Let’s be honest. Working as a professional dancer is not going to make you a millionaire. And unless you’re an international superstar or you’ve put in a few years at a top-notch company, you probably won’t be well off either. But don’t despair! Here are some ways to pinch your pennies, without resorting to a life of ramen noodles.
#1 Pack your lunch.
Preparing food at home is one of the most effective ways to spend less money. Invest in some Tupperware, and make your meals to go.
Turkey sandwich at Quizno’s, for five days: $40
Materials for five homemade turkey sandwiches: $16
#2 Join a union.
If you belong to a union like the American Guild of Musical Artists (which represents companies such as New York City Ballet), you’ll be eligible for discounts on everything from studio rentals to dance classes. Other benefits may include emergency assistance and access to health plans. (AGMA dues are $78 a year—but it’s worth it.)
#3 Skip the fancy coffee.
The cheapest way to get your caffeine fix is to buy a travel mug and brew your coffee at home. But that isn’t always possible, especially when you’re meeting pals for a post-rehearsal cup. Make it a rule to order plain coffee, instead of that half-caf-skim-soy-mocha-latte.
Coffee brewed at home: Approximately $0.48 per cup
Grande Starbucks coffee: $1.95
Grande Starbucks latte: $3.75
#4 Save your receipts, and track expenses.
There are two good reasons for this: The first is that you can add up your expenses and see where you’re spending too much. Then you can strategize on how to use your money in a more productive way. The second reason is for tax purposes. Some job-related purchases are deductible, like classes, dance shoes and gas for driving to auditions.
#5 Know thyself.
Do you get stuck with a big cell phone bill every month, because you go over your minutes? Use a prepaid phone instead. Are you a sucker for online shopping? Unsubscribe from e-mail newsletters from your favorite stores. The point: Know your habits. Figure out what tempts you, and be vigilant about avoiding those temptations.
#6 Order your prescriptions generic and online.
Ask your doctor to prescribe generic brands whenever possible. Name-brand birth control, for instance, will run you as much as $50 a month, while a generic brand can be as inexpensive as $10! Most insurance companies also offer discounts for ordering prescriptions online.
#7 Get a side job with perks.
Two words: employee discount. Look into jobs at dance retail shops, theaters and dance studios. Some teachers may also offer free classes in exchange for helping them take attendance, unlock/lock up dance studios or maintain their website.
#8 Get certified.
Many dancers choose to get certified as Pilates or yoga instructors. Not only is it lucrative, it’s excellent cross training. Bonus: If you teach at a gym or studio, you may get a free or discounted membership.
#9 Don’t carry a credit card.
Some people say it’s important to carry a credit card in case of emergencies, but if window displays lure you to the checkout counter, then it’s better to leave your plastic at home. If you feel unsafe without it, carry a prepaid credit card instead. If it gets lost or stolen, you can still get your money back.
#10 Never charge basic living expenses.
This is important: Only use a credit card to pay for a basic living expense if it’s an absolute one-time emergency (you had to buy a plane ticket to go see your dying aunt and now you can’t pay this month’s energy bill). Why is this important? Eventually your credit card will max out. You’ll be stuck without a way to pay your cell phone bill and you’ll still have to pay for all those months you charged it! If you can’t pay for basic expenses (rent, food, transportation, energy bills, etc.), then you need a side job.
#11 Buy a fan and an extra blanket.
The cost of energy keeps going up. Take it easy on the thermostat (and Mother Earth) with a fan in the summer and an extra blanket in the winter.
#12 Volunteer for studies.
OK, we’re not suggesting you let medical students cut off and reattach your toes. Sometimes health studies compensate participants, and you won’t necessarily have to take strange drugs or volunteer your appendages for a chopping lesson. A research team may want to find out if people who take vitamin C every day are less likely to get the flu than those who don’t. Ask your doctor about volunteering for clinical trials. But please be smart about this. Don’t do anything that could interfere with your health or your number-one priority: dance!
#13 Be commuter-savvy.
