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Working with dancers

Some ideas for employers that we at OFEN Co-Arts Platform think are important to consider when hiring dancers. 

Tips for working with dancers #1

by OFEN Co-Arts Platform

1. Email during business hours, to respect work/life balance.

2. Sending job offers? Include detailed wage and job conditions including nudity/partial nudity.

3. Be transparent from the start about harsh working conditions which may put a dancers’ body at risk.

4. Expect that dancers have preferences with which choreographers they want to work with. 

5. Program short work schedules for optimal recovery time.

6. Not sure if a dancer would be comfortable doing a specific task? Ask them without obligation.

7. Ask a dancer how they like to work or how they like to be directed. You might be surprised what they say.

8. Pay dancers fairly for their work and their time.

9. Create a comfortable space for dancers to warm up in.

10. Pay all per diems before the first working day. 

Tips for working with dancers #2

By OFEN Co-Arts Platform

1. Always stop work if someone has an accident or gets injured. This includes rehearsals AND shows. Protect the injured person by making them as comfortable as possible – and no voyeurs.

2. Integrate a measurable inclusion and sustainability plan.

3. Co-write a manifesto or code of conduct with the whole team on the first day for reference throughout the project’s duration.

4. Schedule time for transparent honest feedback from the dancers.

5. Consider a non-gender binary workplace including gender neutral roles, bathroom and costume options for correct gender expression.

6. Provide recovery time for racial trauma, menstrual and maternity leave, and procedures relating to gender transition.

7. Ask dancers about their specific workplace needs i.e childcare, wheelchair access, flexible working times, healthcare etc.

8. Educate the workplace on correct pronoun usage and etiquette.

9. Elect an employee as a confidential advisor to be educated in mediating workplace conflict and elevating psycho social well-being.

10. Schedule your employee’s religious celebrations. ie. employees fasting during Ramadan might have different needs during this time.

Tips for working with dancers #3

by OFEN Co-Arts Platform

1. Consider income equality for all employees, no matter what their job description.  

2. Consider working in a flat hierarchy.

3. Consider decentralising decision making to those who may be experts in the topic at hand (for example: dancers are experts in the role of being a dancer therefor should be given the autonomy and responsibility to decide on what directly affects them).  

4. Consider giving everyone the option of working the hours that suit them best and creating a system which supports this work style. 

5. Only call a meeting for a specific outcome, prepare in advance and keep to under an hour. Otherwise consider other methods of communication. 

6. Show compassion to employees for their reasons for certain behaviours rather than just penalising them, they may be facing challenges that you’re unaware of.

7. Have regular education around transgressive behaviour, communication strategies and counselling for preventative methods of working. 

8. Include the perspectives of trans/non binary and non-able bodied people on your board.

9. Consider hiring beyond the white male cis able bodied choreographer/director, there are many talented artists waiting in line behind them that don’t get the same opportunities.

10. Consider awarding the dancers royalties and choreography credit.

OFEN Co-Arts Platform talk about tips working with dancers #1