Please read to the end of this post
As many of you may know, a number of dancers were hired on X-factor this past week. I use hired in the lightest way as these dancers were unpaid for thier work and, in my opinion, x-factor could EASILY have afforded to pay.
I have messaged two of the people involved and shared my thoughts with them, privately. I congratulated them on the opportunity as I believe it was well deserved AND I also shared this link with both. It is from a newspaper article about 5 years ago. I understand at least one of the dancers reasons for taking up unpaid work, and truthfully sometimes free is the path to paid. I am not convinced that is the case here.
The title of the MailOnline article, ironically:
The Cash Factor: How Simon Cowell turned his talent show into a money spinning phenomenon
What’s the Problem
I don’t have a problem with dancers deciding to work for free. I have a problem businesses that CAN afford to pay choosing to exploit or allowing the exploitation of dancers.
HOWEVER, This requires more thought and discussion.
October 19 Equity had an event and invited the entire industry to participate in a discussion about how Freelance dancers can be better protected. Aside from myself and Del Mak I saw NO other street dancers (that I knew). The only other person I knew was Rakhee Verma fo DanceTribe.
On December 7th DanceUK, ADAD, Youth Dance UK and the National association for Teachers of Dance (NATD) merged to form One Dance. I met Hakeem Onibudo and Yami “Rowdy” Lofvenburg and a couple of others. My point? Show me WHERE ARE the DANCERS CHOOSING TO EXCERCISE THEIR RIGHTS. ESPECIALLY STREET AND COMMERCIAL DANCERS?
There is little point in complaining about a situation if you are not actively protecting or trying to protect yourself and others.
If you are choosing NOT to be present, to join equity, or any other organisation (not talking about RAD, ISTD, or similar), or at least standing up for your right to be fairly compensated, then what is you are complaining about?
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1321443/How-X-Factors-Simon-Cowell-turned-money-spinning-phenomenon.html#ixzz3uOnAUwPd
Note that making a stand is important – even after the fact.
The articles below speak for themselves. I am asking OneDance, Equity, Ms. Arlene Phillips and anyone else who has a voice bigger than mine to ask X-factor executives to reach back into their budgets and pay these dancers and choreographers a fair wage for thier work.
We should all remember the furor over Kylie Minogue a year and a half ago.
Or Tyga recently paying 25k to a dancer for mistreatment she suffered on set.
Nor the many calls I’ve received from production companies looking for dancers who want to work for “experience”.
Concept Video Anyone
Let’s take a peak in to the highly choreographed filmed ‘Concept video’ used to sell a dancer/choreographer. It’s a grey area as most of these videos are amatuer video CV’s but there are some ‘Choreographers’ charging 1000’s per workshop on the back of these concept vids. It’s NOT the same as an impromptu end of class video snip. Are those dancers being compensated? Should they?
I have worked for free
I have NO PROBLEM with free work when the opportunity is right. But in the case of the big shows this doesn’t FEEL right.
Some of these shows have million pound budgets. Even if they hired 20 dancers and paid them £1000 each the total pay would still be two percent of the total budget. But for many dancers, co-renting and begging for a job that could be a couple of months rent.
Finally, the mind numbing number of times I have personally been an unpaid consultant on shows like GTD, X-Factor and BGT (this is when a researcher calls, makes promises to pass on your details to the producer or exec or whomever, bleeds info from you, and never calls back. I don’t do that anymore).
Guy’s I’m not even FROM here and I stand up more than some of the dancers and “keep it real’ people in the scene.