How much does an alvin ailey dancer make

Alvin Ailey Dancers Demand to be Paid the Same As White Artists


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The dancers at Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater aren’t very happy, and they feel like they’re being taken advantage of.

On Friday (May 25), right in front of the dance theater, 32 dancers held a protest and demanded better wages. They also claimed they’re getting paid 35 percent less than other major dance companies around the U.S. but perform much more. 

The group’s contract expires on May 31, and they’ve been negotiating since December of 2017.

“The Ailey company is the fourth largest dance company in the United States, in terms of budget, yet the artists’ salaries and benefits don’t reflect it,” reads a petition.“These artists put on more performances than any other major dance company in the United States — 175 to 200 per year — with only one-third to one-half the number of dancers at other companies, and yet they earn far less than their peers.

We know that #ArtistsofAiley deserve a fair contract that pays a fair wage! Alvin Ailey is nothing without its dancers! #ReachingForTheStandard #AGMA #NYC1u @AGMusicalArtist @agma @NYPNU @ActorsEquity @IATSE @CentralLaborNYC @bradhoylman @Local_802_AFM

— Linda B. Rosenthal (@LindaBRosenthal) May 24, 2018

In February, to protest, the dancers boycotted the annual Alvin Ailey gala at the John F. Kennedy Center, where they usually perform and take part in a benefit dinner.

In an interview with the Washington Post around that time, The gala’s co-chair Debra L. Lee chose not to talk about the actual boycott but said the dancers not being there didn’t ruin the event. 

But Alvin Ailey’s Artistic Director Robert Battle spoke about it and said he understood why emotions behind negotiations are so high. He also expressed his admiration for the dancers and what they’re able to accomplish on stage.  

“So many things are emotional, and I think we’re in a very emotional and tense time in the country, and so this is a natural part of a process,” he said. “We will get through it, because there’s a reason that the Alvin Ailey dance company has withstood the test of time. We’re a big family, and sometimes we just need to talk.”

“That’s where I am right now,” added Battle. “Because what [the dancers] give on that stage is incredible, and what they give to people is incredible, and we have to respect that. We family. We can fight behind the scenes and figure things out, but what those dancers give on the stage is what I hired them to do.”

Next up, is the annual Spirit Gala at Lincoln Center on June 14, and there’s no word yet if the dancers will take part in it or not.

Meanwhile, reps for the dance theater said they’ll work hard at resolving all of this, so all parties are content.

“We remain committed to reaching an agreement that is both fair and sustainable,” they stated.

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Dancers at Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater are paid 30-35% less than those at other major dance companies. #ArtistsofAiley are demanding fair wages. The #NYC Labor Movement stands with these workers to see they are given the wages they deserve. #NYC1u

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Reality Checks

Ever wonder how much money you’ll really make if you go pro? A dancer’s income can vary depending on the kind of job, its location and duration, and whether or not it’s unionized—not to mention your status in the dance world. For instance, a corps dancer in a non-union regional company will probably make less than a corps dancer in a top-tier unionized company in a major metropolitan area. To help you plan your professional future, DS went to the experts. Note that these dollar amounts offer a general idea of each gig’s rate and may not be the precise wage rate for every job listed.

1. Music Video

If you’re hired for a music video, expect to be paid for rehearsal time and for the shoot. Rehearsals run from $175 for four hours to $250 for eight hours. A full, 12-hour day of shooting will be about $550. If the gig is non-union, you may also get a buyout—a one-time fee for the use of your likeness in the future, like when the video you’re in airs on MTV 20 times a day for the next six months. Buyouts can pay you up to $1,000.

2. Movies, TV Shows and Commercials

A union called the Screen Actors Guild stipulates certain rates for dancers appearing in movies, on television shows and in commercials. Rehearsal fees are typically $446 a day, with each day of shooting compensating around $581–$759. (Commercials pay $303–$567.) If you’re needed longer, you’ll earn a weekly rate of $2,034–$2,440. You may also earn extra income from residuals, which are royalties based on the success and run of the production. Residuals are paid periodically over time as the production makes money, re-airs or is purchased for other markets.

