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 [email protected] for a chance to be featured!
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?
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.