Freelance Dancers' initial response to the financial rescue package for the UK arts sector

Equity's Dance Committee have written an open letter to Dance National Portfolio Organisations to ask that they engage with freelance dancers on a number of issues and questions regarding the return to work post-Covid-19.

Nick Keegan, Equity's Dance Councillor said:"Equity's Dance Committee has been working tirelessly throughout this crisis, campaigning on every hurdle that has arisen for our freelance workforce. We need practical and collaborative solutions to get support and opportunities out to freelancers and we need to hold on to the vision of a fairer, more inclusive industry, with more sustainable employment for freelance artists. Equity and the Dance Committee look forward to working closely with Dance National Portfolio Organisations and the wider industry to achieve this, and we offer this open letter as a way to start these vital conversations."

Dear Dance National Portfolio Organisations (NPOs),

As we now traverse the DCMS roadmap for the UK arts to reopen, we think it is key that freelancers continue to be heard and supported by our national funding bodies and NPOs.

We applaud Arts Council England and their consultations with freelancers, and the Freelance Taskforce for Theatre and Performance for their efforts to organise and hear freelancers.

We would like to offer our initial thoughts for Freelance Dancers in the short and long term future:

How can NPO’s use their resources to set up programs to sustain dance industry workers while we can’t work and train?
-  Access to safe affordable training
-  Access to safe affordable dance spaces
-  Programs and exchanges led by NPOs
-  Focused support and opportunities for recent graduates

Can NPOs provide COVID-safe rehearsal space programs for projects now that outdoor performance re-opens?

How can NPOs work with Equity to deliver funded workplace Health and Safety training for freelancer dancers?

How can NPOs use their resources to start initiating more sustainable practices to employ and collaborate with freelance artists?
-  Longer term engagements/commissions
-  Facilitate projects for 1 year+
-  Freelance artists in residence

How will NPOs provide reassurance and transparency regarding their inclusivity and diversity policies and practices, to embed best practice for the future, and in the short-term new work environments?

Will NPO’s commit to put more freelance artists in paid positions on their boards to ensure that freelance voices continue to be heard in a meaningful way across the country?

What models of regular Covid-19 testing can be put in place by employers to protect workers in the studio?

This is not an exhaustive list but we would love to open up a dialogue with individual organisations.

We hope this funding announcement can initiate some positive and meaningful collaboration between freelance dance artists and NPOs, as we get back to work in these uncertain times.

Kind regards,

The Equity Dance Committee

Charlotte Bence
Independent Theatre & Low/No Pay
Please send replies to: cbence@equity.org.uk

This list was put together from a workers’inquiry for dance meeting set up by Equity