3. Awards Ceremonies

Awards ceremonies like the Oscars and the MTV Music Video Awards often hire dancers. Depending on the length of the show, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists requires compensation of $986–$1,673.

4. Music Artist Tour

Going on tour with an up-and-coming artist means you’ll make anywhere from $1,000–$1,500 per week. Hitting the road with an established, chart-topping artist will bring you more money, usually $1,500–$2,000 per week. While on tour, you’ll receive a per diem (a daily cash contribution for miscellaneous expenditures) of around $45–$75. Your weekly pay will be broken into various daily rates depending on what the schedule is. For instance, a travel day pays less than a rehearsal day or a show day.

5. Industrials

An industrial is a show put on by a company (like Nike or Coke) to promote its products or services. These productions are usually private events, not for the general public. Expect to make similar rates as you would in a music video—typically $300–$400 a day.

6. Dance Company

Many companies belong to a union called the American Guild of Musical Artists, which negotiates contracts for the artists. These companies are required to pay no less than what AGMA stipulates as a minimum amount; however, dancers can negotiate for additional pay. (You can read member companies’ contracts on the AGMA website, Salary ranges depend on the company’s size and location. At a medium-sized company like Atlanta Ballet, a first-year apprentice can make $365 a week, plus extra pay for various tasks, such as giving a lecture demonstration or working overtime. At a large, international company, dancers make more. For example, a new dancer in Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater makes at least $775 a week during rehearsal and performance periods. By his or her fourth year in the company, that wage rises to $1,026.

7. Broadway Show

Actors’ Equity Association is the union that represents actors and stage managers. For dancers on a production contract, the minimum is $1,509/week, but you’ll make different amounts depending on if you’re an understudy, a dance captain, a swing or an ensemble dancer. Log on to to get an idea of how Broadway salaries work.

8. Opera

Opera companies are a good source of supplemental income for dancers, although dancers probably won’t be needed for every production in a given season. In the 2005–2006 season, San Francisco Opera paid its solo dancers a minimum of $689 per performance. The weekly rate was $1,435. Keep in mind that, like dance companies, these rates may differ greatly among opera companies and between non-union and union companies.

9. Guesting Gigs

Working as a guest artist is a great way for professionals to earn extra income. Many local and regional studios and companies, for instance, hire guests to dance the lead roles in their Nutcracker productions, as well as any classics. Compensation varies widely depending on your rank in the professional world (apprentice versus principal), the number of performances and the length of the show. A principal dancer from a small to mid-level professional company could earn up to $1,000 per show for a full-length or $700 for a one-act, plus $200 for rehearsals and $30 per diem. A college dancer, on the other hand, might earn $150 for a one-act, $150 for rehearsals, and the same $30 per diem. If you have to travel, you’ll likely be compensated in addition to your fee. Some schools will hire their alums in exchange for a plane ticket home.

10. Pick-Up Work

Non-union pick-up gigs are a great way to get performance experience and widen your dance network, but it’s difficult to predict how much money you’ll actually make. Some pick-up companies can compensate dancers for rehearsals and performances, while others may only pay for performance. Of course, if you’re with a truly fledgling company, your pay might be dinner after the show! So choose your projects wisely, enjoy the work that you’re doing and use pick-up work to network, network, network.


Alvin American Dance Theater tour Ailey marked the opening of two large projects: International Festival of Contemporary dance DanceInversion-2011 and the program "American seasons" in Russia.

Today theater created in 1958 by Alvin Ailey is one of America's first ballet companies. (in 2008, the US Congress assigned her the status "ambassador of american culture to the world"). In Russia the theater is coming for the third time. Modern tour program includes four performances Ailey himself from different years and several works by others choreographers created in the 2000s. Featured the performances turned out to be unequal in content and strength of emotional impact: from six productions made the greatest impression two - "Revelations" by Alvin Ailey and "The Hunt" by Robert Battle, current Artistic Director theater, which replaced in July 2011 in this post Judith Jamison - Ailee's own successor. A feature of the dance language of the troupe is combination of classical ballet, jazz, modern and elements of Afro-ethnics. nine0003

The visiting card of the theater is the ballet "Revelations" (1960). In the USA, this choreographer's work is on the state level is recognized as a classic of the national ballet, "a must-see masterpiece for everyone."

