Photo Credit: @dancersalliance on Facebook
With the start of a new year, and a new decade, I thought it was important to highlight the work of a specific nonprofit whose sole purpose is to advocate for fair and equal rights in the dance community. Dancers Alliance (DA) strives to be the unified voice of the national dance community and works to improve the careers of professional dancers and choreographers through education and solidarity. This organization advocates for equitable rates and working conditions for non-union workers and represents the dance community on union boards and committees.
Dancers Alliance was formed over 20 years ago in Los Angeles and continues to lead the movement in negotiating equitable rates and working conditions in non-union work for dancers, including non-union music videos and live shows. In 2010, the organization’s efforts dramatically increased, which ultimately resulted in a huge win for the dance community. DA won a decades-long campaign in June 2012 that sparked an industry-changing union music video contract through SAG-AFTRA. Also, in 2012, Dancers Alliance formed branches in New York and Miami to better serve the dance communities in those markets. These chapters help DA to gain more visibility and support on both national and international levels.
This organization is not only a valuable resource in the professional dance industry, but it also represents positive activism across all industries. Through social media, grass roots campaigning, and organizing events, DA continuously creates change. As DA works with agents, SAG-AFTRA, and the community to build lasting relationships with producers and record labels, it gets closer to ensuring continued improvements in the dance industry. DA also extends its efforts to the future of the dance industry through mentoring younger dancers and practicing direct community outreach.
Even though the demand for dancers in film, television, and music is on the rise, dancers' salaries are not rising. In light of this consistent problem in the industry, DA created its latest campaign 567R8! dedicated to increasing dancers' rates. Through this campaign, the organization encourages and empowers dancers to not feel pressured to take a job for little to no pay.
The best way to show dancers that they don't have to settle for little to no pay is to educate them, which is why DA also started M.E. Time in 2016. M.E. Time focuses on the fundamentals of DA standards for working rates, terms, conditions, and current events.
Known as “The voice behind the movement,” DA consistently holds events to educate the dance community on the many resources available to them. It’s next event, 'Vital Resources for Pro Dancers Panel,' will take place on Wednesday, Feb. 28 at 8 p.m. at Movement Lifestyle, 11105 Weddington St., North Hollywood, CA 91601. This event includes a free masterclass from Shaun Evaristo followed by a panel of speakers including: Sophia Kozak- Career Transitions for Dancers; Joanne Web- The Actors Fund; Annie Colbeck- LEAP/St. Mary's College; and Alex Mathews- Dance Resource Center LA. The panelists will talk about various free resources available to professional dancers including ways to acquire free dance shoes, help with rent, grants for certifications in yoga/Pilates, career counseling, and tax advice.
Dancers Alliance enables dancers to be a part of a national community and acts as a resource to that community by providing information, recognition, and industry support. Through proposals, it establishes equitable levels of compensation and conditions in work not covered by union jurisdiction and represents the dance community in union proposals and committees. DA is primarily a resource and voice for professional dancers, and is committed to the education of dancers through training and the participation and betterment of the entire national dance community.
This is the only organization, aside from the unions, fighting solely for the protection and improvement of professional dancers' rights. Donations are essential to keep Dancers Alliance afloat, so if you are interested in being a part of the movement, visit https://www.dancersalliance.org/donate .