Trapeze artists are the high-flying stars of circuses and Las Vegas revues. Most trapeze artists begin training at a young age, studying dance, gymnastics and performance. The job takes you all over the world, performing for audiences of all ages. You'll work long hours and spend even more hours training. Once you become too old to perform, you might find work teaching or managing other performers. Salaries vary depending on your skills and where you work.
As with any profession, beginning trapeze artists make less than those with more experience. KidzWorld reports trapeze artists can earn between $40,000 and $70,000 a year, on average. CNN reports Cirque de Soleil pays its performers between $30,000 a year for an apprentice to more than $100,000 for veteran performers. Rather than an annual salary, many performers are paid per show; the more often they perform, the more they make.
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Trapeze artists in circuses and traveling shows such as Cirque de Soleil have room and board paid by the company, which allows them to save more of their paychecks. They live in trailers or tents and eat in commissaries. Larger shows also provide insurance, though smaller shows might not. The job involves a lot of travel, which gives you an opportunity to see the world, and you make friends with multitalented co-workers from all over the world. The circus troupe, with whom you live and work, becomes your family.
Trapeze artists might perform nine or 10 shows a week and must spend hours every day practicing, learning new skills and routines and honing their craft. The work is physically demanding, and most artists retire before they're 40. The work is dangerous; though deaths are rare, they do occur, and the risk is always there of serious injury from falls. Though you travel a lot, you might not get to see much of the cities you visit, because the work load can be demanding. It can be difficult to maintain close relationships outside of your show.
Circus schools such as the Academy of Circus Arts can provide training for trapeze artists. Cirque du Soleil and Barnam and Bailey's Ringling Brothers Circus hold auditions for new talent. You can submit an audition tape or attend a live audition. Most trapeze artists start out with smaller companies and work their way up.