The musical basis of the production is spirituals, African American spiritual hymns. Compositionally the ballet consists of three parts: "The Pilgrim sadness", "Take me to the water" and "Move, move", - each of which is divided, in turn, for several independent episodes. First part talks about the "hardships of life." In her initial episode - "Did the Lord set Daniel free" - dancers in clothes of brown tones create the image of a flying bird wedge: they arrange hands, like wings, stretch them up, like turning with faith and prayer to heaven, to God. In the episode "Help Me Jesus" we see a gentle duet of a man and a woman in white: the man supports, protects and guides a woman - his palms flutter in a light tremolo, conveying all the tenderness and care. In the second part of "Take me to the water" reflected Ailee's childhood impressions of baptism in the river, which was held in the Baptist community of Texas. Here the dance is filled with joy and enthusiasm, with whom men and women in white clothes, as if reflecting the sun light, pass symbolically the rite of baptism on against the background of the "river" - two white-blue trains stretched through the stage. Smooth flowing movements the hands of the dancers resemble the flow of water. ending the second part of the episode "I want to be ready" - this is a dramatically tense male solo, rendered man's attempt to unburden himself worldly cares and rise spiritually. The third part "Move, Move" opens with the episode "Sinner" - a fast-paced male trio with technical a solo that literally flashes before our eyes against a red background-flame. In the final the episode involves all the artists of the troupe. On the back we see a huge yellow sun on red sky - the unbearable heat of a Texas day literally breaks into the coolness of the auditorium. On the stage women in long yellow dresses, with fans and in wide-brimmed hats, each endures a stool - gossips gathered for Sunday worship. They gossip, they can quarrel with each other, sedately seated on their stools. Gradually viscous-slow, lazy, like a scorching noon, the music becomes more dynamic, and after followed by choreography. Men appear a little later. in white shirts and yellow vests: starts dance-game, where there is a place for both coquetry and joke. In the end, a real one unfolds on the stage holiday: groovy, energetic dance, drive and rhythm. nine0003

Scene from the play "Revelations". Photo by N. Razina

Scene from the play "The Anointed One". Photo by N. Razina

"Revelations" is partly an autobiographical performance. The choreographer touches upon the painful the themes of the plight of African Americans in the middle XX century. "I wanted to show beauty, grace, intelligence and the talent of the African people,” says the choreographer. In essence, in Revelations, Ailey managed to express the spirit of the people, the "voice of the blood." For its time, this production was a real revelation: to a deep a powerful social element was added to the personal beginning. pathos. Within the framework of modern European political and the social picture, when the president America became African American and African culture long recognized and popular, we look at "Revelations" from a different angle - as an embodied history. But even today the legendary performance is not lost its artistic value. nine0003

Another production Alvin Ailey "The Cry" (1971). This is a solo female number for music Ellis Coltrane, Laura Nero and Chuck Griffin dedicated, as the saying goes program, "black women of all the world - especially our mothers." Three musical themes, three states, three choreographic miniatures. With extraordinary dance and acting skills party performer — Briana Reed embodies complex plexus heroine's emotions holding attention spectator throughout 15 minute hardest solo, during which a whole life passes before us . .. In the center scenes of a luminous white silhouette - She is in a long light skirt with flounces, held high in front of her holds a folded white train in his hands so that we do not we see her face. To a leisurely jazz improvisation the dancer starts walking from side to side, stretching the train in his hands in front of him, carrying it as something fragile and valuable. Both music and movement as if filled with the energy of a compressed spring, which ready to straighten up. And here comes the breakdown: calmness gives way to despair and pain. Simultaneously with emotion in music, the tempo accelerates and grows sound. Moods change like in a kaleidoscope: insecurity, attempts to overcome something, to understand, to assert oneself. Words cannot fix all the richness of these transitions. Silence, and begins new part, the back is painted red, sounds slow sad and hysterical female solo, accompanied by piano. Kneeling, the dancer stretches her hands to the sky, spinning, clasping her head hands. Musical and visual start here inextricably soldered. The heroine no longer tries to fight, only hopelessness and pain remain. And silence again after the almost palpable despair of the second part ... But here comes an energetic, rhythmic melody. Heroine looking for the strength in himself to live on: there is overcoming despair, overcoming oneself. Again and again she goes, tossing her skirt high and throwing back back head. The music gradually fades away, but the dancer's movements do not stop. Evyn's Lament Ailey is not an abyss of despair, but an affirmation of life, inner freedom. nine0003

