When we were little, we all had big dreams and aspirations. As a child, our imaginations run wild of the endless possibilities of what we can be when we grow up. Some of us are more practical than others, like being a teacher instead of a princess. But growing up as a dancer, society taught us that dancers and athletes are different and that athletics had the upper hand when it came to money, popularity, and the mainstream media. This also means lack of funding, which leads to the difference in wages between professional athletes and dancers.
In the mainstream media, athletics have always seemed to be the focus. Schools (high schools and universities) pour tons of money into their athletic departments and it does bring in a lot of money to the school and a great reputation. While most people don’t consider dance a sport, Misty Copeland, the first African-American Principal dancer in the American Ballet Theatre, is proving that all wrong. She has become the new face of Under Amour and is changing the world of ballet and dance.
Football players in the NFL salaries ranges from $800,000 to $24 million a season depending on the position. Michael Phelps is estimated to make about 12 million this year, $140,000 from his winnings at the Rio Olympics and the rest from his endorsements.While the average dancer in the Joffrey Ballet company, in New York City, makes $829 a week for 38 weeks and roughly $38,502 a year. The Boston Ballet Company’s average salary is $1,204 a week for 38 weeks, for about $45,752 a year. And The Radio City Rockettes make about $1,500 a week during the run of the show.
While many professional athletes and dancers have endorsement deals with different companies, most of them make more off of their endorsements than their professional careers. Misty Copeland has said that the money she makes off of her Under Amour sponsors is more than her yearly salary at ABT. A professional dancer puts in the same physical, mental and psychology exertion every week as an athlete. Even workouts, like strength training, endurance workouts and stretching are important for dancers and athletes. So, why are the wages so different? The principles and concepts in performing arts are obviously a little different than sports but the work, energy, dedication, and time that goes into them are the same. Dance is a sport, which also happens to be an art.