Dance companies, let’s make it clear

Dance companies, let’s make it clear

by Cristina Burlone

Recently I have been invited to attend some classical and modern dance essays, many of them performing the “dance companies” of the schools themselves.

It looked like a good thing, work for so many former students and professionals … but it was not what I found.

The “dance companies” were made up of the oldest girls in the school dancing choreographies of the  teacher, paying her!

That’s it.
Where do I start…

What are the dance companies and what can be defined as such?

1. A dancing company is a profit-making company, or a non-profit association, or an individual undertaking or other type of body, whether bureaucratically or fiscally, whose purpose is the entertainment and / or artistic production of shows.

Amateur Sports Associations (which in Italy seem to be the only way to open dance schools) by nature have to organize competitions or even more sporting events, have no compatibility with art.

In the other hand, professional dancers do not have, or should not have (for deontology), points in common with sporting events.

2. Dance companies have to hire dancers with regular contracts to be such, if not, they are called dance schools or unpaid work!

3. A dancer to be a professional, must have completed a training course of at least 7-8 years and must be paid to practice his art, preferably with a proper tax and injury classification.

Many parents choose a school rather than another because in one there is a “company” and the other none.

I invite you to make sure that this “chance” is a real job opportunity and not a self-promotion operation.

4. Remuneration means that you are also paid for the hours of rehalsing and not just a small obolo for the evening of the show, many dancers are paid less than 50 € for 2-3 evenings with three months free work behind.

5. Being able to study for free is not a proper exchange for performances and it’s not worth calling yourself a professional or a dance company.

The blackmail of the “companies”

When the job is missing everything goes well, dancers can’t stop and this is the tragic truth.

A guy who leaves school and does not work for one or two months, goes down in shape and becomes harder to find work for him.

It triggers a spiral that does not lead to a career and this forces everyone to accept compromises and exploitation.

There are many series schools that help their students search for work through auditions before they finish training.

At age 17-18, you have to face dozens of specimens and find real work.

There are also serious companies that open dance schools to form their own future talents and vice versa schools that organize real work for their students.

I do not even want to chase out the small reality of good and tough choreographers who are trying to make their way into a very difficult environment, of course.

Boys and parents are well documented and careful not to fall into false promises, because in Italy the situation is this.

Cristina Burlone

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