USA

General Information about working in the USA

  • There are upwards of 350 dance companies in the USA of which roughly a half are ballet companies
  • Only a minority, though, are AGMA* companies – that means their pay and conditions are subject to detailed collective agreements negotiated with the *American Guild of Musical Artists, which is the relevant trades union.
  • Among AGMA companies are Boston Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Pacific Northwest Ballet and San Francisco Ballet.
  • If you’re lucky enough to join one of those companies, you’re covered by all the protection afforded by AGMA.
  • That includes contributory retirement fund and health insurance, as well as discounts in a number of goods and services.
  • The table that follows presents a general view of the basic guarantees offered by AGMA companies, as well as a comparison between salaries in a number of AGMA and non-AGMA companies.
  • Whether the company you join is AGMA or non-AGMA, it is absolutely vital that you read your contract carefully before signing.
  • And ask yourself: can I afford to live on this salary? Remember tax, national insurance, rent, food, travel, dance clothes, union subs AND the need to save for the weeks in the contract when you’re not being paid.
  • Remember: as an alien worker in the USA you need a special VISA.
    • For a normal company contract you need an H-01 visa.
    • That costs about $1200 dollars and in the major companies the cost is carried by the employer.
    • The information on how to obtain and apply for a visa is usually given to the dancers by the employer’s attorneys
    • They ask for the information and prepare all the case.

Remember: these visas are issued exclusively for that employer, not allowing you to work for others under that petition.

That means you cannot engage in legal paid work during the unpaid weeks of your contract.

All visa information in Helpful Links 

Further Information

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As a young foreigner working abroad, there are a number of things you should make sure of in order to avoid unnecessary problems.

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Auditions advisoryPhoto of Salvatore Manzo

Auditioning is, of course, the main route to getting a dancing contract. It can also be a very expensive and frustrating process.

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Junior CompaniesPhoto of two a male and female ballet dancers

Many ballet companies now have their own Junior Companies, as well as apprentices working with the main company.

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