General Dance Discussion > Wealthy Dance Instructors

Discussion in 'General Dance Discussion' started by NeoDevin, Jan 27, 2005.


If you are a dance instructor, in which category would you place yourself?

  1. Poor

  2. Homeless

    0 vote(s)
  3. Middle Class

    0 vote(s)
  4. Upper Middle Class

    0 vote(s)
  5. Upper Class (Wealthy)

    0 vote(s)
  1. NeoDevin

    NeoDevin New Member

    I'm just trying to get a rough idea of how wealthy dance instructors (and other professional dancers) can get. Do any of you know (or know of) any professionals who are in the 'wealthy upper class'?
    Studio Owners, Teachers/Instructors, Performers whatever, I'm looking for any response from people who do dancing for a living.
  2. Pacion

    Pacion New Member

    I think the teachers/trainers to the stars - eg. Britney Spears and Kylie Minogue do quite well :wink:
  3. Sagitta

    Sagitta Well-Known Member

    They should with all that moolah those stars make...
  4. dTas

    dTas New Member

    i'm upper middle but that's because of my regular day job. its too much work to try and make that much by strictly dancing (i'd have to be teaching 30 hrs a week).

    i wouldn't enjoy dancing and teaching... aka, it would become a job.
  5. ReneeJoan

    ReneeJoan New Member

    You haven't defined "wealthy," but I find it hard to believe that anybody could be truly "wealthy" in the monetary sense being a dance teacher. Let's say Teacher X is charging $80 an hour. There really is a physical limit to now many privates one teacher can teach in a day. Let's say that on average, X manages to teach 5 privates consistently per day. Also, there's a physical limit to how many classes Mr. X can teach in a week. I'd put it at about 3 to 5. Let's say, three. There's also a limit to how many students can reasonably take a class before it becomes an uncontrollable madhouse. Let's put that at about 20 students. 20 x $10 x 3 = $600 per week for classes, plus $400 per day for privates times 5 days. Throw in a couple of shows per week, and let's say Mr. X is clearing $3000 a week gross income from teaching. All this assumes that Mr. X has a really stable client base of reliable students who study seriously on a regular basis, not whenever the inspiration strikes them.

    Now, start subtracting taxes, car insurance, studio rental times, meals out, dry cleaning bills, gas, maintenance, hair and beauty salon treatments, gym membership to maintain HIS health and fitness, dance/ballet classes to continue to improve his own art, books, journals, magazines, dance and conditioning equipment, health / chiropractor / orthopedic sports injury care. A self-employed dancer whose sole income comes from teaching and dance related activities has an incredibly high overhead. I'd say Mr. X makes a modest living, but I doubt if anybody would ever call him "wealthy."

    I suspect that without having the cachet of having been a cast member of a major Broadway show, like Forever Tango, or being an international level champion, or a movie star like Pablo Veron, without a huge "name" that would enable you to tour and be booked at shows and conventions basically as a celebrity (like Fernanda Ghi and Guillermo Merlo, who I think are the reining world champion tango dancers), it would be very difficult to move into "wealthy" status.

    But then, I know so many "starving artists," that anybody who can earn a decent, if modest, living solely as a performing artist (dancer, actor, musician) has my absolute respect. There's more to being wealthy than having money. The freedom to devote one's life completely and totally to one's art I think would be a gift beyond price.

  6. NeoDevin

    NeoDevin New Member

    You're right that I haven't defined wealthy, I left that purposely up to everyone answering. I could quote a dollar value, but not everywhere uses the same currency, and cost of living varies significantly from place to place (sometimes as much as a factor of 10 just for a 5 minute drive), so I figured I'd leave it all open to everyone's interpretation, and see how many dance professionals consider themselves to be wealthy.
  7. mamboqueen

    mamboqueen Well-Known Member

    You need to factor in the cost a teacher makes doing pro/am comps. I did the math once at a particular competition, and came away thinking that the teacher made quite a bundle of money (that was factoring in the fact that he wasn't doing privates, but he doesn't do them on Sundays anyway).

    So, say a teacher charges $30/dance and has students who (combined) do 200 heats. That's $6,000. Even with hotel, airfare and meals, that's not a bad take. Of course, they could make a nice chunk of change for getting one of the top studio or top teacher awards.
  8. tsb

    tsb Well-Known Member

    i don't think people who teach dance do it to get rich. if they've spent most of their lives training to do shows or compete teaching is just the natural extension of their careers. i don't solicit work but when people have been double booked for a teaching gig or if a show opportunity comes up (like my doing the 100th episode of gilmore girls last month) i'll do it for the yuks more than the bucks.

    i do know people who are commercially quite successful & pulling in 6 figure incomes. then i also know people in the industry who have actually taught actresses like cybill shephard or meredith baxter (whom i've danced with, btw) and are also doing other things to supplement their incomes. around here (los angeles) it's as much marketing & contacts as much as ability.
  9. NeoDevin

    NeoDevin New Member

    What about the lead guy from Riverdance? Anyone have any idea how well he did from that? Have there been any other shows like that, and how well did they do? How much do less famous performers make?

    I've always wanted to put on a show like Riverdance...
  10. salsachinita

    salsachinita New Member

    Not sure about travelling show dancers........but I believe they do quite well during their contracts. But like acting, the amount of available work flutuates, so one never knows......

    In the world of salsa, I believe people in the leagues of Edie & Al are doing quite well. Though I suspect that money may be a bonus......these people are living their dreams of salsa around the world 8) .
  11. Spitfire

    Spitfire Well-Known Member

    An instructor once told me that one could do pretty well at being an instructor if they had a lot of students.
  12. squirrel

    squirrel New Member

    I would be able to survive from what I make as an instructor (if I were alone and wouldn't have to split the eranings I'd say I'd be quite ok...) but not really "live".
  13. tsb

    tsb Well-Known Member

    a certain family run studio in pasadena averages at least 500 students a week & at $10 a head. that's a minimum of $5k a week gross income just from group lessons.
  14. bjp22tango

    bjp22tango Active Member

    Does the studio have a mortgage, electricity bills (air conditioning being a must)? They pay how many teachers?, do they advertise? You can't just go by income. What are their expenses?
  15. tsb

    tsb Well-Known Member

    while i deliberately qualifiied that estimate (which i'm pretty sure is low) as "gross" (vs. "net") income i didn't emphasize that that comes strictly from their group lessons. mea culpa. i didn't care to speculate on the percentage of their income that might come from their private lessons, shows, dances that they throw, or any corporate gigs that they also do that would involve very little additional overhead. but it wouldn't surprise me if that extra percentage more than covers their overhead. and i've not said anything about the instruction or quality of dancer produced.
  16. LindyKeya

    LindyKeya Member

    Okay, so granted, I would describe myself as a "poor college student" right now, but this doesn't sound too bad.
    If Mr. X is bringing in $3000 a week, that comes to about $12000 a month. Now, if we consider Mr. X is paying $3000 a month for the dance studio (clearly this is rather high, unless we're saying NYC or somewhere like that) as overhead, everything else is basically his personal needs. Now, of course we've got to include health insurance, if he's self employed of course there are plenty of other things, maybe reducing the gross income, and taxes, to say no less than $6000/per month. Not exactly what I would classify as wealthy, but Mr. X is definitely not starving.
    Also, with my model, if we assume Mr. X owns the studio he uses, or is the primary lease holder, he should have some additional income from renting the studio to other instructors, dance groups, and so forth.

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