Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Genre Discrepancy (Show me the money.)

A week or so ago, I cursed being a modern again. Dancer D was talking about his upcoming choreographicopportunity - to be performed at a really nice theater and to be reviewed by major critics. Not to mention the handsome honorarium that he'll pocket for the gig.

I want that gig. I want his opportunity. Problem is I'm not a ballet choreographer and I'm not a part of the ballet world.

Dancer D has become a choreographer because he was given the chance; not because of some driving inner passion to craft movement. It's an opportunity (paid) and well, why not?

Knowing this I momentarily cursed not pursuing ballet professionally. That's where the big bucks are for concert dance. Then I cursed my breasts. My body actually could be fit for ballet. I've got the legs and the feet and the thickness we've witnessed melt away, but the breasts... I can't be rid of them. That's what stood between me, pointe shoes, tutus and the New York State Theater at Lincoln Center. That's what came between me and that honorarium equaling my current total monthly income!

I know there are a multitude of contributing factors to the discrepancy between financial rewards of ballet and modern artists. I haven't done any research to list them right now, BUT it is frustrating to see Dancer D luck upon creating a work for hire, and I'm not there yet. In fact, I'm paying other people - lots of other people - to make my work. It's the most backwards thing. Ever.

I recently took a business course for artist-entrepreneurs in which I was guided through writing a business plan for my emerging dance company. The biggest question I've been pondering all summer is how do I make money when I am not (and not interested at this moment) a self-producing artist? I'm trying to build my choreographic resume and make a name  for myself which means I want to be in productions of various NYC people and venues. To do this though, usually I have to put out dough to reap only the benefit of making a new dance and exposure. Meanwhile Dancer D gets a wad of cash to make his choreographic exercises (his words, not mine).

I have my MFA! I'm getting ready to do my first evening-length work! I make dances because I love it! WHERE'S MY MONEY?!

(Totally having a Jerry Maguire moment. Too bad Tom Cruise isn't negotiating contracts for me. I'd be paid.)

6 comments:

Stan said...

Dues have to be paid, no matter what your profession to get where you want to be, feel you need to be. You'll not get there until they are paid. You'll not get paid until then either. Sometimes it takes years, your peers cannot always be your marking points. You've accomplished more in your life than many/most of your peers because you took the route that God had planned for you, education - and you body parts have nothing to do with it. The good part is, you are paying and you are well on the way. The journey is the fun part, enjoy it and savor it. You will miss it when you get where you think you want to be. Trust me on this one.

Sydnie said...

I agree peers can't necessarily be marking points, but the structure for "working you way up" in the ballet and modern worlds is uneven. Maybe because ballet has been around longer? Maybe because big funders like ballet better?

This post is meant to be whiny and slightly facetious, but the issue remains clear: it seems unfair that someone who is angling to make a career out of choreography is in the hole monetarily, while someone who is doing it 'just because' gets paid.

Crystal said...

Life is unfair...but how blessed you are to be doing what you love. Not many people can say that.

Stan said...

What she said!

DBLexicon said...

Totally UNFAIR... and if there were rhyme or reason.. Well then i'd be FABOLOUS and REALLY be getting paid!

Sydnie said...

@dblexicon... can you explain what's unfair?

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