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The aerial arts is an eclectic career choice that's not for the faint of heart. Day in and day out, aerial artists fly through the air on the trapeze, twist around in aerial nets or fabric, or spin in a specialized hoop. While each act illustrates a large amount of skill and strength, a high amount of danger also exists. In exchange for this dangerous yet highly skilled work, aerial artists often make what seems to be a high sum of money. However, since many aerialists work on a freelance basis, much of this cash goes toward insurance and other business needs.
Aerial Acrobat Salary
According to SalaryExpert.com, at the time of publication, an American aerial performer can expect to make between $21,374 and $71,566, depending on the city. A hiring agency for cruise ship entertainers may pay up to $4,000 a month for a performer, which equals $48,000 per year. Aerial acrobats who are part of a larger organization, such as Cirque du Soleil, can make more than this amount after adding regular per diem payments and other benefits.
Aerial Acrobat Job Details
Most aerial artists work on a freelance basis, taking private, one-off event jobs along with regular, repeat gigs. Many aerial artists also teach classes to bring in more income. If performing with a show, the schedule can be very busy, with up to 10 performances per week and only a few hours of rest. Unlike a conventional job, weekends equal work days, with night availability a necessity. Plus, there's only one day a week off, usually Monday. Aerial acrobats also travel often, journeying to perform for clients in foreign countries and other states.
Aerial Acrobat Job Benefits
In exchange for the tough schedule and hard work, an aerial acrobat enjoys a lot of perks. Few jobs keep a person in as good shape as aerial dance work, so performers usually enjoy robust health and physical fitness. Aerial artists also travel to interesting places and encounter many cultures along the way. Performers often use these opportunities to network and build a rich base of acquaintances and friends all over the world. For those artists who work with a major production company, there are extras like free massage, physical therapy and board, along with a per diem to spend on days off when company facilities are closed. Since an aerial artist often works among foreign circus artists, there's also the chance to learn languages for free in a laid-back, conversational fashion.
Aerial Dance Job Requirements
An aerial artist must be at peak physical condition, and should be well-versed in dance and gymnastics. Knowledge of French, Russian, Chinese, Italian and Spanish also help, especially when working for some of the top circus arts production companies. Aerial dancers often attend circus arts schools, and college degree programs exist for serious students of the craft. Artists must also take criticism and rejection well, since job competition can be intense. A freelance aerialist can also benefit from basic business knowledge, especially marketing and accounting.
Gigi Starr is a freelance fashion writer. She previously served as the blog editor for a major online fashion blog and has more than a decade of backstage experience in the beauty and high fashion industries. She has worked for businesses like an internationally renowned theatrical touring company and events such as the Mercedes-Benz N.Y.C. Fashion Week.