Evvie Allison is a dance artist and advocate whose work asks questions about how we make what we make. A 2016 fellow in Choreography from the New York Foundation for the Arts, Allison has been supported by residencies at the Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography, Tofte Lake Center, PLAYA and Chez Bushwick. Her choreography is featured on NOWNESS and has been presented in New York City by Danspace Project, Gibney, Center for Performance Research, and Movement Research at the Judson Church, among others. She is a co-founder of FREE ADVICE, a co-mentorship platform for NYC-based dance artists. Allison received her Pilates mat certification from the Kane School at Kinected in New York City.
Many colleges today are offering affordable certification for dance students. Photo courtesy JCC Indianapolis
Many of today's savvy dance students are accruing practical skills alongside their bachelor's degrees. In particular, some pursue Pilates certifications to gain a deeper understanding of anatomy and kinesiology as well as the opportunity to earn high wages and work flexible hours. (New Pilates teachers make about $35 per mat class, and master trainers can make more than $100 per private session.) While teacher training at a studio can be expensive and time-consuming, more and more college dance departments are offering deeply discounted certifications.
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?