The Born-Again Balletomane's Blog

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Those who have disappeared…and pay issues August 4, 2016

Filed under: ballerina,ballet — theworstat @ 2:02 am
Tags: , , , ,

In the case of Evgenia Obraztsova, the news is entirely happy (and I kinda suspected it by the vague way she answered a fan’s question on her website; later one of my correspondents here confirmed it): she’s expecting.  That’s why she has disappeared from the stage.

In the case of Keenan Kampa, the beautiful soloist/coryphee at the Maryinsky, the news is less happy: Keenan Kampa on High Strung.  I had no idea that she’d been having heart problems in addition to the problems with her hip.

It’s a shame; the world has lost a potentially fine prima ballerina.  When she began with the Maryinsky, I didn’t see it, but toward the end of her tenure, I did.

With her beauty and presence I’m sure she has much to contribute in Hollywood.  And she’s still young enough to have a long career there.

Ballet is such an iffy thing.  In decades past, Evgenia, who has hung on through thick and thin (mostly thin during her years at the Maryinsky), would be facing the end of her career due to her pregnancy.  Nowadays, however, all kinds of dancers have all kinds of kids.  Everything seems to be working in Evgenia’s favor…finally.  She waited long enough.

But one never knows when an illness or injury will strike, as in the case of Kampa. Imagine training day in and day out for a decade or more, and then that happens.

Keeping that in mind, off I go to the next subject.

The excuse for paying some professional athletes so much is that they contribute to the bottom line and their careers are short.  I wonder why the same is not true, in terms of pay, for dancers.

A lot of it may have to do with the fact that dance tends to be a female sport, and women are notoriously underpaid.  Also, in the history of ballet, even the more famous ballerinas tended to also be mistresses of wealthy men, and so forth.  But this is a history that no longer applies today.

Another problem may be that ballet is expensive, and most companies not on a government payroll are operating on a shoestring, (nothing so substantial as a pointe shoe ribbon).

But even then, the pay in Russia is said to be so bad that soloists are living in groups in one-bedroom apartments.  And no one in the U.S. is getting rich by dancing, either, unless they’re Misty Copeland or someone else who has a side business.

It’s interesting.  Ballet companies are, after all, businesses, just as professional sports teams are.  So how is it that one can afford the megabucks salaries and the other cannot?  Would appreciate thoughts on this.

P.S. if you are commenting on this article, please refer to Kampa as KK.  A long while back I was getting trolled by someone who claimed to be her sister, and as a result everyone who used Keenan’s name in a comment got blacklisted.  This is why I remain so sensitive about trolls, troublemakers, and general idiots: in the end, everybody suffers for their selfishness.




3 Responses to “Those who have disappeared…and pay issues”

  1. Simple. NYCB’s revenues in the last income statement I looked (financials only go up to 2011) were about 39 million dollars. The Green Bay Packers (the only pro sports team in the US that is publicly owned ergo has a publicly available annual report) has over 200 million in revenue. And even then, Salaries eat up about 55% of the Packers’ revenue while NYCB is already in the red from paying salaries.

  2. Some more things (btw, this is Lev. I had to login via Twitter). . In general, professional sports can earn more revenue than the performing arts. Barclays center seats 18,000. The Met, about 3000. Outdoor stadiums seat significantly more, so more ticket revenue Pro sports can also earn side revenue from broadcasting rights, selling advertising in the arena, and licensing. Unfortunately, there isn’t much a ballet company can do to display advertising. Live broadcasts do seem to be a good way to earn revenue though.

    An interesting thing I learned from Zhiganshina’s periscope is that corps members can sometimes make more than soloists. Which makes sense. A corps member who is dancing every night, whether in the corps or in a solo role, stands to make more in bonuses than a soloist who probably has 1 or 2 roles a month, like Anastasia Meskova did when Bolshoi Babylon was being filmed(although Meskova has a side career as an actress so she’s not doing as badly). It’s not unheard of in other professions. My dad’s friend is a factory worker for one of the big auto companies and he’s declined promotions to management several times because he makes more money and gets more benefits working on the line.

    • theworstat Says:

      Some ABT corps members in the past danced on Broadway to pad their incomes. Thanks for illustrating what some of the Russians are doing. I was really wondering, especially since their schedules (in the smaller companies and in the corps) seem to be really taxing and overwhelming.

      Great points about the economics of ballet vs. professional sports.

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