Jayme Thornton

Dear Katie: My  Dance Income Is Barely Enough to Make Rent!

In our "Dear Katie" series, former NYCB soloist Kathryn Morgan answers your pressing dance questions. Have something you want to ask Katie? Email dearkatie@dancespirit.com for a chance to be featured!

Dear Katie,

I moved to L.A. a few months ago and have started to book dance jobs. I'm so excited—but I'm also barely making enough to pay my rent. How can I stretch my (really) limited income?


Dear Rebecca,

Congratulations! It takes many dancers a long time to begin booking jobs, so you're already off to an impressive start.

Making enough money is always a concern for dancers, especially early in their careers. (None of us chose this field for the money!) If you're not already living with a roommate, I'd suggest finding one immediately. Rent is going to be one of your biggest expenses in L.A., and splitting it with somebody (or a few somebodies) will be a considerable help. I know dancers tend to need their personal space, but remember: It's not necessarily permanent. Once your career is better established, you'll probably be able to afford your own place.

Or you might find that you love living with roomies—especially if they're also dancers.

Watch your food budget carefully, too. Buying groceries and cooking for yourself tends to be a lot less expensive than eating out. Restaurant meals can really add up, especially in an expensive city like L.A.

If you can swing it, get a part-time job: Teach private dance lessons, or babysit for a friend's kids, or take a few shifts a week at a coffee shop. Yes, adding a side gig to your busy schedule of classes and auditions might feel overwhelming, but these kinds of jobs tend to have flexible scheduling, and will give you a little breathing room in your budget.

Latest Posts

Photo by Jayme Thornton

How Paloma Garcia-Lee Manifested Her Dream Role, in Steven Spielberg’s "West Side Story"

On a rainy day in November 2018, Paloma Garcia-Lee got a call from her agent that brought her to her knees outside her New York City apartment: She was going to play Graziella in Steven Spielberg's West Side Story.

The call came after a lengthy audition process with Spielberg in the room, and the role, originated by Wilma Curley on Broadway in 1957 and later portrayed by Gina Trikonis in the 1961 film, was her biggest dream. In fact, it's something Garcia-Lee says she manifested from the day plans for the movie were announced in January 2018. "I wrote in my journal: 'I am playing Graziella in Steven Spielberg's West Side Story.'"

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Photo by @mediabyZ

Am I Less Committed to Dance Because I Have Other Passions? (Spoiler Alert: NO!)

Let's face it—dance is HARD, and in order to achieve your goals, you need to be committed to your training. "Still, there's a fine line between being committed and being consumed." Dancers can, and should, have interests outside of the studio.

Not convinced? We talked with dance psychologist Dr. Lucie Clements and two multifaceted dancers, Kristen Harlow (a musical theater dancer pursuing a career in NYC and Kentucky) and Kallie Takahashi (a dancer in her final year at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts), and got the inside scoop on how having hobbies outside of dance can inform your artistry, expand your range and help prevent burnout.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Photo courtesy of Brittany Conigatti

Go Behind the Scenes of Annie Live! With Brittany Conigatti

Unwrap your candy canes, pour the hot chocolate and round up your fellow theater lovers: NBC is kicking off the Christmas season with its latest live-broadcast TV musical. Annie Live! premieres December 2 and features a star-studded cast, including Harry Connick Jr., Tituss Burgess, Megan Hilty and, as the title character, young phenom Celina Smith.

Luckily, people got a taste of what the special will entail when the cast kicked off the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with a performance last week. But since you’re never fully dressed without a Dance Spirit exclusive, we caught up with Brittany Conigatti, one of the young orphans and adult ensemble members in the show, to learn what it was like putting together a large-scale live production for the small screen.

The cast of Annie Live! poses for a group photo. The cast of Annie Live!Photo courtesy of Conigatti

Keep Reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks

Enter the Cover Model Search