Two Tools for Dance Artists

I developed these tools for dance artists in collaboration with dance artists working in the US, Austria, the Netherlands and Germany, inspired by Sara Wookey’s Open Letter to Artists.

The Tools are intended for immediate use for dancers confronted with the following situations: (they may also be useful for other kinds of performers- feel free!)

How do I use these tools?

  • Write to the hiring choreographer/organization in your own words, and follow your words with the text or an attachment of the appropriate letter—and voila, you are no longer an isolated artist being annoying, you are part of a group standing up for fair practices!
  • Customize the tools as needed—please make them your own.
  • Comment here on the blog and let other artists know what you used the letters for, what kind of response you got, if it was useful and how we can improve these texts.
  • Join the Performers’ Rights Initiative list (click the Follow widget on the right side of the main page) to become part of a registry of artists who are using these tools. You will receive updates when others comment, and we will also keep you up to date if/when a more formal organization for dance artists’ develops out of this community.
  • Add a comment including your country (where you are working) and we’ll add you to the list of countries in the tools.
  • Spread the word! If you find this useful, mail or blog this link to other dance artists, post on FB, tweet, tell people in person, make a flyer, call your friends. The more people who use these tools, the more powerful they, and we, will become.

The Dancers Forum Compact | guidelines for work conduct

The Dancers Forum Compact | The Performance Club. This is a great document for this discussion! Please comment…

The Dancers Forum Compact, which was created in order to establish guidelines for work conduct between dancers and choreographers, has come up in the discussion surrounding the recent Marina Abramović production for the annual gala of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and in the responses posted by performers who have auditioned for or worked with Abramović. The forum was created in 1996, after a Dance Theater Workshop retreat for dance professionals.

strength in numbers

So, reading these articles and thinking about the situation of most dancers and performers I know, i had an idea. The debate about Marina Abramovic’s show has sparked a very exciting dialogue about dancers/performers working in bad conditions… i want to seize the day and create something, some kind of no-budget, no-stress international network of dancers and artists who stand up for working only for fair conditions… add your voice to the discussion!

Open Letter to Artists | The Performance Club

by Sara Wookey

I participated in an audition on November 7th for performance artist Marina Abramović’s production for the annual gala of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. I auditioned because I wanted to participate in the project of an artist whose work I have followed with interest for many years and because it was affiliated with MOCA, an institution that I have a connection with as a Los Angeles-based artist. Out of approximately eight hundred applicants, I was one of two hundred selected to audition. Ultimately, I was offered the role of one of six nude females to re-enact Abramović’s signature work, Nude with Skeleton (2002), at the center of tables with seats priced at up to $100,000 each. For reasons I detail here—reasons which I strongly believe need to be made public—I turned it down….  read the rest of Open Letter to Artists here.

Who Will Rein Her In? Marina Abramovic versus Yvonne Rainer / artcritical

…[Yvonne] Rainer ascribes the willingness of young actors and dancers to subject themselves to such degradations, “to become decorative table ornaments installed by a celebrity artist” as symptomatic of a desperate need “of somehow breaking into the show biz themselves” as well as working for “sub-minimal wages.“

A volunteer performer, who has chosen to remain anonymous but whose testimony has been circulated with Rainer’s letter, reports that “diners may try to feed us, give us drinks, fondle us under the table, etc but … whatever happens, we are to remain in performance mode and unaffected.”  All this, over a fifteen-hour contract, for $150 “(plus a MOCA one year membership!!!)”…

Read full article here:  Who Will Rein Her In? Marina Abramovic versus Yvonne Rainer / artcritical