St. Louis, MO 3
Dance educator $9,000 40 Part-time Dance studios Gulf Shores, AL 16
Danice teacher $20,000 50 A mix Dance studio Seattle, WA 6
High school dance teacher $27,000 47 A mix Charter school Springville, UT 6
Performer/company member $20,000 50 Part-time Immersive theater company Brooklyn, NY 5
Ballet company dancer $13,000 36 Full-time Ballet company Northern California 7
Dancer $27,000 40 Full-time Cruise line New York, NY 5
Dancer $14,000 35 Full-time Ballet company Sacramento, CA 4
Ballet dancer $22,500 300 A mix Ballet company Sacramento, CA 10
Company member $7,000 20 Full-time Ballet company California 8
Intern $0 14 Part-time Modern company, ballet compeition Bethlehem, PA 3
Teacher $50,000 50 Part-time Ballet company and freelance Seattle, WA 20
Teacher/choreographer $10,000 42 A mix Dance studio and high school Alta Loma, California 30
Company dancer $18,000 34-36 Full-time Ballet company California 12
Teacher/entertainer $40,000 40 A mix Entertainment company, mobile dance school Bay area, CA 10
Dancer $20,500 46 Full-time Ballet company Sacramento, CA 8
Freelance dancer and choreographer $8,000 40 A mix Modern dance company, ballet company, independent choreographers New York, NY 5
Studio owner $18,000 48 A mix Dance studio Pennsylvania 8
Apprentice $7,875 31 Full-time Ballet company Sacramento, CA 3
Senior apprentice and instructor $6,000 30 A mix Ballet company Chicago suburbs 2
Dancer $38,000 48 Full-time Modern dance company Philadelphia, PA 12
Education senior manager/art admin $29,000 52 Full-time Dance studio New York, NY 3
Dancer $7,370 30 A mix Ballet company Omaha, NE 5
Dance educator $36,000 52 Part-time A children's museum Bettendorf, IA 12
Apprentice $7,344 16 Full-time Ballet company Florida 2
Dancer $54,000 36 Full-time Ballet company Tennessee 18
Artistic director $30,000 40 Full-time Training school Saint Augustine, FL 12
Freelance dancer $20,100 30 A mix One union company; three freelance jobs Atlanta, GA 4
Company dancer and academy teacher $18,000 34 Part-time Ballet company Central Virginia 2
Apprentice $0 30 Part-time Contemporary ballet company Washington, DC 1
Dancer $13,000 >40 A mix Concert contemporary dance companies, dance theater company, freelance commercial work Los Angeles, CA 3
Marketing & programs manager $40,000 52 Full-time Service organization Chicago, IL 6
Company dancer $500 20 Part-time Ballet company St Louis, MO 4
Artist manager/program manager $43,000 52 A mix A 501c3 supporting the choreographic career of the founding artist, including a community rental dance studio New York, NY 6
Development coordinator $32,000 52 Full-time Dance organization with a professional company, arts education outreach, studio classes Milwaukee, WI 3
Company member/teaching artist $20,000 47 Part-time Contemporary rep company, local dance studios Chicago, IL 2
Choreographer/teacher $9,000 48 A mix Dance studios, high school drama department Ventura, CA 5
Dancer $4,000 25 Part-time Freelance New York, NY 3
Dance Instructor $30,000 52 A mix Private studios Allentown, PA 15
Dancer $650 46 Part-time Modern dance company Chicago, IL 7
Dance teacher $70,000 40 Full-time Public high school Sacramento, CA 5
Female artist $3,200 39 A mix Ballet company Peoria, IL 2
Dance teacher $40,000 50 Full-time Dance studio Portland, ME 12
Performer/administrator/teaching artist $30,000 48 Part-time Dance company, private studio, dance education nonprofit Chicago, IL 12
Youth instructor and company artistic director $10,000 40 Part-time Dance studio Skokie, IL 11
Dancer $1,225 14 Part-time Ballet company Alabama 1
Teacher $4,457 46 Part-time Dance studio Colorado Springs, CO 10
Studio owner $40,000 40 A mix Dance studio Grandview, WA 15