If you live in a city with a mass transit system, take advantage of multiple-trip discount tickets. For instance, if you ride the NYC subway twice a day, you’ll save $44 every month if you buy a $76 unlimited MetroCard instead of paying as you go ($2 per ride). If you must drive, carpool as often as possible and split the cost of gas.
#14 Be smart about sales.
Using sales to your advantage means purchasing the yogurt brand on sale at your grocery store instead of your usual brand—it doesn’t mean buying a $500 Fendi bag because it’s marked down from $2,100. No matter how great the sale, you’re still out $500! Moral of the story: A sale only saves you money when you’re buying something you would have purchased anyway.
#15 Big purchase? Compare costs online.
It may be convenient to hit the local Comp USA for a new computer, but you’re better off comparing prices online first. Websites like bizrate.com and pricegrabber.com list all sorts of products so you can compare costs and find the best deal.
#16 They don’t call it happy hour for nothing.
If you’re 21 or over and you and your friends like spending Thursday nights at the local watering hole, schedule your plans for happy hour, when drinks are seriously cheap.
#17 Buy a Brita.
Instead of buying bottles of spring water or using a delivery service, invest in a water filter (like a Brita) and a metal or plastic reusable water bottle. Some water delivery companies will entice you with offers like $1 a day, but you can still do better—and you’ll be helping the environment, too!
Three months of bottled water: $93
Three-month Brita filter: $8.99
Reusable water bottle: $2 at a dollar store!
#18 Use free wi-fi.
Stealing your neighbors’ internet doesn’t count! An increasing number of city parks, libraries and cafés offer free wi-fi these days, so pack your laptop and save a bundle. Check wififreespot.com for a state-by-state directory of free wi-fi locales.
#19 Don’t smoke.
Besides the obvious health risks—like, um, death—cigarettes are just plain pricey. One pack of cancer sticks in NYC is about $8. At three packs a week, that’s $1,248 a year!
There are dancers and then there are DANCERS! Whitney Jensen, soloist at Norwegian National Ballet, is the latter. The former Boston Ballet principal can do it all. From contemporary to the classics this prima has the technical talent most bunheads dream about. Need proof? Look no further.
Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee's dance inducing hit, "Despacito," is so catchy it should probably come with a disclaimer that warns people of an uncontrollable itch to tap your feet or bob your head. Some might even feel inclined to go all out and break it down. Niana Guerrero is a prime example of "Despacito's" uncanny ability to unleash the red dressed emoji dancer within. 💃🏽 💃🏽
Guys, we all knew this was coming—"World of Dance" was eventually going to eliminate someone. But man, is it brutal to watch these talented dancers give their all, only to be sent home. It's the name of the game, though, and after last night's episode, only two dancers per division remain. (At least Misty Copeland guest-judging was a silver lining!) Here's what went down last night:
They've impressed the judges, now it's time for the Top 100 dancers to enroll at The Academy—and to impress the All-Stars. Welcome to So You Think You Can Dance Academy!
The 100 dancers who made it through auditions in NYC or L.A. are now at The Academy, which is basically a beautiful building with floor-to-ceiling windows. The show opens with that Mandy Moore-choreographed Academy routine which, even after watching it 12 times and trying to learn all the choreography at home, is still delightful.
This Nationals season, Dance Spirit followed four talented dancers from The Dance Awards, NYCDA, Showstopper, and Starpower for an inside look at everything that goes into the biggest competitions of the year. First up: Isabella Torres from Mid-Atlantic Center for the Performing Arts in Baltimore, MD, who competed at New York City Dance Alliance Nationals for the first time this year. (All photos courtesy Shannon Torres.)
Merritt Moore is a ballerina who just so happens to be graduating from Oxford University with a PhD in quantum physics. Is she even human? The jury is still out on that - but the 29-year-old, who earned her undergrad degree from Harvard, has actually found dance to be a powerful tool that assists her in her studies.
Happy #WorldEmojiDay, dance friends! 🎉 👯 🎉 👯
Because it's just the cutest, we thought we'd share the emoji challenge the Royal Opera House is currently hosting on Twitter. They've retold a series of ballets (and operas, for that crowd) in emoji form. If you correctly guess the name of a ballet, you'll be entered for a chance to win two tickets to a ROH production.