13  Retirement

13.1 How many dancers retire each season?



% Retiring










Number of dancers in recorded companies retiring the listed season (2018 is 2018-2019 season). Percent retiring is the number of dancers retiring out of all dancers recorded for that season. The 2018 season only includes the top seven US companies. Milwaukee Ballet was not tracked the 2020 season. Does not include second company programs, NYCB apprentices, or special ranks (like guest principal).

Our estimate of retirement each season is very close to the number of dancers who leave the top 26 companies each season. In other words, our data implies dancers who leave these companies (a huge chunk of US ballet jobs) frequently retire.


Interpret with caution: This is probably an overestimate of retired dancers as 1. some dancers may use different names from when they were in a top 26 US company and 2. some company rosters dancers may have moved to are in languages that do not use the English alphabet.

13.2 When do most dancers retire?

This was originally part of our section on principal dancers. Because of this, our average estimated age of retirement only includes that of principal dancers.

For this analysis, we confirmed retirements by looking for public news announcements. Only 26 dancers with available age data retired within the past three seasons. The average age for male and female dancers was 37.5 years old with only a slight difference in genders – men retiring at 36.8 and women at 38.4 years on average. Our data did not show the retirements of any non-binary dancers over this time period. Retirement Age By Gender

We plan on tracking retirement more comprehensively in the future, including dancers of other ranks.