Dance chair $80,000 38 Full-time Public arts magnet school Connecticut 26
Artistic director/choreographer $17,000 52 A mix Cultural education performing company Bay area, CA 50
Dance instructor $23,200 50 A mix Dance studio West Virginia 0
Dancer $14,000 35 A mix Modern dance company New York, NY 6
Dance instructor $1,768 16 Part-time Dance studio Richmond, VA 3
Dance teacher $124,000 36 Full-time Public high school Bay area, CA 30
Dance teacher $14,000 40 Full-time Private studio teacher Nashville, TN 5
Artistic director $4,500 40 Part-time Ballet company Pennsylvania 10
Corps de ballet $28,378.44 34 Full-time Ballet company Denver, CO 6
Development manager $50,000 52 Full-time Ballet company San Francisco, CA 4
Company member $13,500 38 Full-time Modern dance comapny New York, NY 2
Dance instructor $4,000 43 Part-time Ballet school, competition schools Colorado 3
Apprentice $100 16 Full-time Ballet company Alabama 2
Ballet teacher $15,000 45 Part-time Dance studios Missouri 4
Teaching artist/choreographer $38,548 52 A mix Arts high school; private dance studio; private clients; dance companies; non-profit organizations Washington, DC 22
Studio company member $12,000 40 Full-time Ballet company Washington, DC 0.5
Dance teacher/choreographer $12,000 45 Part-time Dance studio Rhode Island 7
Studio owner $80,000 52 Full-time Dance studio New York 14
Freelance dancer $2,200 24 Part-time Dance studio; performance companies Philadelphia, PA 0.75
Pilates instructor $10,000 40 Part-time Home studio, ballet studio New Jersey 7
Faculty $35,000 45 A mix Dance studios Massachusetts 15
Dance educator $49,000 30 Full-time Public school system North Carolina 11
Dance program supervisor $64,000 52 Full-time Parks and recreation dance school Lake Forest, IL 18
Dancer $300 32 A mix Contemporary ballet company Portland, OR 2
Ballet teacher $25,000 45 Part-time Ballet school North Carolina 26
Dancer/dance-maker $1,370 7 Part-time Dance studio; project-based work New Orleans, LA 6
Artist in resident for the state of SC $45,000 40 A mix State arts commission; private teaching Columbia, SC 35
Dance teacher $12,000 37 Part-time Dnce studio New Hampshire 8
Company artist $15,000 20 Full-time Ballet company Lexington, KY 10
Assistant artistic director/ballet instructor/choreographer $14,300 48 A mix Ballet school Columbus, IN 4
Dancer/ballet teacher $35,000 45 A mix Ballet company; local ballet school Phoenix, AZ 5
Adjunct instructor of dance $10,000 36 Part-time Private liberal arts college Midwest 10
Assistant professor $45,000 36 Full-time State university Louisiana 6
Ballet teacher $37,000 40 Part-time Private studios Baltimore, MD 12
Choreographer/solo performer $1,000 52 Part-time Freelance Chicago, IL 4
Dance teacher $60,000 45 Full-time Public high school East Los Angeles, CA 20
Company dancer $1,200 40 Full-time Modern dance company Minneapolis, MN 3
Public school dance teacher $45,000 37 Full-time Public school system Cary, NC 12
Program assistant/work exchange coordinator/dance instructor $4,190 50 Part-time Dance studio Oakland, CA 13
Teacher $50,000 38 Full-time High school Gilbert, AZ 4
Resident choreographer $25,000 40 A mix Ballet studio Holland, MI 6
Dance educator $62,000 52 Full-time Public high school New Jersey 6
Executive director $32,000 27 Full-time Afro-contemporary dance company Chicago, IL 1
Teacher $18,000 49 Full-time Dance studio Cleveland, OH 15
Program manager $36,000 52 Full-time Non-profit dance education organization Northern Virginia 5
Dance coordinator $7,634 28 Part-time Fine arts association Northeast Ohio 4
Company dancer $5,000 18 A mix Ballet company Kentucky 4
Education manager $35,500 52 Full-time Dance center & performing arts organization Minneapolis, MN 4
