How is the life of a professional salsa dancer?

Discussion in 'Just Dance' started by viosil2003, Dec 10, 2009.

  1. viosil2003

    viosil2003 Son Montuno

    How is the life of a professional salsa dancer?
    Below are a few sample questions, no need to answer them all.

    how much time is dedicated to practice?
    what responsibilities do you/they have towards the dance school?
    Does the school pay you to teach?
    What is income like? salary? per gig?
    Do you/they need an extra job?
    Any other info?
  2. hyh

    hyh Rhythm Deputy

    I'm not one - have zero desire to be one, but isn't the answer obvious? Ever heard of the expression starving artist?
  3. bailar y tocar

    bailar y tocar Clave Commander

    I don't know much about salsa dancers who try or succeed at making a living at it.

    Here are some actual numbers from dance instructors employed by a local ballroom dance school:
    Salary: ~$2,000/month, some schools allow private lessons outside the studio but most don't, but the instructors do it anyway and violate their non-compete agreements.
    Practice: If they have students who enter Pro/Am competitions, they can make pretty good $$ at those events.
    Extra job: no time for that.
    Outlook: Their goal is to set up their own studio so they can make real money.
  4. Salsa Bear

    Salsa Bear Sabor Ambassador

    I recently took a private lesson from a world champion salsa dancer who was attending a salsa congress. I was amazed that she was charging only $60, but she told me she charges more at home (LA) - about $80 I think she said. I said that's still awfully low, for a world champion dancer. Her response: "The economy."

    Of course, $80 an hour times 40 hours a week would add up to over $3,000 a week, more than I'll probably ever make. However, I would guess she teaches far fewer hours than that, and if she doesn't own the studio, then there's another major expense. My perception was that she isn't rolling in money.

    It would be interesting to know how the economy has affected dance teachers.
  5. terence

    terence Maestro 'Descarga' Cachao

    Heres some perspective... with VERY few exceptions, independant teachers ( those that rent space ) are hard pressed to teach 8 hrs every day.

    In major cities, the bread and butter, is class work.. volume is key. The rate one charges for Priv. lessons is usually based upon backgound, experience and qualif.

    If you have other dance genres with which to work, then it increases your viability ten fold.

    As to " rates ", they vary slightly from town to city.. and.. floor fees can be much cheaper in small towns ( but.. less volume ) .

    If you compare B/room Champ., they command $ 2/250 a lesson, PLUS all expenses, and could, if time permittted ,teach 24/7 world wide. For shows , their fees are in the thousands .

    So.. can one make a living ?.. it depends upon the individual..
  6. TrulyMadlyAmanda

    TrulyMadlyAmanda Shine Officer

    a lot depends on the area. somewhere like london with literally hundreds of people claiming to be 'instructors', the vast majority of salsa teachers do a handful of private lessons a week, or less. most shows pay around $300 each and it's rare to do a show more than about 15 times....lousy pay when you consider the $900 you probably blew on costumes and the 10+ hours a week you practiced for 6 months.

    if you feel youre ready to go pro, i'd ask the following questions:

    1 do i have the temperament to spend most of my days solo while all my friends are at work, then be unable to meet them at night because i'm working then

    2 can i cope with lack of job security, sick pay, pension, and other perks

    3 do i have the discipline to save up to pay my tax bill annually

    4 do i have savings to fall back on, acknowledging that worst-case scenario its tough for self-employed people to claim benefits if work dries up

    5 can i cope with a blurring of work/life boundaries - probably going to do most so******ing with 'clients' (though that can be a good thing too, it sure has its moments)

    6 can you cope with a major drop in salary if you work for promoters, or an annoyingly large amount of time spent marketing if you dont

    on the positive side, you dont have to wake up at 7am and commute, but there are plenty of negatives for sure. getting gigs/venues is like drowning puppies, even for the soon as you get another one, you lose one. very few people are teaching 5 nights a week.

    i'd say the best way to make money as a salsa professional would be to move to an area that has no salsa at all, and lots of people keen to learn....however at this stage, there may not be many places like that left on the planet.

    my advice if you decide to go for it would be to have a period of time where you go part-time at work, or take an unpaid sabbatical, so that you have a safety net. good luck. :cool:

    [edited to add] LOL - just noticed that this must be an american seems to think the english spelling of the word 'socializing' is an advert for some kind of vi-agra
  7. Salsa Bear

    Salsa Bear Sabor Ambassador

    I noticed another thread where the word s-o-c-i-a-l-i-s-m was blocked out. That's kind of creepy and a bit of an embarrassment for some of my new Latin American friends. I'm just glad my first name isn't vi-agra. :)

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