Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Article - The ethics of making dancers pay to perform - Sumangala V Varun

Today, art and culture are gaining popularity with the masses. Every nook and cranny has a dance or music school. Some dance students give up after few years (due to various reasons), but some eager and dedicated ones continue their lessons. After rigorous training comes the question of getting on the stage.
One of the common trends these days is to make the dancers pay to perform. In the guise of providing and creating opportunities for young and upcoming dancers, organizations and individuals are collecting payment. Some might say that the organization of a program is an expensive affair – there is the hall, the sound and lighting, a certificate or memento, seating etc. to be paid for. But how is it that some organizations with limited means are able to promote upcoming artists without collecting money from them?

Where does a budding dancer go? In order to build a profile and to work on some performance experience, most are ending up having to pay for these opportunities. No one expects to amass a fortune as a performing artist. Most don’t even expect any sort of payment as a dancer. However, to make them pay money to perform is unfair.



Read the article in the site

6 comments:

  1. Wonderful article and insight into this CRISIS that the Dance world is facing - Approaching funding in various forms is a healthy way definitely - AMEN! x

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  2. An interesting article . Though I have certain points--

    "One of the common trends these days is to make the dancers pay to perform. "

    "These days" !! I think it's been there since 90-s for sure.

    "Some might say that the organization of a program is an expensive affair – there is the hall, the sound and lighting, a certificate or memento, seating etc. to be paid for. But how is it that some organizations with limited means are able to promote upcoming artists without collecting money from them?"

    Very simple some sabhas are rich and some aren't , or some sabhas are greedy and some aren't. Just like some dancers are rich and others aren't !!

    "However, to make them pay money to perform is unfair."
    Nobody makes them pay . the dancers make a choice of sabhas which charge . A similar analogy from the film industry is casting couch. Nobody forces an actor to sleep with the director and producer. It is an aggreement , if the actor doesn't agree , s/he has the choice to walk out ( do they !!) , so it is a question of ethics of a dancer too , does s/he choose to walk out of that platform , unfortunately h/she doesn't . So high time dancers stop acting as victims , they chose to be one.

    "A dancer invests a good chunk of money in several years of classes, workshops, costumes, jewellery, accessories, boarding and lodging (if they travel to study under a guru) and all the sundry expenses that go with it. Not to mention the expense of a solo debut where one has to pay for the hall, the accompanists, a photo shoot, the printing of the brochures and invitations, mementos for the guests and dinner for all the invitees. After all this, when the dancer approaches a festival organizer, who sweetly says, “Solo Rs. 6,000 and group Rs. 10,000”, what should the dancer do? Bite the tongue and pay up the fees from a meagre pile of money scrimped and saved from a limited stock? Or refuse to give in and forgo the opportunity?
    "

    The question is what is an "OPPORTUNITY" . Dancers are still confused lot in answering this question itself !

    I have another point , let us compare this cost with say an IT student, a student studying medicine or a management student. Is it wrong to treat these costs for a performing artiste as an investment for his future ? ( This point is open to debate)



    I pity the dancing community which has failed to realise the economics. The supply of dancers is more than the demand. So these practices will prevail. Instead of cribbing , we should study , do a market research , of how much revenue can classical dance performance generate ! In a cosumerist society of today , expecting artforms with histories of patronage to survive is a BIG CHALLENGE.

    So instead of cribbing , we dancers should educate ourselves in the economics of performing arts of India , it is this educated mind sans sentimentality which will guide us in strategising our careers.

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  3. I totally agree with it. Asking to pay for a performance becomes a burden. I at one point considered taking up dance as profession but it didn't work out to my daily needs. Dance is a costly affair and we have put in a lot of hard work to learn it. But there should be platforms where dancers can showcase their talent with nominal pay and little respect. I hope we can make better world for budding artists.

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  4. I totally agree with it. Asking to pay for a performance becomes a burden. I at one point considered taking up dance as profession but it didn't work out to my daily needs. Dance is a costly affair and we have put in a lot of hard work to learn it. But there should be platforms where dancers can showcase their talent with nominal pay and little respect. I hope we can make better world for budding artists.

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  5. Fantabulous artical ! Really loved reading it.

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  6. This is in response to Veejay's Sai's article/review actually....since that didn't have any feedback space at the bottom , I am posting it here.

    I am surprised to see Veejay Sai suddenly become a
    "bheegi billi" . His latest review is a proof of it. All that dare to bare attitude which existed in his previous reviews.....what happened to all of that....

    Veejay ..come on atleast we expected you to brave the storm ....alas even you can't.....

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