Dancing in a show on Broadway may sound like a dream job, but these dancers work long, exhausting hours and are typically paid based on how many shows per week they perform. Broadway dancers may appear in musicals, operas or shows specifically created to feature dancers, such as Stomp or the Rockettes.
The basic minimum salary for dancers on Broadway is $1,653 a week for eight performances, with understudy roles, covers and features paying extra when appropriate, reports Answers Dancers. Wages may vary depending on the show; for example, the New York Times reports that as of 2005, Rockettes earned “about $135 a show,” earning overtime for third, fourth and fifth daily shows.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, all dancers in the United States earned a median hourly wage of $13.16 as of 2010. The pay scale started at less than $7.79 an hour in the 10th percentile and less than $8.83 in the 25th percentile. Wages exceeded $21,48 an hour in the 75th percentile and $30.43 an hour in the 90th percentile.
While not all dancers in New York work on Broadway, many aspire to get there. New York itself was the second highest paying state in the nation for dancers as of 2010, offering an hourly average wages of $24.50, according to the bureau. New York City had the highest concentration of dancers in the country with 0.31 employed per every thousand jobs, and offered the second highest salary of all metropolitan areas for dancers at $25.91 an hour.
Broadway dancers are covered by union contracts and receive health and pension benefits, according to the Actors Equity Association. In addition to hospital, medical, dental and prescription drug benefits, dancers in New York also have the option to choose a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) plan. To be eligible for six months of these benefits, Broadway dancers must have a minimum of 12 weeks of covered employment in the 12 months prior to applying, and may apply four times a year.
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