Money & Art | Seeing your worth


July 8, 2021


Christy & Susanne connecting this week over $$ mindset and the effects it has on artists. Come join us with no judgment. We are holding space to learn, laugh, and downright pointe at ourselves.

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Money & Art | Seeing your worth

The Pay Structure in Arts Organizations

Why do dancers get paid the least out of the entire organization that has invested perhaps most of the time and money into their education and consistently investing more and more into staying prepared to be the performer? And why do C-level executives or artistic directors take home the high six, low seven-figure salaries and working 52 weeks out of the year with all the benefits? Are we really paying attention to what the economy is doing? If you’re living in a city like New York City, how are you going to survive?

The feeling that artists don’t matter

The feeling that dancers and artists, in general, don’t matter is one of the reasons for the meager pay dancers get. We’re all supposed to be working together for a cohesive product. We’re all working for the same thing. So why was there such looming, unnerving energy when high-level people would come to watch a rehearsal or come to see a show? There was such a stark difference. Artists in general sometimes don’t feel worthy to even muster up words to negotiate any other contract than what they are presented because there’s apparently no room for it and each level up is scarier.

It comes down to stepping into your earning potential. Artists keep chasing the contracts, artists keep chasing the validation and worthiness in order to get paid. And with that comes this lack mentality and an energy that just keeps reproducing over and over from generation to generation. Artists need to understand that it doesn’t have to be that way. When we’re talking about the hierarchy in companies, every company has a hierarchy. Every company is set up like a pyramid. You have your top C-level, the owners, CEOs, CFOs, whatever. We’re putting the dancers into the doer compartment, the front-line worker.

No motivation

Dancers and artists are creatives, meaning that they have so much in here that is waiting to come out, and it’s being suppressed, not only by telling them what and what not to do but by also telling them that, you know what, you right now are only worth 750 bucks a week. And it’s going stay there until you stop dancing and there is no way up for you. There’s no motivation. There’s no reason for you to actually get better because the end goal seems to be getting the job. There’s nothing above that. And when we don’t have goals, we’re not going to get anywhere. We’re just going to hover around the same level. And if we’re not evolving, we’re dying. An artist that is not creative, an artist that is not evolving is not an artist anymore.

Outside of your comfort zone, it stops playing the game, because it has been played for so many decades. Yes, your company structure may be set out this way it’s not the right thing. So I would start asking questions, even if you start a conversation with your peers, even if we start with finding more comfortability and actually talking about money and earning and hierarchy, and “Hey, what other ways are there in this company for me to earn some money?” And coming from a place of love and not from a place of, “Oh, she wants to get ahead.” All of this comparison and judgment and fear of being less than is so low on the energy totem pole. It makes so much sense that why there’s so much suffering.

The Payment of Validation and Recognition

Artists see the esteem of the role in the company or the theater as part of the payment. And so that’s what keeps them moving and is not concerned with the pay. The paycheck is something, and it’s important for us because we need money in this world, but what’s also really important or even more, which is why we don’t negotiate the pay so much, is what that recognition or validation of whatever we’re signing will bring to us. When we work on ourselves enough to not require those two things, that’s when there will be room to see whether what’s left is worth it for you.

It starts with asking yourself the question like what’s going on, having the conversations in your dressing room. Stop complaining and look at the problem as something that is actually changeable and fixable. Look at it from a different perspective, kind of, possibility versus just sitting there and complaining because with complaining you’re not changing anything. You’re just putting out energy that is wasted. The way we’re making a difference, the way maybe not for our generation or the generation in companies right now, but maybe for the next generation of artists that than actually don’t have to have another nine to five job in order to sustain their own life, that they have the funds to really support themselves, not only through food and shelter, but maybe like be more creative in other ways, like invest in themselves to become even better, not just by acquiring more skills, but by acquiring different mindset skills and leaning into other avenues that are actually important to be a great artist.

Start asking for what you’re worth

So stop taking what is given to you like a little puppy and start asking for what you’re worth. And it doesn’t matter if the company structure is that way. It doesn’t matter if it has been done this way. That for me is an excuse just because we’re scared. And we’re using that as, and it’s my favorite word, it is your crutch that you’re leaning on over and over and over again because change is really only one choice away. And it starts with all of us. So ask for what you’re worth.


So much ❤ Susanne

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  • About Christy Little

    PTR 31 | Personal DevelopmentFormer professional dancer turned entrepreneur who is passionate about living in purpose and assisting people to see the greatness inside of them to live their ideal life.


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Past Episodes 

There is a better way to pursue ballet at the professional level. Instead of dancers pushing beyond their body’s limits, there is a healthier way to train your body, your mind and your spirit to soar. To become the best at your craft, you must be healthy. The mentality of surviving to make a performance perfect is an old paradigm that needs to change. As athletes, dancers must thrive in order to shine and connect with their audience. This new approach, leads to fulfillment, strength and longevity. It allows you to give more of your heart and soul on stage, creating an unforgettable experience that moves your audience. And that’s the whole pointe.