The Hunt (2001) by Robert Battle is a production which you will definitely want to see again. Choreographer achieved the perfect combination all components of the performance. Music (drums with vocals performed by the group "Les Tambours du Bronx"), choreography, the texture of the dancers, their energy, coming together, literally stunning; appears the feeling that a mystical thing is happening on the stage action.

Scene from the performance "Festa Barocca". Photo by N. Razina

Scene from the play "Revelations". Photo by N. Razina

At the beginning of the issue at the side wings diagonally there are six athletes - dancers of the troupe. Powerful torsos are bare, legs are hidden by long, slightly flared skirts with a wrap and bright red lining. Three of them (through one) hold palm to mouth: either holding back a cry in fear, then or, on the contrary, preparing to issue a loud hunting scream. For some time they will stand without lowering hand, while the other three walk threateningly around them, and later this gesture will repeat. Common to all productions admiring the sculptural bodies of the dancers and sensuality here become meaningful element, reflecting, in accordance with the idea of ​​the number, nature of the wild cult of the body. The dance is power and energy-intensive: powerful, sharp movements, almost everything is done with strong and sharp contraction, body often served forward, wide second positions on plie, hard wide run, sometimes almost in place, clapping, falls, a small amount of supports . .. diagonal, lines, circles… Often the dancers stand in pairs, moving menacingly, looking at each other, but not always reaching direct contact. What's happening reminiscent of a ritual action, a struggle or its imitation in some ancient hunting rite. And it doesn't look like flat styling, crafts a la "wild Africa". Appears strange feeling: you see a strict change of drawings set choreography and at the same time, looking at chaotic, ragged movements of the arms, body, head, you feel that all this is improvisation, which is born here and now to the dancers who have entered into a state of trance. At some point it becomes by oneself. It's an irrational feeling, almost fear intensifies towards the end of the number, when the dancers begin make sharp, guttural screams. ending performance in diagonal pattern: three dancers fall to the floor after three others times sharply point down with a hand with two folded fingers, reminiscent of a gesture calling for murder, adopted in the tradition of gladiator fights. After they kneel beside the downtrodden and cross their outstretched arms. nine0003

The strongest impression comes when you see that before your eyes there is a complete displacement human - exposure and revelry of the unbridled animal principle, primitive cult strength and passion of hunting.

Robert Battle's second work "In/Side" (2008) — male solo set to music from the album Nina Simone "Wild is the Wind". The choreographer is trying do not show a person experiencing any emotions, but to expose the very course of the inner life is chaotic and uncontrollable, being sometimes repulsive, scary or painful sad in its unnatural nakedness. On on the floor, illuminated by blue light, lies half-naked a man bending over and clasping his legs with his hands. It slowly unfolds, lies on its back: we we penetrate into the space of the inner world of man. Abrupt, non-linear change of states reflects spontaneity of the sensory world: the dancer then crawls, then, getting up, runs after an outstretched hand, into some the moment something is frightened and even screams; rolls over in a circle on the floor; crawling again, trying reach out to something - perhaps escape from closed space of pain, fear, loneliness. Perhaps he has lost something or seeks to gain. He makes the same light palm tremolo that we do already seen in the "Help Me Jesus" episode of Revelations. In the finale, the hero stretches out his hands to the hall and slowly retreats into the depths of the stage, as if dragging behind you even deeper into / inside - in / side. nine0003