Dancer $5,000 40 Part-time Dance company New York, NY 5
Teacher $8,000 40 Part-time Private studio Pittsburgh, PA 13
Membership services manager; independent choreographer $6,000 48 Part-time Dance service organization Portland, OR 5
Principal dancer/educational program coordinator $48,000 30-40 A mix Spanish dance company Chicago, IL 10
Dancer and teacher $31,000 46 A mix Ballet company Utah 10
Assistant director & office manager $20,899.50 48 A mix Dance company & dance studio Rochester, MI 7
Freelance dancer $4,000 34 Part-time Dance companies Philadelphia, PA 12
Adjunct professor & dance/yoga teacher $44,500 32 A mix Private university & private high school Rhode Island 30
Dance educator $24,767 52 Part-time Ballet school Maple Valley, WA 8
Dance instructor $22,000 47 Part-time Dance studio Seattle, WA 2
Adjunct professor $15,000 30 Part-time University New York, NY 27
Dance teacher $40,000 52 Part-time Studios and private schools Seattle, WA 15
Dance teacher $52,800 44 A mix Private college New York, NY 14
Dancer $4,000 10 A mix Modern dance company New York, NY 15
Teacher/studio owner $24,000 52 A mix Dance studio Denver, CO 35
Associate professor of dance, department chair $80,000 52 Full-time Private university St. Louis, MO 28
Dance educator/coach $27,800 52 A mix Dance studio; private university; dance festival Brighton, MI 15
Ballet instructor $12,000 56 A mix Dance studios New York, NY 40
Assistant professor of dance $50,000 52 Full-time Public university South Carolina 18
Education director $2,000 45 Part-time Modern dance company Ohio 14
Educator $46,000 40 Full-time County school system; local non-profits Raleigh/Durham, NC 10
Full time faculty $35,000 47 Full-time Ballet company Utah 17
Principal dancer $45,000 48 Full-time Ballet company and ballet academy Virginia 12
Dance teacher $68,000 40 Full-time High school district California 5
Ballet dancer $22,000 44 A mix Ballet company Providence, RI 12
Ballet instructor $39,500 52 Full-time School affiliated with professional company Texas 20
Ballet teacher and freelance ballet dancer $32,000 42 A mix Ballet schools & ballet companies Rhode Island & Massachusetts 20
Dance performance artist $500 16 Part-time Dance studio Montana 8
Dance teacher $41,000 45 A mix Public high school Utah 20
Assistant professor of dance $53,000 43 Full-time Private university Pennsylvania 10
Dance faculty $25,000 44 Part-time Performing arts school Naperville, IL 6
Dancer $16,000 30 Full-time Ballet company Birmingham, AL 5
Dance teacher $8,000 42 Part-time Dance studio Michigan 7
Dance instructor $60,000 52 Full-time Dance education and performance venue Washington, DC 14
Academy director $65,000 52 Full-time Ballet company and academy Ohio 32
Dance program director $50,000 45 A mix Private day/boarding school and local dance studio Massachusetts 10
Apprentice $0 40 A mix Ballet company California 7
Freelance $2,000 13 A mix Dance companies & schools New York, NY 3
Dance faculty $25,000 44 Part-time Performing arts school Naperville, IL 6
Dancer/dance teacher $20,000 45 A mix Dance studios and dance company Atlanta, GA 1
Performing apprentice $3,000 16 Part-time Contemporary jazz dance company; community arts programs Chicago, IL 2
Dance instuctor $4,500 32 Part-time Youth performance ensemble Washington, DC 10
Dance instructor $3,000 35 Part-time Dance studios New Orleans suburbs 3
Company artist $18,000 32 Full-time Ballet company; contemporary dance company Boise, ID & Seattle, WA 6
Dancer $933 6 Full-time Modern dance company New York, NY 7
Corps de ballet $25,000 30 Full-time Ballet company Portland, OR 1
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Dance Training
Jealousy is normal—it becomes a problem when it affects your dancing. Thinkstock

