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Wage watchers: how much does a dancer earn?

15:21 09/07/2013

Dancer Tommy Gryson, 26, from Kortrijk, West Flanders province talks about what he earns and how he spends it


What do you do for a living?

I am a full-time self-employed dancer. I teach two days a week; the rest of the time I do freelance assignments as a performing dancer or choreographer. Sometimes I’ll take part in a fashion show or I'll do some modelling for an advert. I do like to keep busy.

How do you make sure you get enough assignments?

Originally I studied event management and I didn’t have any professional dance training. But five years ago I took part in an audition for a musical, which I eventually passed, and I started making connections. So my network of contacts in the profession, combined with the fact that I can handle different dance styles, means it is now quite easy for me to get bookings.

Do you like your job?

Yes! When I studied event management, I did an internship in a different industry. I thought that was cool, but dancing was and is my passion. I never thought that I could turn it into my profession.

How many hours a week do you work?

I teach nine hours a week, that’s a security I have. I also combine it with one or two shows a week. If you add all the rehearsals, shows, lesson preparations etc, then you easily come to 50 hours per week. In the autumn in particular I tend have a busy schedule – I sometimes combine three or four jobs per day.

What do you think of your income?

I take home between €1,200 and €3,000 a month - I am very satisfied. When you consider that graduates in the event industry might also start at €1,300 net per month, I am very happy that I can earn even more doing what I love. There is a small drawback, however: what I earn is highly variable and depends on the number of assignments I take and when I go on holiday, being self-employed, I earn nothing. But for me it’s totally worth it.

Would you change jobs if the money was better?

No. I am fortunate that I can combine several things: I'm a dancer, a dance teacher and a choreographer. Dancing really is  my passion and if I were to earn €5,000 or 10,000 per month earn, that would not really matter. I have the luxury of going training in LA for four weeks, for instance, and I'm very happ.

Do you save?

Absolutely. I have a private pension fund, but I also save money for a rainy day. I think that's important, because when you’re self-employed you never know what's coming. I’d like to be covered, financially speaking, should anything happen.

What will you gladly pay money on?

My training in Los Angeles: the plane tickets, staying there and the dance lessons, it costs quite a bit. On top of that, I generally like to travel around – Thailand, for example. I want to see the world.

What would you do if you won the lottery?

I would buy an enormous house with a ballroom which I would use as my own dance studio. And then I would like a private jet, so that I could go to LA or London when I want.


Written by The Bulletin