Employment Practices for Dancers & Directors

At DanceATL, we acknowledge that there is a need for more information and resources regarding dance industry standards when it comes to employment practices. The purpose of this page is to provide resources and information for dancers, choreographers, and directors centered around employment practices and working conditions. We encourage all dance industry leaders to seek and create a safe, healthy and fruitful work environment for all of those involved in the important creative work that artists do in the community. Hopefully these resources will aid in the process of building a space where all artists can thrive. 

DANCER WAGES

The creative work that performers, teachers, and choreographers do is important in uplifting the Atlanta community, but when it comes to wages, artists are often grossly under-compensated. This resource aims to empower Atlanta artists to fight for fair pay, better understand the worth of their work, and learn how to successfully negotiate wages.

  • DANC – Dance Artists’ National Collective provides a spreadsheet that compares dancer wages across the nation.  Use this as a resource to better understand what a fair compensation might look like for the specific job that you are doing. 
  • Dance Magazine on Fair Pay – This article discusses the obstacles around being paid fairly in the dance industry and why that needs to change.
  • The Dance Union Podcast – The issue of fair dance wages is bigger than the individual.  This podcast discusses the importance of supporting other dancers by speaking up and holding employers in the industry accountable.   
  • Minding the Gap – This research provides information regarding the differences between wages for men and women in the dance industry and what we can do to advocate for equal pay.  
  • Salary NegotiationsNegotiating dancer salaries is scary and often unwelcome.  This article explains why it is important to get comfortable discussing salary.  
  • Contract Guide – This is a complete guide to negotiating artist contracts.  

COMMUNITY AGREEMENTS

Dancers have the right to work in an environment where they feel safe, respected, and appreciated for their time.  Community agreements are necessary to provide a safe space for everyone involved.  This section provides resources regarding what to include in a community agreement, how to implement agreements into everyday tasks and why this is so important in the dance industry. 

  • National Equity Project – This article explains why community agreements are important and provides steps on how to start the conversation.
  • Co-Creating Agreements – This resource provides best practices for developing a community agreement and it includes a few suggestions on what to include.
  • Agreement Application – This resource includes advice on how to apply the written agreement to everyday work as well as how to hold people accountable and make adjustments as needed.

AUDITION PRACTICES

You wouldn’t be expected to pay a fee for a job interview, so why are dancers consistently expected to pay audition fees? This section provides advice on how to advocate for better audition conditions and how to thrive in the dance industry without the expense of audition fees.

  • Unions for Dancers – Many unions protect performers by putting regulations on audition conditions and covering audition fees. This link provides a list of unions that dancers can join.
  • Pros & Cons -This article discusses everything dancers need to know about unions and the pros and cons of specific ones.
  • Alternatives to Auditions – This article provides alternative ways to join a company without the expense that often comes with auditions.
  • Say NO to Fees – This resource researches what companies are doing as far as auditions and compensation. It also discusses why dancers shouldn’t be charged to audition.
  • Open Letter to Directors – This letter is directed to any choreographers and/or directors who are trying to decide whether or not to charge dancers audition fees (don’t).

LEGAL RESOURCES

In the event that a conflict arises or an agreement is broken, who can dancers turn to for help? This section provides resources on how to prevent, report and find support for incidents of harassment within the dance community. You can also find resources for directors on how to prevent harassment and keep your dancers safe through policy-making.

  • Know Your Rights – Knowledge is power.  This guide provides important information about rights in the workplace, what to do if you experience harassment and how to apply for free legal help.   
  • Company Policies – This link is a Q & A for dance companies about developing harassment policies for their organization.
  • Identifying Harassment – This fact sheet explains what is determined harassment, what to do as a victim or harassment and how to prevent it.
  • BetterBrave – This guide helps harassment survivors to document their experience if they decide to report an incident to authorities.
  • Title IX and Sex Discrimination “Title IX protects people from discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance. This includes, but is not limited to, issues regarding harassment and employment.”  This resource explains the steps for reporting any discriminatory situations that go against the Title IX amendment. 
  • Reporting in Georgia – This link provides instructions on how to report sexual abuse and harassment to the Department of Corrections in Georgia.
  • The Actor’s Fund – “The Actor’s Fund provides free, confidential counseling, support, and legal referrals to all professionals in performing arts and entertainment.”
  • The Dance Safe – “The Dance Safe is a collective of dancers who advocate for survivors of abuse and creating safe dance spaces through education, healing, and accountability.” They also provide various counseling, reporting and mental health resources for dancers.
  • National Hotlines:
    • National Crisis Hotline: 800-621-4673
    • National Sexual Assault Hotline: 800-656-HOPE (4673)
    • National Street Harassment Hotline: 855-897-5910
    • Safe Horizon: 1-800-621-HOPE (4673)
  • Georgia Hotlines:
    • Georgia Legal Services: (833) 457-7529 (883 GLSPLAW)
    • Atlanta Legal Aid: (404) 524-5811
    • Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation: (404) 521-0790


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