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Cementing Relationships

Attention: Entering Hard Hat and Steel Toe Boot Zone. Desperate for a job, you are willing to overlook safety concerns…

By Melanie Kuxdorf , in Blogs Struggle and Strife: A Dancer's Life , on January 25, 2008

Attention: Entering Hard Hat and Steel Toe Boot Zone.

Desperate for a job, you are willing to overlook safety concerns to get one. Don’t bring it up since so many others are just waiting to replace you. It’s like dancers are still stuck in the Great Depression.

Conditions are forgiven since the choreographer has so little money or so much vision. Hey, you’re lucky if you’re getting paid.

But this isn’t what real life is supposed to look like, not according to the rules under CADA BC (Canadian Alliance of Dance Artists, British Columbia). This contract is only from 2001 – so young is the fight for professional standards.

Here are the top three conditions of the Health and Safety part of the contract:Cement

  1. The rehearsal and performance floor is not a pock-marked cement floor, but sprung, smooth wood. Not a cement floor. Not a cement floor covered by battleship linoleum. Not wood right on cement. Not “it’s-only-for-performance-nights” cement. Not a cement floor that is painted glossy red to make it look like it’s not cement.
  2. This non-cement floor should have a surface temperature between 10 and 35 degrees Celsius.
  3. Air temperature should be between 18 and 35 degrees Celsius. Not long johns, sweaters and so many socks and legwarmers you look like a mummified hipster.

These are the rules. And we’ve got to fight for them, if we want to be able to use our body for the next project, and the next, and when we go for a walk when we’re eighty.Hipster cozy in leg warmers

FYI, regarding my last post: to be considered an apprentice by CADA standards you must have graduated LESS than two years from a professional training program. That means the “eternal” apprentice is actually against the rules! Most significantly, however, this means that apprentices SHOULD BE SIGNING THIS CONTRACT TOO, whaddya know!

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