Burlesque Rates of the Union


Burlesque Rates of the Union

An issue ago we finished up our Guide to Touring series.  It was with touring in mind that we dreamed up the idea for our Burlesque Rates of the Union.  We asked several gals from all over the country what to expect from their hometowns and compiled their responses into an easy to access reference table.  Be sure and grab the Best of Spring 2013 for even more cities!

(Click images to enlarge)



Special Thanks to Red Hot Annie, Coco Lectric, Midnite Martini, Dizzy Von Damn!, Perle Noire, Apple Angel, Angelique DeVil, Roxie Moxie, & Jeez Loueez.


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  1. Looking like dallas has some of the better rates but in general I’d like to see the rates goes up ! Hopefully audience attendance will continue to grow and therefore allow performer rates to grow as well.

  2. I’m definitely in support of this and kudos to Pincurl for starting dialogue! I will say that I believe very strongly that these resources need to begin with dialogue before the summation. This chart reads as a statistical analysis, when it appears to be based off of anecdotal evidence. I would like to see a more comprehensive research project that could give way to a broad scope perspective of the industry as it pertains to the individuals involved. An anonymous survey, from a platform like surveymonkey, would potentially be an excellent tool to get performers to share their experiences. I would say if this is intended to be a resource for performers, the questions on the survey should should also stem from industry input. That, combined with anecdotal information from industry leaders, would provide a more reliable resource especially if it was approached as a yearly thing (then growth could be monitored!) While I wouldn’t say that the chart is inaccurate where it comes to Chicago, for example, I would say that it does not represent my career experience… particularly in the last several months with a new club offering burlesque jobs three times a week with good pay…however, it is new, it does not currently have a full “burlesque show” and is only able to employ a small number of performers…so that doesn’t necessarily represent the average, but I think needs to be noted and contextualized to represent the current Chicago climate. I think noting the potential for corporate or special event work in cities is important in fleshing out perspective. I’d be happy to assist with any aspect of such a project, since I’ve thought about doing it myself but actually think this sort of thing is much stronger stemming from a hub like Pincurl and involving multiple people’s input.

  3. I would say the most common price range in NYC is more like SOTD (split of the door) to $150 per number. Also, in NYC there are TONS of floor shows, classic burlesque, and burlesque shows with live bands, as well as nerdlesque shows like Epic Win and the Pink Room. Wild neo doesn’t dominate like it used to.

  4. Bella Sin & all others who want to submit- We would love it! Our table can only be as complete an accurate as the information you submit! Please list the info in the comments section here and not only will it be visible to web readers, but we will compile & include it in our next “Best of Pin Curl” print edition which is due out in May!

  5. Frequency of Shows 4-6 per month
    Number of Producers 6
    Number of Local Performers 30
    Average Audience Size or Range 30-200
    Type of Venues Bars, few theaters
    Average Ticket Cost $5 – 15
    Average Pay for local performers per number $0 – 25 (door split)
    Percentage of shows that feature out of town performers Rarely
    Average headliner or out of town pay per # Same as local
    Type of burlesque popular/preferred in your area Classic, queer, neo-burlesque
    Number of burlesque schools Occasional classes offered
    Do these schools host traveling performers/workshops No

  6. Thanks to Gina Louise who sent this in via email:

    Your City:

    How many shows are there per month?

    10-20 shows per month

    Rough guess on how many producers/shows?

    Approximately 20 producers

    Rough guess on how many performers total?
    We have about 50 striptease artists, plus an additional 50 cabaret performers who regularly appear in burlesque shows.

    Average audience size or range?
    75-300 per show

    Are most shows in a specific type of venue? (Bar, theater, cabaret lounge, club, etc)

    We are lucky to have shows in all types of venues

    Average ticket cost?
    $5 – $30

    Average pay per number for local performers?

    Average pay for headliners or out of towners?
    $100 – $2000

    Percentage of shows per month that feature out of town performers?

    On average, is there a type of burlesque preferred?

    We have wide ranging audiences that embrace diverse burlesque styles from classic to neo, geeklesque, fetish, sideshow, draglesque, boylesque, and whatever one can imagine!

    Any burlesque schools in your town? How many?
    1 school dedicated solely to burlesque (Playful Peacock Showgirl Academy)
    Other studios that teach pole, acrobatics, belly dance and some burlesque
    Also individuals who teach occasional classes or workshops

    Do they host workshops for out of town performers?
    The Playful Peacock regularly welcomes visiting instructors.
    (I don’t believe the other studios have ever hosted any out of town burlesque instructors.)

    These general tidbits might help:

    Pay varies greatly from one producer to another, depending on the type of show.

    Only 1-2 major headliners per year would make $1000-2000, so those numbers don’t really count in the average.

    Some producers pay per show, while others pay by the number.

    Most shows only have performers do one number, but sometimes the gig is two shows in one night.

    More specifically:

    A new local performer can expect $20-50 per show for 1 number.

    A seasoned local performer or visiting guest can expect $50-200 per show for 1 number.

    If the guest is a well-known headliner, he or she can expect $100+ per show for 1 number.