Ballet training and all of its associated fees provide a serious barrier to entry for many aspiring dancers. Tuition, appropriate dancewear, pointe shoes and summer intensives add up, and up...and up. Nowadays, many students also compete and the cost to travel to competitions, pay for custom tutus and contract private coaching is astronomical. Then there's room and board at a professional school or conservatory, and the private lessons and coaching that many dancers receive regardless of whether they go the competition route.
With irregular cash flow and notoriously low wages, ballet dancers can have a tricky time keeping their bank accounts healthy—especially when they'd much rather focus on what's happening at the barre than what's happening in their checkbook. In Pointe's June/July issue, we broke down the paychecks of four corps members, and asked each dancer how she makes it work on a starting salary.