A classmate lands the role you wanted. Another dancer is always earning compliments from the teacher you can never seem to please. The dance world is full of opportunities to feel envious—and according to psychologist Nadine Kaslow, that is completely normal.

"To say you shouldn't ever feel jealous is unrealistic," says Kaslow, who works with dancers at Atlanta Ballet. "But when you become driven by it, rather than focusing on doing your best to improve, that's when it turns harmful." Luckily, there are ways to channel this negative emotion into positive growth.

1. Feel It

Don't be ashamed when envy strikes. Instead, acknowledge and process how you're feeling. Photo by Matthew Murphy for Pointe.

"In dance, it can seem like the grass is always greener," says Erin Fogarty, a teacher and director of programming at Manhattan Youth Ballet. "If you're a jumper, you wish you could turn. If you're long and leggy, you wish you could jump. People progress at different paces."

There's no reason to be ashamed when envy strikes. In fact, it's better to acknowledge your feelings than to ignore them. "Bottled-up emotions can be dangerous," Fogarty says. Unresolved jealousy can consume you, affecting how you view yourself and interact with your peers. You might experience physical side effects, such as excess muscle tension. Your artistry can even suffer when you're closed-off emotionally.

You can't move forward until you honestly assess and accept your state of mind. "Sometimes I encourage people to write down how they're feeling," Kaslow says. "They might discover something else at the root of the jealousy: They're hurt, angry, betrayed or humiliated. Those feelings need to be dealt with as well."

But remember: Pausing to validate your emotions isn't the same as wallowing in them. "It's fine to take a day to be mad, especially if you don't feel like you can be in the studio without coming undone," Fogarty says. "Then you have to get back to work."

2. Talk About It

Opening up to someone about how you're feeling can help you move forward. Photo by Kevin Laminto via Unsplash

After you've admitted your feelings to yourself, consider talking to a parent, teacher or close friend. Look for someone who will listen and perhaps share their own experiences, without encouraging the negative impulses that can accompany envy. "The wrong person could feed your jealousy instead of helping you understand it," says Elizabeth Petrin, who teaches at Bobbie's School of Performing Arts in Newbury Park, California. "You want someone who can build you up and offer advice."

What if the friend you usually turn to is the person you're jealous of? Taking the time to recognize your friend's excitement can start to pull you out of your rut. But, Kaslow warns, "smiling and pretending everything's fine when it's not often comes across as phony" and can damage your relationship. "Being honest and vulnerable—'I am happy for you, but I'm also really disappointed right now'—can heal your wounds."

If your dance environment has started to feel toxic, ask a teacher to facilitate a class or company discussion. "If people are constantly being negative about their own achievements or making friends feel bad for succeeding, it creates distance," Petrin says. "When you're no longer holding each other back, everyone can improve."

3. Use It

Use your jealousy as motivation. Photo by Hector Gamboa, Courtesy Petrin

Acting on jealousy can be a problem—if your response is to say nasty things about your peers or to engage in sabotaging behavior. But there are also ways to use envy for good. The key is to focus on yourself, instead of on those around you. "If someone is doing something well, and I think about how I might adopt some of that, that's motivating," Kaslow says. "If I'm so focused on them that I lose sight of myself, that's counterproductive."

To come up with a game plan, get specific. "Is what you're jealous about something you can fix?" asks Petrin's choreography partner and fellow teacher Mandy Korpinen. You may not be able to change how you're built—or what a choreographer is looking for—but you can improve your strength, flexibility, stamina and work ethic.

Of course, there's a delicate balance between homing in on your growth and beating yourself up. If you have a tendency toward self-criticism, find ways to boost your spirits. "One of my teachers growing up made me write three things I was good at on the mirror in my room," says Korpinen, "so every morning I was reminded of my strengths."


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