Working to dance, dancing to live - Page 3

A look into the not-so-conventional lives of San Francisco's freelance dancers

When she's not dancing on stairwells, Gabby Zucker rests her muscles by working a gig as an author's assistant

"Until recently, the key to making dance possible in my life was seeking out alternative lifestyles that allowed me to step aside from the money equation for the most part," she continued. "This was much simpler to do as a single person, before becoming a family. We are still figuring out how we can keep the dance growing and maintain a sense of stability for our daughter."

Although it's a difficult balance to maintain, Bay Area dancers are more than up to the challenge of cultivating a life around a physically demanding art form with few monetary payoffs. Though it may demand fortitude, creativity, and a willingness to diverge from a more conventional lifestyle, the personal rewards of a life filled with inspiration and love-filled work are indeed great.


You guys should be high school tutors. It's sedentary, flexible, fun, and if you produce results, you can charge up to $100 per hour. While exercising your already sharp minds, it pads the pocketbook. San Francisco has no shortage of wealthy people with children. Just sayin'

Also, good article. It's very readable, and that's how a journalist's article should be. The beginning, middle, and end are tidy and connect well. The flow from word to word is smooth and predictable. Nice craft :-)

Posted by Parmesan on Jan. 26, 2011 @ 10:58 pm

I am a big big fan of Ms Wiederholt's dance writing, both her articles and her dance blog! "Working to Dance" is another great example of her work. Great insight too, on one of the critical aspects of our local dancers lives.

One of America's best symphony conductors once said, "...I conduct so I can compose. I compose so I can live..."

I have pursured my passion for dance and dance writing for the past couple of years now. I work so I can pursure that passion for dance. I pursure that passion, my passion, so I may live...

Thank you again, Emmaly, for a great dance article!

Posted by Jim Tobin on Jan. 26, 2011 @ 11:52 pm

Ok, but let's play devils advocate here, I mean I appreciate the fact that dancers are so motivated, but where does the responsibility start when it comes to making a change in finances? As directors and choreographers we should be paying our dancers to work, even if it is what they love. We all need to stop saying yes to working for next to nothing as dancers and as choreographers we need to start writing more grants, doing more fundraisers, support each other in the theater when work is produced, whatever it takes to break this cycle. Our dance jobs are worth just as much as any other job out there and it our responsibility to make that change, no one is going to do it for us.

Posted by guest on Jan. 28, 2011 @ 2:01 pm

Very hard to do, but a very good point!

Posted by Guest on Jan. 28, 2011 @ 6:51 pm

I think sharing figures of income comparing the earnings of someone with a typical full time job or entry level position with the earnings a performing artist (or any striving educated & talented artist) holding the multiple part-time jobs would present a whole new reality to those who may not get the picture still. The sacrifice we artists make financially is so extreme when numbers come into play. Yes, it's of course worth those moments we experience onstage that you can't recreate or ever imagine go paycheck to paycheck, but it's also a very scary place to put ourselves in. What happens if I'm seriously injured when I have little to no health insurance? Or what can I have for dinner tonight besides rice & beans?

If more people knew that we're making less than half the annual income of many average working citizens with little to no savings to speak of, I think we may see more support. We work hard so we can share ourselves and our potential with the world...such a priceless commodity....

Posted by another starving artist on Jan. 29, 2011 @ 7:15 pm

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