Performance of "Festa Barocca" (2008) to music G. F. Handel famous Italian choreographer Mauro Bigonzetti was called "for the first time in history troupe to bring to its repertoire a pronounced European flavor. Not too familiar combination of sumptuous baroque music with no less luxurious african american dancers troupes is already meaningful in itself. Peculiarly visualized repeat of this connection we can see in the scenographic solution: against the background of a strict projection of a black-gray square on in the back we see the dancers of the troupe - men and women - in yellow, red, light green, purple, orange, dark pink skirts. In the abstract in the whole setting, one can trace a certain similarity plot-logical relations: there is a soloist, which is for the corps de ballet, picking up the canon movement follows her, is, as it were, a leader, a mentor. There are three points - three diverse duets, behind which, remaining invisible, carefully the soloist is watching. However, the most important thing in this setting is not semantic, but visual part. resourceful choreography by M. Bigonzetti and magical baroque music in harmony connected, emphasizing dignity each other. As for "Europeanization" of the repertoire, then this task was only partially resolved. Is it the fault of the special performing technique African American dancers, or choreographer, striving to unleash the possibilities artists, succumbed looking for funds expressiveness to the charm of the traditions of the troupe, but the production did not look in a number of others as specific European. And here is the triumphant finale: we see almost the same sparkling holiday mood affirmations of life, as in Revelations, differences only in a choreographic language, unique for each of the authors. It can be noted that M. Bigonzetti, combining, like Ailey, classics with free plastic, does not make such a strong jazz accent. nine0003

Scene from the play "Lament". Photo by N. Razina

At the play "The Anointed One" (2010) - staging Christopher Huggins to music by Moby and Sean Clements - you seem to find yourself in a space inhabited alien beings. Largely this impression is determined by a kind of electronic music, a significant role is played by the selection suits (tight overalls and dresses in black, purple, white), light, special, detached and dispassionate existence of some heroes. The choreography conveys a highly conventional world, where the relationships of the characters develop exclusively in the spiritual sphere: not earthly passions, but sublime reflection. The performance consists of three parts: "Transmission", "Sally Fort", "52 onwards". No comments in the program relatively unusual you will not find names. However, if you know what dedication ballet to Alvin Ailey and company, or simply calculate the time of existence of the troupe - and in 2010 it was exactly 52 years old, then everything falls into place places. The performance is read as a allegory: in the first part there is a "transfer" of the troupe by Alvin Ailey to his successor Judith Jameson, in the second - the stage of development, and in the third Ailey's parts are already in a transformed form, in a luminous white suit, as if invisibly watching his troupe, and Jamison is preparing to carry out another "transfer" to the next successor. nine0003

Alvin Ailey Dance Theater - a peculiar era African American dance culture renaissance enriched with European choreographic style. Ailey managed to organically combine ethno-, jazz modern and classical dance techniques. Now troupe, which has more than 80 productions of various choreographers, continues the tradition, preserving humanistic pathos, life-affirming principle, the spirit of the nation. And it is not for this theater empty slogan. True humanity, which is not often seen in the world of modern choreography, rather than a formal idea, the artists of the troupe carry into the visual Hall. That is why, and also thanks to the skill dancers whose bodies are perfect an instrument for dancing, not even too sometimes meaningful choreography does not cause legitimate rejection and irritation - you are just pleased watch how they move. nine0003

July 2011

Anna Barkova

1. What qualities of a theater critic do you need put in the Red Book?

Competence. Correctness, intelligence (a huge number of articles are now being written in an openly boorish tone). Honesty.

2. Why preserve theater studies?

So that our children can come to the theater and see true art (in any case, upscale), and not vulgarity, base pop music or politicized slogans. Vulgarity and impudence are always easier and faster "break through". There is nothing good in this for cultural life, nor, as a direct consequence, for the life of the country as a whole. In order to save high class on the stage, it is required to apply efforts. Theatrical studies should also help this. the science. nine0003

3. Associations: theatrical Moscow is…

TV." Or so: the opportunity to gawk at TV stars.

However, this impression is not too deep and a long acquaintance with the theater Moscow life.

Feature Articles | December 2022

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Mary Callahan of Duns informs.

Few dancers will refute the opinion that dance is not only an art, but also a sport. And thanks to Misty Copeland's new campaign for Under Armor, the naysayers are swallowing their words too. However, the connection between fitness and dance is still rather nebulous - how can dancers reconcile their personal health with the physical aesthetic that is still so attached in the dance world? To try and answer this difficult question, Dance Informa sat down with Chelsea Simone, a Knicks City dancer and Equinox personal trainer. nine0003

When did you start dancing? What styles did you study and when did you realize that you wanted to pursue a career as a professional dancer?

