Ballerinas make dancing look effortless, gliding across the stage in a series of graceful leaps and powerful spins. But it's also a career. so prospective dancers want to know what type of income they might expect from working as a ballet dancer. Understanding the average salary of a ballerina can help you decide whether it's the right career choice for you.


Estimates for average ballerina salaries range hover around £24,336, according to The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) says the median hourly wage for dancers was £7.90 per hour in 2008. According to the BLS,the middle 50 per cent of dancers earned between £16,458 and £35,984, while the highest 10 per cent of dancers earned more than £43,654. Salaries may be significantly higher or lower depending a variety of factors, including employer, location and experience level.


Although people tend to think of all female ballet dancers as ballerinas, the "ballerina" refers to a specific job title known as the principal. Other female ballet dancers in the company include the soloist and the corps de ballet, made up of junior ballet dancers, according to The average salaries for soloists and corps de ballet members would be lower than that of the ballerina.

Job Location

Large cities with multiple dance companies (Philadelphia, for example, has 31 dance companies in 2011) may pay higher salaries than rural locations with smaller companies. In the U.S., cities with multiple dance companies include New York, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.


More experienced or talented ballerinas may earn higher average salaries than that of a ballerina, according to Above-average salaries may reach £32,500 per year, while top ballerinas or very famous ballet dancers may earn between £48,033 and £111,150, according to Business Week.

Additional Income

Ballerinas may be paid hourly wages or for specific performances. Dancers may receive additional compensation for travel or multiple performances within a given time period. Dancers may receive additional income from room, board and overtime pay while travelling. Ballerinas can augment their average salary by taking on additional dance-related work, such as teaching ballet, participating in ballet fitness DVDs or working in theatre and film.


Salaries may depend on employer type, according to the BLS. Ballerinas working for performing-arts companies may command higher average salaries than dancers working at schools or recreational companies. Well-known companies also may pay higher salaries than lesser-known ballet companies.