I Am a Professional Ballet Dancer

Posted on Jun 15 2017 - 8:00am by Amanda Subler


Janet Dziak gets to do what she loves every day as a professional ballet dancer.  She’s the founder and artistic director of North Pointe Ballet in Cleveland, Ohio.   She’s in charge of choreographing and producing full-length ballets for her company of professional dancers. She also teaches ballet students.

Day-in-the-life

Janet founded North Pointe Ballet in 2016 to make classical ballet accessible to her community. During the day, Janet works with her professional dancers, practicing and putting together ballet performances.  She produces the shows, so she works with her staff to produce the sets and costumes.  She choreographs the entire performance and puts together the full-length ballet.  Then on Saturdays, she has classes with students where she integrates them into their ballet performances.

Education & Background

Janet has been dancing since she was 3 years old.  Her dream was to be a professional ballet dancer so she went to college and got a degree in dance with a concentration in performance. She started performing full-time in St. Louis after college.  But because she didn’t make much money performing, she decided to start teaching dance on the side to make extra income.  That’s when she fell in love with teaching.  So Janet went back to school and took more education courses so she could expand her teaching skills. 

Advice for young dancers

It can be very tough to make it as a professional dancer according to Janet.  There just aren’t enough jobs out there.  But that doesn’t mean you have to give up your dream of becoming a professional ballet dancer.  Janet’s advice is to get as much training and experience you can with different teachers and to network.  She suggests you get training or take classes at several different studios, not only to expand your training but to meet new people.  The more people you meet, the more opportunities you will be exposed to as a young dancer.

Other opportunities for dancers

If you love dancing but know you won’t be able to make it as a professional dancer, Janet says there are many other opportunities in dance and theater.  Teaching is one way to make money as a dancer.  Janet says there are always opportunities to teach if you like to do it.  Also, there’s always opportunities on the business side, especially if you have knowledge and skills in grant writing and non-profit management.  You could also have a career in costumes, set design or you could learn about sound or lighting technology.  There are many job opportunities behind the scenes of a ballet performance.

Giving back to the community

After training her whole life, and even working professionally as a dancer for 5 years, Janet decided to open her own studio.  She feels strongly about giving families in her community the chance to see a professional ballet performance right in their own backyard.  Her company goes into schools, nursing homes, treatment centers and other places to expose people to dance and professional ballet performances.  Her company also puts on sensory-friendly performances so that families with children with special needs can get the experience and exposure to a real ballet performance in a friendly and comfortable environment. 

You can learn more about North Pointe Ballet here: http://www.northpointeballet.org/home.html

EDUCATION

Janet has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Dance from Mercyhurst University.

She’s certified a National Dance Institute instructor.

SALARY

A professional ballet dancer makes an average of $24,000 a year according to Payscale.com

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