Conditions for AGMA & non-AGMA

Conditions in USA/AGMA companies

Length of first contract: 1 YEAR

Probationary period: Varies: some companies use an apprentice system for newcomers. Others, such as the Joffrey Ballet, have a 6-month Young Dancer’s contract at reduced pay; after which a dancer may be offered a First Year Dancer Contract.

Health Care: there’s NO equivalent to the NHS in the USA. Most AGMA companies pay into AGMA’s Health and Retirement Fund which provides comprehensive health care for their dancers. Most companies have their own physiotherapists.

Occupational pension scheme: this, too, is provided through AGMA and most companies pay into it matching the contribution of their dancers.

Paid holiday: unusual. Up to the individual company.

Please Note: figures valid for April 2016

Weekly Pay & Length Of Engagement In Some AGMA Companies

New Dancer First Year Corps
BOSTON BALLET $ 858.22 $1,262.53

PLUS various allowances & cost of living adjustment
MINUS deductions for tax, social security, AGMA etc.
Minimum employment: 40 weeks within 47

New Dancer First Year Corps

MINUS deductions of up to 30%
Minimum employment: 52 weeks, but only 38 are paid.

Apprentice First Year Corps
SAN FRANCISCO BALLET $625.58 $1,146.62

Minus deductions (as above)
Standard contract duration: 1 year
Holiday pay: the company will pay 11% in addition to the contractual salary as holiday pay on guaranteed employment weeks.

New Dancer First Year Corps
PACIFIC NORTH WEST $809.97 $1,079.96

Plus performance fees
Minus deductions (as above)
Guaranteed minimum employment: 40 weeks out f 52
Holiday pay: company will pay 4% in addition to the contractual salary as holiday pay on guaranteed employment weeks.

Non-AGMA companies

Non-AGMA companies are not subject to union agreements, so conditions are a lot looser. In some cases they really amount to a free for all approach to employment.

For example: you have no protection against unfair dismissal and no recourse; only basic company provision for health cover. It is absolutely vital that, no matter how small your pay, you get a proper private health insurance package. Working hours, breaks etc are also unregulated – you depend on the good will of the director and ballet master; paid employment is for shorter periods than in bigger companies.

For Comparison Purposes Only, Here Are Details Of Pay In Some Non-AGMA Companies:

Starting Salary Length of contract
ST. LOUIS BALLET* $325 approx 28-30 weeks


Starting Salary Length of contract
ROCHESTER CITY BALLET $125-400 + shoes 32 weeks

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