The Salaries of NYC Ballet Dancers: Revealing the Numbers

When it comes to the world of ballet, New York City is undoubtedly a hub for talented dancers. The prestigious New York City Ballet (NYCB) attracts some of the most gifted performers from around the globe. As an aspiring dancer or someone simply curious about this captivating art form, you might be wondering just how much these immensely talented individuals earn. In this blog post, we will delve into the salaries earned by NYC ballet dancers and shed light on various factors that contribute to their compensation.

Factors That Influence Salary

It is important to understand that determining a specific salary for NYC ballet dancers can be challenging due to several variables at play. These variables include but are not limited to:

Educational Background and Training

The level of education and training acquired by a ballet dancer plays a significant role in determining their potential salary. Many professional dancers have spent years perfecting their craft through intensive training programs in prestigious academies across the world.

Experience and Reputation

As with any profession, experience brings additional value and higher earning potential for ballet dancers. Dancers who have successfully performed leading roles or garnered recognition within the industry often receive increased compensation due to their reputation.

Type of Contract or Employment

There are different types of contracts that NYC ballet dancers may enter into, each with its own implications for earnings. Some may be full-time employees of dance companies while others may work on a freelance basis as guest artists or even participate in individual projects.

Dancer’s Role within Productions

The specific role assigned to a dancer in productions also influences their income. Principal dancers who perform lead roles typically earn more than corps de ballet members who primarily perform ensemble parts.

Average Salaries for NYC Ballet Dancers

While it is difficult to provide an exact figure, considering the aforementioned factors, we can offer a general idea of the salary range for NYC ballet dancers.

Corps de Ballet Members

At the lower end of the spectrum, corps de ballet members in New York City may earn around $1,500 to $2,500 per week. Keep in mind that these figures are approximate and can vary based on experience and standing within the company.


Moving up from corps de ballet positions, soloists typically earn more due to their increased responsibilities and prominence within productions. Their salaries can range from approximately $2,500 to $5,000 per week. Again, this is a rough estimate as individual negotiations and contracts may influence specific earnings.

Principal Dancers

Principal dancers who take center stage in leading roles naturally receive higher compensation compared to other ranks. On average, principal dancers at NYCB reportedly earn between $1000-$4000 per performance or about $50k-$150k annually depending on various factors.

Beyond Basic Salary: Additional Benefits

Apart from their base salaries mentioned above, there are additional benefits that NYC ballet dancers may enjoy:

Pension Plans and Retirement Benefits

Some dance companies provide pension plans or retirement benefits for their long-term employees. These plans aim to secure financial stability once retired from active performing careers.

Health Insurance Coverage

Dance companies often extend health insurance coverage as part of their employment package. This ensures that dancers have access to medical care when needed during their physically demanding profession.


Becoming a professional ballet dancer at New York City Ballet requires immense dedication and talent; however, it does not guarantee an extravagant income right away. Salaries for NYC ballet dancers vary based on multiple factors such as education, experience, role, and type of contract. While corps de ballet members may start with more modest earnings, soloists and principal dancers have the potential to earn higher salaries. It’s important to remember that being a ballet dancer is a rewarding artistic pursuit beyond just monetary compensation.