DANCERS UNITE for fair and safe work conditions!
Every now and then I am seized by a desire to change the world, no through art, but through activism. This happened recently, as I read about the current controversy sparked by Yvonne Rainer’s comments on working conditions for performers in a show of Marina Abramovic’s work in LA. Suddenly I had an idea how dance artists can, taking advantage of the flexibility and speed of electronic communication and social networking, develop the strength in numbers that we need to transform the culture of the performance industry, so that fairness and respect for our work can become a given and not an exception.
In a flurry of very exciting activity, I made the Performers’ Rights Initiative website and got in touch with Sara Wookey, the dancer who turned down Abramovic’s job offer and sparked a press reaction with her Open Letter to Artists. In collaboration with Wookey and other dance artists working in Europe and the US, I’ve written two texts as tools for dance artists negotiating transparency in hiring and fair pay– the introduction and both texts are online here. This is a very simple idea for creating change with no budget and no stress by articulating a group vision where it counts. Take a look, pass the word, use the tools (to accompany a polite no andrequest for transparency in hiring) and follow the blog to help swell our numbers and add your voice.
Thanks and onward!!