“I started dancing when I was four years old. I think I always knew I wanted to pursue a career, but that was reinforced when I first saw Alvin Ailey's American Dance Theater when I was 14 years old. I attended Fordham University and the Ailey School for a bachelor's degree in dance. their joint Bachelor of Fine Arts program. I trained in Horton, contemporary West African dance and acting at Graham and joined Fordham University's only hip-hop dance team, the Fordham Flava Dance Company. This was my first hip hop dance experience and I immediately fell in love with this style. While in college, I also learned about the importance of cross training for dancers. I learned that strength training can help me become a stronger and more powerful dancer.” nine0003

Describe your health and fitness (and knowledge in these areas) as you grew up.

“Health - in terms of the food I ate - I didn't really make it a priority until I was in college. Budget food was a priority then (lots of ramen, which I tried to spice up with eggs, green onions and hot sauce). However, I've always been focused on the physical aesthetics of the dancer's body, especially my abs, which is understandable given that quite a few of my costumes were two-piece. I did crunches all the time, and during school holidays I did Pilates every day. Because the physical aesthetic of dance is so heavily focused, I have been very focused on fitness since the very beginning. nine0079 outside , but not necessarily my health from inside . '

How was the process of becoming a personal trainer? Do you continue to attend classes and receive various certificates?

' A few years ago I became a personal trainer at Equinox. The hardest part of becoming a personal trainer is getting certified. There are so many topics that I didn't even consider within the scope of my practice as a coach, but to earn a reputation as a good coach and have a long career, you need to gain so much knowledge. I constantly want to learn more, but certificates are expensive. I have completed the National Personal Training Certificate, the Pre and Postpartum Certificate, and the Functional Movement Certificate, Level 1, but I'm constantly looking to learn more. I am currently taking Equinox courses to get promoted to Level 3 Trainer'. nine0003

Do you believe your dancing has changed since you became a personal trainer? How so?

“My dancing has certainly changed since I became a coach because I know so much more about human anatomy. I have a better understanding of how to move and what can limit the movement I struggle with. I also learned how to improve core and joint stability so I can move more dynamically and balance better.”

Chelsea Simon practices yoga in New York. Bizzy Armor Photography

How has your career as a personal trainer affected you as a dancer from Knicks City?

' These two works complement each other very well. Being a personal trainer allows me to have a fairly flexible schedule so I can attend games, performances and rehearsals. It also, of course, helps me avoid injury during the basketball season and keep fit in the offseason.”

dance teacher

What do you like most about the Knicks City dancer? nine0069

"My favorite part of KCD's job is being on a team with such inspiring, smart, confident and empowering women."

Describe a typical day.

'Does something like this exist?! Well, I have everything on my schedule. I usually start work at 6:30 in the morning and, depending on the day, I can only have two morning classes before the break, or five. Then I have a few clients at lunchtime and a few clients in the evenings. I also have two Knicks City Dancers rehearsals twice a week. It's a general skeleton, but there are a lot of other things thrown in (KCD performances and games, fitness photoshoots, and my own fitness regime at the gym). I manage to maintain the integrity of my life by sticking to a very organized, color-coded schedule. ” nine0003

Dancers often adopt unhealthy habits (be it an eating disorder, lack of cross-training, or junk food). What advice do you have for other dancers in terms of health and fitness?

“When it comes to any career, when you make a choice that changes your personality or is detrimental to your health, you must reevaluate why you are investing time in that career and who you are really doing it for, because it is should be you . Some time in college, I actually started adopting unhealthy eating habits: I started eating small meals after being told to lose 5-7 pounds several times. But I just felt terrible and my dancing didn't improve - in fact, I was more exhausted and more prone to injury. So I gave it up, started eating complete, filling, healthy food and just focused on being the best dancer that I could be.”

There are many fitness crazes that promise you a "dancer's body" (bars, Pilates, dance cardio), and at the same time, there are exercises that dancers are forbidden from doing (such as running, lifting weights, etc.

Learn more