Opening AGMA to freelancers—while complex—is conceivable. Photo via Thinkstock.
Now more than ever, dancers are speaking up against abuses of power that have long been considered foregone conclusions. In many cases, these dancers are backed by a union and protected by solidarity. Union representation has traditionally been the purview of established companies, but many dancers working today are freelancers. As dance employment shifts away from the company model, how can independent artists advocate for themselves? Could unionizing ensure them fair treatment? Is a union for freelance dancers even feasible?
A scene from Massenet's Cendrillon. Photo by Ken Howard, Courtesy Met Opera
The last place you might expect to find a graduate of New York University's decidedly contemporary dance program is onstage at the Metropolitan Opera House, scuttling around in a single three-inch heel, a massive petticoat and an ostentatious wig. But 2016 Tisch Dance graduate Andrea Pugliese can be found doing exactly that in The Metropolitan Opera's new production of Cendrillon, running April 12–May 11.
It might not seem like the most obvious fit for someone more accustomed to concert dance, but booking an opera job has major benefits—the dancers are unionized, which means good pay, and clear guidelines for rehearsal and performance schedules and conditions.