Career Advice
Learning how to invest and deal with tax implications can be a shock. Photo by Pepi Stojanov/Unsplash

Unrestricted grants—those not tied to a specific project or commission—are the holy grail of dance funding. But how do dance artists accustomed to living from project to project handle the sudden influx of capital?

We asked three choreographers who've won these grants multiple times about their experiences.

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Career Advice

Behind every virtuosic performance, there is a quiet group of champions. Private patrons are critical to the success of American dance companies. Most large troupes only generate about half of their operating budget from ticket sales, while smaller companies recoup only a fraction. In a country with minuscule government funds allocated to the arts, individual contributors play an indelible role in financing concert dance.

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Rant & Rave
Raja Feather Kelly admits he's gone into debt in order to fund his shows. Photo by Kate Enman, courtesy Kelly

When I moved to New York City in 2000, my life looked like that of most 22-year-old aspiring modern dancers: I lived with two roommates in a rundown two-bedroom apartment deep in Brooklyn. I was paid $100 a week to dance for Tamar Rogoff, but I also worked the front desk at a yoga studio and as a "counter girl" at a coffee shop. I made a few hundred dollars a week.

But I had a safety net. My parents insisted I have health insurance, so they paid it. If I couldn't make rent, they paid it. And when a rent-stabilized apartment became available—an alarmingly cheap one-bedroom that would allow me to survive as an artist in the city for the next decade—I used an inheritance from my grandfather to pay the sizable broker's fee, which I admitted to nobody. Without help, none of this would have been possible.

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Career Advice
What are your money-saving tricks? Photo by StockSnap

Dancers are not known for bringing in the big bucks. Even commercial dancers, who can land high-paying jobs, often struggle to save enough to see themselves through periods between gigs.

But dancers are nothing if not crafty. We asked five pros for their tips on how to spend and save strategically, no matter how much money you're making.

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Career Advice
The life of a dancer in NYC doesn't come cheap. Photo by Lucas Favre/Unsplash

Dance Magazine asked one anonymous dancer to record how she spent her money over the course of one week. Here's what she sent us.

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Career Advice
Raja Feather Kelly is hoping to raise $10,000 with an old-school telethon. Photo by Epfalck/Effyography, courtesy Kelly

How does a choreographer pressed for time raise a whole lot of money quickly—really quickly?

If you're Raja Feather Kelly, founder and artistic director of the feath3r theory, you do a 24-hour telethon—and you live stream it from the Kickstarter Headquarters in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

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