Contract vs. Freelance

Dancers under contract are most likely in a closed and competitive environment, where the Director’s opinion reigns supreme. In a subjective art form like dance it is only natural for favorites to emerge and for casting decisions to follow accordingly. There is a danger for contract dancers to become either complacent (from being unchallenged in their prime position) or despondent (from being denied opportunities to dance more demanding roles). However, being in a contract is the best way to ensure regular performances and guaranteed repertoire to work on. The very nature of Freelance work is that it is very varied, and therefore exciting. To be able to work with different choreographers is a great luxury, and job opportunities that can seem unorthodox can often make for the most interesting and rewarding experiences. Making the right contacts, remaining financially solvent in dry spells and juggling different jobs into a coherent schedule are challenges that Freelancers may face, but once mastered, the rewards both artistically and financially can abound. Versatility is key, and it may even be necessary to take on non-dancing work such as teaching, assisting a choreographer or else something totally different, but there is nothing to say that these experiences cannot be equally enriching to the dancer.

To Summarise:

Pros Cons
– Daily training – Not progressing through ranks as hoped
– Structured Schedule – Less varied
– Financial Stability – Possible to stagnate
-Regular Performances and Repertoire – Less control/artistic choice
-Pension, Physio, Pointe Shoes etc – Unable to take up outside opportunities

Pros Cons
– Varied and exciting – Risky, due to potential lack of work
– Higher hourly/daily rates of payment – Income is not stable
– Dancer is able to chose what and when – Non-dancing work may be necessary
– Chance to work with various choreographers – Difficult in coordinating a schedule
– Can take advantage of opportunities offered – Must train independently

Julia Davies
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